Is My Electrical Panel Unsafe?

safety life raft on a wallThe electrical panel is a vital component of any home’s electrical system. Ensuring that yours works properly and is safe to use is a non-negotiable for maintaining the safe use of electricity in the home.

That is why in today’s article, we’d be looking at some electrical panels labeled as “unsafe”. If you find any of them in your home, then you should call a licensed electrician near you before things get out of hand.

  1. Federal Pacific Electric Panel (FPE) 

Federal Pacific Electric Panels were installed in several homes in the United States from the mid- ‘50s throughout the ‘80s. These once-popular panels are now deemed “unsafe” because the breakers don’t trip off when they ought to, which increases the risk of fire outbreaks. Many electricians also report that these panels have a terrible reputation for giving nasty electric shocks when they attempt electric panel repairs.

If your electrical panel is an FPE panel, you’d find the Stab-Lok logo between the breakers. The breakers themselves are also marked with red tips, which makes it easy to identify Federal Pacific Electric panels.

  1. Zinsco Electrical Panel

Some folks know these panels as GTE-Sylviana, but they are the same as Zinsco electrical panels. They were quite popular in many homes in the ‘70s. However, these panels have breakers that melt when a high current pass through them. Add the fact that getting original replacement parts for these panels is difficult, and what you have on your hands is a fire disaster waiting to happen.

Although Zinsco electrical panels are still around in the market, their manufacturers have long been out of the scene. There have been many complaints from electricians about receiving massive electric shocks from operating on Zinsco electrical panels, which makes them potentially dangerous for use in homes and office buildings.

The easiest way to know if your electrical panel is from Zinsco is if the breakers are brightly colored – pink, green, red, blue, and yellow. The breakers are also usually very thin compared to modern-day breakers.

  1. Fuse Boxes

Fuse boxes by themselves are not inherently dangerous. The danger comes when they are meddled with either by homeowners or the electrical contractors hired to make electrical repairs.

Fuse boxes are commonly used in many old homes and make use of a series of fuses instead of circuit breakers to regulate high voltages. Unlike circuit breakers that can be easily reset when tripped, fuse boxes have to be replaced because they burn out when tripped.

Fuse boxes have a limited capacity to handle the high electricity loads of modern appliances and equipment. You might need to install several large fuse boxes before you can meet the usually considerable electricity demand of an average home, which is a very serious fire risk.

It is advisable to have a professional electrician run checks on your home’s electrical system regularly.

If you’re unsure of where to get an electrician near you, you can contact us here for your inquiries.