Category Archives: Electrical Panel Safety

Do You Have A Zinsco Panel?

Zinsco Panel Boxes May Produce Dangerous Situations ….
At one time, Zinsco panels were extremely popular and installed in many homes throughout North America but many are obsolete today! Electricians and home inspectors discovered that certain Zinsco panels often can fail to operate properly as much as 25% of the time and can be a fire or shock risk to homeowners.
Zinsco Panel Boxes and Report Flaws
* Zinsco panel may not pass updated safety codes. Leading experts on panel safety says that older Zinsco panels would not receive today’s UL listing. These panel can’t be sold to general public because they don’t meet current safety codes. Safety standards that were once acceptable years ago are no longer considered safe.
* Zinsco panels may have been created with significant design flaws. Zinsco panels reportedly have defects not shared by others. Often times breakers have loose connection making them useless.
* Zinsco Electric panels may have manufacturing defects. Experts noted design flaws in older panels that may not share with other panels. For example, some components are aluminum; the connection between the breakers and bus bar may not be solid; and breakers can appear to be off, yet the panel still allows power to flow.

Zinsco panels may contain hidden damage that cannot be easily seen. Only professional electricians should explore the panel due to the risks of electric shock. Please give ARC Electric Company and we would be glad to assist – 704-821-7005!


Outdated and Potentially Hazardous Panels

Outdated and Potentially Hazardous Panels Should Be Inspected Immediately!
The panel box is one of the most important parts of a home’s electrical system. It constantly distributes and receives electricity. The breakers in the panel boxes are designed to protect homes from over currents or short circuits and any possible damage they may cause. With regular maintenance by a licensed electrician, experts say that today’s panels can function properly and hopefully protect homes for 30 years or more.
If you suspent that you may have a Federal pacific Electric Panel, an older Zinsco panel, an outdated panel in your home, or in any event, you have not had your panel inspected recently, we recommend that your panel be inspected immediately by a qualified electrician.

If you believe you may have one of these panels, please call ARC Electric Company for a free estimate to upgrade your electrical panel (704) 821-7005


Expert Opinion on Zinsco Panel

We started this series because we came across a very informative electrical panel safety alert from a consumer safety company and in part of the series they sought out an experts opinion as well electrician and homeowners accounts.
Expert Opinion on Zinsco Panel
“These circuit breakers do not offer the level of over current and fire protection provided by most other electrical panels and circuit breakers. This equipment presents greater risk of fire or other electrical hazard. Where Zinsco electrical panels are discovered in buildings, they should be replaced to reduce some very real fire and shock hazards.”
“Where Zinsco electrical panels and Zinsco circuit breakers are in use, arcing, contact-point burn, and even circuit breaker case blow-out have been observed in the field. A principal Zinsco circuit breaker point of failure appears to be at the point of contact where the circuit breaker contacts clip onto the electrical panel bus, combined with the use of aluminum electrical panel bus.”

Dan Friednman
Educator, Author, and Building Failures Researcher

Examples of Damage Created by Zinsco Panels:
Below are the 2 excerpts from emails sent to Dan Friedman from electricians regarding their experience with Zinsco panels. Below are the excerpts:
Email dated 09/02/2003 – I was at a site to do an estimate and noticed a Zinsco panel. I asked the customer if it was alright to check it, and he agreed. He said the only trouble he knew about was the water heater didn’t always give them real hot water. I pulled the panel cover off and everything looked okay. I checked the breakers with a volt meter, and it had proper voltage at all circuits. Then, I started (carefully) removing breakers and found the top (water heater circuit) breaker had welded itself to the buss and came apart when I tried to remove it. (This could be very dangerous for a homeowner or home inspector!) I removed several other breakers and found them to be badly damaged, and the bussing was burnt in several locations. After seeing the situation it was not hard to convince the owner that it was time to replace the Zinsco panel.
04/15/2003 – I recently stumbled upon a Zinsco and asked the customer if it was okay to inspect. With the okay, I proceeded to pull the cover off. The breakers and panel looked to be in great shape. There was no obvious heat damage or signs of conductor damage. Upon removing the breakers, I found serious damage to the breakers and bussing. One had become welded to the buss. Another breaker fell apart when I tried to remove it. The panel did not have a main breaker, so there was no way to shut off power to the top section! This could have been extremely danagerous if a homeowner had tried to remove the breaker to replace it or check it.

