Few us pay much attention to the electrical panel in our homes. Challenger brand electrical panels were installed in homes during the 1980s and 1990s, but have since been found to have a defect that causes … These clearances are designed to protect the person working on the panel. There are no blank spots for additional circuits to be added in the future, and wires are crossed and tangled rather than neatly fastened inside the panel. They were Zinsco panels, bought out by Sylvania, and the only major change in the panel was the Sylvania logo. Electrical panels in residential homes are typically either 100 or 200 amps, which means that they can handle up to that amount of amperage before tripping your main circuit breaker and shutting off. Or, the panel itself may overheat or arc, causing a fire risk. Sylvania panels were used in the US in the 60s and 70s. Major manufacturers like Square D are easy to recognize, but obscure and defunct brands of a bygone era can be problematic. And these outdated panels don’t just make you uncool like a pair of outdated bell-bottoms might. If you have one of these, you definitely need an update. The most common bad electrical panels do not have all these problems but they may have one or two. People’s hearts can develop problems due to age, diet, and genetic reasons. Even though this homeowner worked for an electric utility company, he allowed the electrician to bypass the bad spot in the bus without replacing it. This means the breaker can’t ever trip, even when there’s a short or overloaded circuit. The panel was well known in the building community as a cheaper alternative to some of the more recognizable panel companies such as General Electric/I-T … If you own a home that was built in the 1970’s, there’s good chance that you have a Sylvania electric panel and it may be uninsurable. The important thing in choosing a circuit breaker panel to use is it can give you a safe and secure main panel for your electrical connections. The most common reason that an electrical panel will go bad and need to be replaced is age. Zinsco or Zinsco-Sylvania is the name given to a brand of electrical panel that was commonly installed up to the mid-1970’s. Inside, look for the name Stab-Loc (the brand name of the circuit breakers). Here are a few: How to tell if you have one: Chances are if you have a fuse box, you already know it. The bus then connects to each individual circuit breaker, providing power to your entire home. When a breaker trips, we reset it and hope that this sorts the problem out. If your home has any of the brands below, you will want to call the trusted. wide, three feet deep and six feet eight inches high in the national electric code. So if there ever is a short or other problems, the surge of power melts wires and starts fires in your home. If your home has any of the brands below, you will want to call the trusted electricians at Jeremy Electrical to assess your electrical panel and possibly replace it with a new one. Unlike most electrical devices like switches and outlets, circuit breakers are brand specific.In fact, the manufacturers will tell you to only replace or add breakers specifically designed for that brand panel. However, these types of panels haven’t been used for over 40 years. Related Read: 3 Signs You Need a New Electrical Panel. These are good indications that you have a split-bus panel. It was a very popular product and installed throughout North America. Unsafe electrical panel brands. But these panels are extremely unsafe. A service panel requires a working clearance that’s 30-in. The most common bad electrical panels are actually identified by their brand: Federal Pacific, Sylvania and Zinsco, however, it is surprising how often distribution or sub panels are incorrectly wired. This electrical panel has all the breakers blown because the it was way, way, way too full! How Do I Know if My Electrical Panel Is Out of Date? Why they’re unsafe: By themselves, split-bus panels aren’t unsafe. Even more, only use the type of breaker recommended for the panel. However, not all Sylvania and GTE-Slyvania branded panels are dangerous. It’s only when a breaker won’t reset, that we start to take things seriously. An electrical engineer with a doctorate in materials science, Aronstein cowrote a peer-reviewed paper to illustrate the fire damage that the panels cause. They have up to 6 breakers labeled “main”. Dangers of a Moldy Indoor Coil. ©2020 CTC Electrical Service, LLC d/b/a Jeremy Services. In general, people don’t realize the dire potential hazards relating to bad circuit breakers. If you don’t have one of the panels above, but know yours is getting old, it might be time to replace it anyway. And they were installed in millions of homes. Typical replacement of an electrical panel is about $1,500. A home inspector will typically have to