Federal Pacific panels were once very popular electrical panels that were commonly installed in homes throughout the Pacific Northwest from the 1950s through the 1980s. In recent years they have been found to overheat easily and even cause electrical fires. If your home still relies on a Federal Pacific panel, it’s highly recommended that you replace it with an updated and safer electrical panel.
In the same vein, another problematic type of electrical panel found in countless homes are Zinsco panels. Used in the 1970’s throughout areas of North America, they were a fairly popular electrical panel choice, but have since been found to cause electrical issues in your home. Due to the increased electrical load on modern homes and devices, Zinsco panels are likely to suffer overload and subsequent melting.
How Electrical Panels Work
One of the things that allows electrical panels to act as safeguards for electrical surges is the ability to trip a breaker and stop a dangerous current from reaching the wiring of the home. A Federal Pacific panel can operate normally for many years before dangerous electrical issues arise. Electrical fires caused by FPE panels are most commonly ignited by a power surge or short circuit that the electrical panel failed to trip.
In the case of the Zinsco panels, melted switches cannot be tripped due to a surge, resulting in the dangerous electrical current going through the wiring of the home, which can lead to melted wires in a best case scenario and a house fire in a worst case scenario.
Is My Electrical Panel Safe?
To find out if your home has a Zinsco or Federal Pacific panel, first check the outside of the panel itself. There should be a label indicating which company made it. In many cases, Sylvania or GTE-Sylvania panels are the same make as Zinsco panels, but were simply rebranded. If your panel has the Zinsco or FPE label, it is important to get it safely replaced by a licensed and experienced electrician, as soon as possible to ensure the safety of your home. If your panel has the Sylvania or GTE-Sylvania logo, it may still be safe for use, but should be inspected by an electrical professional to make sure the electrical panel is up to code.
Signs You Need To Replace Electrical Panel
Signs that your home electrical panel is out of date or in danger of overload are melted switches on the panel itself, as well as shocking from outlets when plugs are added or removed. If your home has flickering lights or burnt-out bulbs, this may also be a sign that the surge protector is not working correctly, and should be replaced. Having up-to-date electrical panels can save you money in the long run, and ensure the safety of your home. Plus, the updated wiring can help you reduce electrical costs, as new electrical panels are constructed to reduce the amount of energy waste and fluctuation within your home.
Electric Company in Vancouver, WA
If you are looking to have your Federal Pacific panel or Zinsco electrical panel replaced, or have any other questions about the electrical security of your home, contact Prairie Electric to talk with one of our qualified electricians, and to set up a home inspection. We are committed to making sure your electrical panels are safe, so you don’t short out your wallet with costly damages.