Should I Replace My Federal Pacific or Zinsco Panel?

If your home electrical panel is a Federal Pacific or Zinsco Panel, the answers is a resounding – YES, it is time to replace them!

Electrical Panels – also known as the circuit breaker, breaker box, breaker panel and service panel.

Federal Pacific Electrical Panels (FPE) were highly popular electrical panels sold and installed in millions of homes in the United States from the 1950’s through the 1980’s.  After a few years the problems with these panels began to come to light.  They began to overheat and in some cases, cause electrical fires. 

Another problematic type of electrical panel found in thousands of homes are Zinsco panels.  These panels were commonly used in the United States in homes during the 1970s.  

 

The Consumer Safety Product Commission tested FPE Panels and found they had a high rate of failure which made them a safety hazard.  These sometimes hidden issues in both FPE and Zinsco panels are compounded by today’s electrical demands of high end appliances and electrical needs of our homes.  

More and more accidents occurring in homes with FPE prompted further investigations which revealed that FPE falsified their UL testing making their require UL listing invalid.  Nearly every FPE panel installed contained defective breakers which would lead to unavoidable house fires.

How do you determine if you have a FPE Panel?  It is easy for a homeowner and business owner to check if they may have a panelboard issue. The first consideration is whether your home or business was built during the period when FPE was being sold. 

If your home is not that old, you do not have to worry about this issue.  If your home or business does fall within the age range, go to the panel, open the panel door and look for the words “Stab-Lok” or “Federal Pacific Electrical”.  If you do not find these markings, check the breakers for red handles.  If you do not find any of these, you should have no problems.

How do you determine if you have a Zinsco Panel?  Check the outside of the panel for a Zinsco label.  In many cases, Sylvania or GTE Sylvania panels are the same as Zinsco panels but were simply rebranded.  If your electrical panel has the Sylvania or GTE Sylvania logo, it may still be safe for use.  However, they should be inspected by an electrical professional.  

If your panel is older and would like to determine that your panel is not one of these panelboards and in proper working order, call us at Electri-Tech, Inc. to schedule a ‘panelboard electrical service home/business evaluation’. One of our technicians will do a thorough investigation and testing of your equipment. We will provide you with a written report together with recommendations.

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