report the panel type during a four-point inspection (when a home is 30 years of age, in most cases). Instead of a bunch of switches (circuit breakers) you should see fuses. Are your breakers divided into 2 groups? But if you’re not sure, find your main electrical panel and open it up. You should know the size and brand of your panel to ensure it’s up to code, and there are no known recalls or issues. :grin: In a wood framed house with NM all it would take is one bad splice to lose the grounding down stream. Zinsco is now defunct, but many homes still have these panels. There are amp limits on each of the individual circuits of your main electrical panel as well. Then the 3rd breaker supplies power to the lower breakers (see the blue wires connecting them). How to tell if you have one: The name Zinsco anywhere on the panel is a sure sign it should be replaced. At the very least, you should have an electrician inspect the panel to see if there are any signs of problems. These electrical panels were found to be defective and could cause fires. There are two main reasons you may want to replace your electrical panel or add a sub-panel: if you need to add circuit breakers but have reached the capacity of your current breaker panel or if you want to upgrade from fuses to circuit breakers. Don’t be a victim to something that is preventable. Attention Older Homeowners: Check for These 4 Dangerous Electrical Panel Brands, Breaker Box 101: A Guide to Electrical Panel Parts, Is Your Air Conditioner Making You Sick? Don’t be a victim to something that is preventable. Here are 4 types of unsafe panels you should consider replacing if you have them... For a long time (1950s-1980s) Federal Pacific Electric was one of the most popular manufacturers of electrical panels in the United States. You can then shut off power to the bus (and therefore your entire home) simply by turning off the main breaker. These should also be replaced. For a long time (1950s-1980s) Federal Pacific Electric was one of the most popular manufacturers of electrical panels in the United States. Is there no single disconnect breaker? It was found that they would allow electricity to burn until the wires melted, leaving homes at risk of fire and homeowners at risk for shock. Zinsco or GTE-Sylvania panels were popular electrical panels installed in homes throughout the 1970s. Following your view I guess we should run two EGCs all over the house because the NEC only requires one, that is a the minimum and one might fail. Today, two companies still make Stab-Lok-type products: Connecticut Electric produces breakers under the name UBI, and a Canadian company, Schneider Electric, makes breakers and panels … However, most fuse boxes in homes today are unsafe because they’ve been modified to try to serve today’s energy demands. An electrical panel is the central point that connects the wires from outside to the wires inside your home and how your electric service provider provides electricity to your home. If you own an older home (built before 1990), you might have one of these outdated main electric panels/boxes hiding in your home. If you have one of these brands of electrical panels on your home, it’s widely recommended you have it replaced: NicestAlan via Foter.com. Not sure what an overcrowded panel looks like? Brands We know that when it comes to trust and preference, certain brands may have already won you over, which is why we’ve compiled an A to Z list of top leading electrical brands in the market. Zinsco was a very popular electrical panel brand. As time has passed, electricians and home inspectors have discovered that certain Zinsco panels often can fail to operate properly and may leave homes and homeowners at risk to both fire and electrical shock. The other main breakers connect directly to the first bus. Yet many Sarasota-area homes have old, outdated panels that might not work as intended, leaving them vulnerable to a house fire. Check your panel today. Production was halted when design flaws were discovered. Federal Pacific These breakers were commonly installed in homes around the … See CoolToday's response to recent issues regarding COVID-19. Here’s a good rule of thumb: If you can’t park a refrigerator in front of the panel, you don’t have enough working space. Homeowners (and sometimes contractors) create problems in many fuse boxes that make them unsafe. In this bad electrical wiring systems example, the main feeders are jumped with tape. Split-bus electrical panels are different. Siemens is our first choice for the best electric circuit breaker panel they have great fame for circuit breaker on the… The Pushmatic panel board was a widely used circuit breaker panel installed in homes built between 1950 and 1980. So, if you have moved into a house that is older than that and the electrical panel is original, you may experience