Quick! Check out all your electrical panels now and find out what brand they belong to. Chances are, you have no idea and this lack of knowledge can put you and your family’s life in danger.
Here’s a tip to find out if you are surrounded by outdated technology: Houses that were built before 1990 have outdated electrical panels.
Today, the fluctuations in electricity and power surges have changed. Your house is protected from fires and overheating appliances if the electrical panels installed are of the present century. Outdated panels can pose a threat and have safety issues.
To help you identify what types of electrical panels are installed in your house, we have listed down their main features and the reason why they are so hazardous:
Federal Pacific Electric Panels (FPE)
In the years from 1950 to 1980, FPE was among the most popular electrical panels. Manufacturers where spread throughout the US and the panels were installed in almost every house. The reason why they are considered unsafe is because the circuit breaker of the panel usually fails to trip during circuit overload, which can cause a fire to erupt.
Moreover, a few circuits still have power running through them, even when they are closed, which increases the chances of being electrocuted. You can easily identify FPE panels, as the name is usually written on the breaker box. If not, then you will find “Stab-Loc” written inside the box.
Split-Bus Electrical Panels
A circuit breaker with a single bus allows you to shut off the power from the main source, which shuts down the entire house. The problem with a split-bus panel is that it does not have a single main disconnect. It has six breakers, which are divided into two groups.
One breaker controls half the power and the other breaker supplies power to the remaining breakers. While the split-bus panel is not unsafe, in the past 40 years they have become unreliable. Just like FPE panels, the circuit breaker usually fails to trip in time of need. You can easily identify this panel by the arrangement of the circuit breakers.
Pushmatic Electrical Panel
The Pushmatic panel is different from the usual circuit breakers. Instead of having switches that flip right and left, they are operated by push. While they are not much of a fire hazard, they are quite obsolete, which means you cannot find repair parts for them. Moreover, the breakers are grease-fed, so without regular service, it’s difficult to operate them.
A fuse box has fuses that need to be replaced regularly when they burn out. They can be made unsafe by replacing the main fuse with a larger fuse. This draws in more electricity, which can cause a fire. A fuse box is pretty easy to identify as it doesn’t have any switches.
Also known as GTE-Sylvania panels, these panels were quite popular in the 1970s. In this circuit breaker, the panels are connected to the main bus, which means that none of the breakers trip. When there’s a power surge, the wires melt and cause a fire. You can easily identify Zinsco panels as every breaker box has the name on it.
So, there you go… five electrical panels that are outdated and need to be replaced immediately. So, call an electrician now and get the panels checked to make sure that they are not a fire hazard.
Think your panel is out of date? Contact us today to get a free panel inspection.