As a rule of thumb, electric panels need replacing every 25-40 years, so if your home is that age, there’s a likelihood that you will need to upgrade. However, there are other key signs to look out for that will tell you when your existing system is becoming outdated.
During a test of Federal Pacific Electric's (FPE) breakers it was found that 51% failed to trip (or shut off) when the circuit was overloaded creating a serious risk of fire. It is estimated that FPE breakers are responsible for as many as 2,800 fires, 13 deaths and $40 million in property damage every year.
Due to the serious safety hazard, most insurance companies require the panels be replaced.
How to identify FPE breakers:
- The breaker box door usually says “Federal Pacific Electric” or “FPE.”
- Once you open the door, you will usually — but not always — see the words “Stab-Lok” in the center or on the side of the breaker panel.
- A website called InspectAPedia supplies photos and further steps for identifying FPE Stab-Lok panels and breakers.
- Still unsure? Reach out and we can help - We provide free no obligation estimates!
Zinsco panels were extremely popular up into the mid 1970’s. Production was halted when a design flaw was discovered that was a serious fire and shock risk. There are a few different causes: Certain components of the panel contain aluminum (which erodes over time), the connection between the breakers and bus bar is not solid, the Bus bar corrodes easily, and the breakers also appear to be off, yet internally the panel may be conducting power. Even if your panel has worked fine for years, this risk increases over time as added electrical demands are placed on the panel. How to identify Zinsco Panels:- Zinsco panels are unique in having a vertical line of color-coded circuit breaker handles down the middle of the electrical box .- Zinsco panels typically have the logo at the top of the panel - A website called InspectAPedia supplies photos and further steps for identifying Zinsco panels and breakers. - Still unsure? Reach out and we can help - We provide free no obligation estimates!