issues with it soon. Plus, electrical code no longer allows for multiple disconnects. If you’re not sure how old yours is, our. Federal Pacific Electric will likely be written on the cover of your breaker box. At one time Zinsco Electrical panels were commonly installed in homes in certain parts of the country. They have the same problems as Zinsco panels. Most electrical devices, like switches, outlets, and light fixtures can be swapped out with another brand without any problems.Breakers, however, are brand-specific and require the exact replacement type to function properly in the electrical panel. Without a properly functioning panel, nothing electrical in a home will work. As society’s electrical demands increased, these breakers were not able to keep up. That puts them past their expected lifespan, meaning the circuit breakers may not trip as they are designed to. These breakers were commonly installed in homes around the United States from the 1950s to the 1990s. They have the same problems as Zinsco panels. If you have one of these, you definitely need an update. Check your panel today. How to tell if you have one: FPE panels are most common in homes built between 1950 and 1980. If you have one of these breakers, they are also uninsurable. Compared to other manufacturers of the day, it was a great brand in terms of affordability and quality. Federal Pacific panels, also known as FPE panels were a popular residential electrical panel choice in the mid to late 20th century. Zinsco was a very popular electrical panel brand. (8) 8 product ratings - Square D Main Breaker Box Value Pack Kit 200 Amp 30-Space 60-Circuit 120/240V The last thing you need is for your insurance company to require you to replace the panel at a bad time. As society’s electrical demands increased, these breakers were not able to keep up. All of the electricity in your home flows through your panel, and it keeps your home safe by detecting electrical problems such as circuit overloads and tripping the circuit to keep your home from hazards like fires. The heat caused all to blow. If you have one of these unsafe and outdated electrical panels, we highly recommend replacing them. Electrical panel defects: as we cite for circuit breakers, some electrical panel brands experience failures far more often than is generally the case among their peers, often because of innate design or manufacturing problems. Knowing basic information about your panel is very important. Panels also can develop problems. They work just like circuit breakers (except they can’t be reset and must be replaced.) Pushmatic Bulldog Circuit Breaker & Electrical Panel Possible Safety & Operating Concerns: this article describes potential fire and safety hazards where certain Bulldog & ITE-Pushmatic circuit breakers and electrical panels are used. You should know the size and brand of your panel to ensure it’s up to code, and there are no known recalls or issues. If you see your electrical panel overloaded like this, it is a hazard. This helps prevent fires caused by overheating wires. Pushmatic Home Electrical Panel. So if you have one, an electrician will need to inspect it to see if it has the problematic design. Several tests over the years have shown that one in four of these breakers will be defective and not properly trip, causing a fire hazard. Above is a photo of a split bus panel with front cover removed. You can see how the top 3 breakers are connected directly to the incoming power (large black wires at the top). Electricity comes into the panel, passes through a main breaker and to the bus. Fuse boxes are old electrical panels that use fuses instead of circuit breakers to protect your wires from becoming overloaded. Knowing basic information about your panel is very important. Why they’re unsafe: FPE electric panels’ circuit breakers fail to trip when they should (when there’s a short circuit or circuit overload). How Breakers Differ . Other Bad Electrical Wiring Systems. And they were installed in millions of homes. Besides being archaic, they’ve are also grease-fed breakers, which means that if they are not used and serviced regularly, they become difficult to operate. These popular electrical panels were installed in many homes under the now defunct brand name Zinsco. All these circuit breakers live in one or multiple electrical panels. This can cause electrocution when working on a circuit you believe to be off. Also, many GTE-Sylvania or Sylvania panels are simply re-branded Zinsco panels or contain the problem Zinsco design. An electrical panel should last roughly 20 to 30 years. Around the early 1980’s Federal Pacific breaker panels were a more … If you live in an older home, there’s a distinct possibility that your electrical panel is old and outdated. A typical modern circuit breaker has a single metal bus. The Home Depot has all your breaker box needs covered, with a wide selection of options from top brands, electrical know-how, helpful buying guide videos and more. How to tell if you have one: Open the front cover of your electrical box. to determine if yours needs to be replaced or not. This problem has lead to thousands of fires across the United States, including this one in Central Florida. Sylvania panels were used in the US in the 60s and 70s. This is a distinctive panel because it is the only electrical panel brand that does not have switches that flip left and right. These types of breakers are so old they don’t manufacture any replacement parts anymore. They can also be extremely unsafe. Why they’re unsafe: Fuses aren’t inherently unsafe. You may have already decided that you want a MK Logic Socket , a Wylex Consumer Unit or even a Dimplex Monterey Panel Heater ! Federal Pacific Breaker Panels. Why they’re unsafe: The circuit breakers inside many Zinsco panels melt to the main ‘bus bar’. Check your electrical panel to make sure that it isn’t one of the following brands. electrical panels were found to be defective and could cause fires. They have 2 buses and no single main disconnect. It’s often also called the main breaker box, the fuse box, a distribution panel, a load center and even a breaker panel. They were Zinsco panels, bought out by Sylvania, and the only major change in the panel was the Sylvania logo. to assess your electrical panel and possibly replace it with a new one. Try and follow along. While there are very few of these breakers in operation today, because of their popularity, we still occasionally run across them in older homes. You see, electrical panels contain safety devices (either fuses or circuit breakers) that trip and shut off the power when too much electricity flows through them. This an obvious inconvenience. These breakers were commonly installed in homes around the United States from the 1950s to the 1990s. Check for these signs: The panel looks messy. Unfortunately, the bad wiring of the circuit breakers wound up costing many homeowners far … Unsafe electrical panel breakers can fail to trip or may overheat. If your home has any of the brands below, you will want to call the trusted electricians at Jeremy Electrical to assess your electrical panel, and possibly replace it with a new one. We provide Pushmatic circuit breaker identification photographs including of electrical panels and of individual circuit breakers. All of the electricity in your home flows through your panel, and it keeps your home safe by detecting electrical problems such as circuit overloads and tripping the circuit to keep your home from hazards like fires. The overall construction of this product can assure you that this can keep you electrical runs safe, secure and in great condition for years to come. Electrical panels should be replaced every 20 – 30 years. The fire was in the kitchen of this home, but as a forensic engineer that does insurance claims, I always inspect and document the electrical service entrance and all panel … If you have one of these breakers, they are also. Challenger electrical panels were known for their relatively low price point. From time to time, there may be a need to change a breaker or add one to your electrical service panel. These types of breakers are so old they don’t manufacture any replacement parts anymore. There are also many reports that FPE circuits in the off position still send power to the circuit. Electrical panels that provide only 100 amps of power are at the highest risk of overcrowding. However, previously purchased panels were still being installed for a time after that. All panels wear over time, and we suggest replacing yours every 20 years or so. One of these main breakers controls power to half (the bottom) of the breakers in the panel. When a circuit draws too much electricity, the fuse burns out and must be replaced. While there are very few of these breakers in operation today, because of their popularity, we still occasionally run across them in older homes. https://www.jeremykc.com/blog/4-dangerous-electrical-panel-brands Energy Today provides award-winning electrical service to Sarasota, Florida and the surrounding areas like Bradenton, Tampa and Port Charlotte. Believe it or not, we still find old, dangerous electrical panels in use in older homes. These panels were never replaced, in many cases, and are considered unsafe and an insurance risk. The breakers blown because the it was way, way, way too full needs... Zinsco or Zinsco-Sylvania is the name given to a brand of electrical panel is of... Time Zinsco electrical panels in use in older homes inside many Zinsco panels to..., most fuse boxes in homes built between 1950 and 1980 energy today provides award-winning electrical panel! 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