If you believe you may have one of these panels, please call ARC Electric Company for a free estimate to upgrade your electrical panel (704) 821-7005


Expert Opinion on Federal Pacific Panels

We started this series because we came across a very informative electrical panel safety alert from a consumer safety company and in part of the series they sought out an experts opinion as well electrician and homeowners accounts.
Expert Opinion on Federal Pacific Electric Circuit Breaker Panels
The presence of a Federal Pacific panel in a home should be classified as a ‘Safety Defect’. The Federal Pacific breakers are primary safety devices of questionable operating reliability. The breaker’s function is to stop certain electrical sequences that could lead to fire in the building. If an electrical fire hazard develops somewhere in the building, the breaker is supposed to trip and minimize the possibility of fire ignition. If the breaker is defective, fire is more likely to result. There is no question that the Federal Pacific Stab-Lok panels should be replaced. There is no practical and safe alternative”
Dr. Jess Aronstein BME, MSME, PhD
Consulting Engineer Specializing in Mechanical and Materials Engineering
Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok Electric Panels and Circuit Breakers: Information for Inspectors and Homeowners

Examples of Damage Created by Federal Pacific Elecric (FPE) Panels:
Below are the 2 excerpts from emails sent to Dr. Jesse Aronstein from a homeowner and an electrician detailing their experience with a FPE panel.
Email dated 08/07/1999 – “Last month a co-worker was responding to an apartment maintenance request … He found the breaker on .. and no lights … Thinking that there was a loose connection at the first fixture he returned to the shop for a ladder. What we didn’t know was that the problem was a short and that the Federal Pacific breaker had failed to trip. We never had a chance to return with the ladder, the fire department interrupted our repair…”
Email dated 07/12/2002 – “We had a fire in my home Tuesday due to over-current and FPE Stab-Lock Panel 100 amp service. The panel failed to trip and fire occures within a wall. We have been in this home one month. The home was inspected and we were given no warning about Federal Pacific Electric panels…”


Federal Pacific Panels – Are they safe?

Let’s try an experiment … go to Google and type in “Federal Pacific panel” or “Federal Pacific”; what pops up? Within the first pages of Google the titles of pages are Is my Federal Pacific Safe? Are Federal Pacific Circuit Breaker Panels Safe? Should all Federal Pacific panels be replaced? …. see where I am going with this?

Federal Pacific Panel

Federal Pacific Electric Company (FPE) was a common manufacturer of residential electrical panels in the US from the 50’s through the 80’s. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of FPE panels were installed in homes; over time electricians and home inspectors saw as many as 60% of all Federal Pacific Electric panels would fail to provide proper protection to homeowners. Many experts believe that certain FPE panels will work fine for years, but after an over current or short circuit the panel could over heat and become hazardous. Federal Pacific Electric Panel boxes have 3 reported major faults:
* Federal Pacific Electric panels may not pass updated safety codes. If a FPE panel has been in a residence more than 15 years and hasn’t been serviced by a licensed electrician there’s a possibility the breakers have depreciated. The breakers could possibly not trip properly and protect an electrical system from over heating!
* Federal Pacific Electric panels may have a serious design flaw. FPE panels reportedly have design flaws not shared by other panels of similar age. For example, often certain breakers have loose connections making them useless; should an over current happen, the breakers could melt instead of tripping.
* Federal Pacific Electric Panels may have manufacturing defects. Experts report that FPE panels may be unfit for your home because of manufacturing defects. The materials used during construction of the breakers may be weak. As a result, the breaker may not trip and your panel could be susceptible to catching on fire.
If you believe you may have a Federal Pacific panel, please call ARC Electric Company for a free estimate to upgrade your electrical service (704) 821-7005


Electrical Panel Safety – Outdated Panels

Many outdated electrical service panels can’t handle current electrical needs and this may leave your home open to potential hazards. Now, more than ever, we rely on electricity to power our lives; electronics, appliances, clock radios, chargers and the list could go on. While newer homes and the electrical panels are built to hold current loads, older homes with older outdated electrical panels were built before many of these modern, electronic conveniences.

Unless it’s been upgraded, electrical systems in older homes cannot safely handle the demands of today’s society.

Outdated panel boxes can present major issues; among a variety of older panels, there are two distinct types that should be upgraded. Both offer a unique problems to homes; one type is a fuse box and one is a split-bus panel.
Fuse Boxes were the precursor to the electrical panel box. When an over current or short circuit happened, a fuse would pop and blow out; having to be replaced. This would get costly and on occasions people would put the wrong amp fuse back in – this would become a fire hazard.
Split-bus panls create a unique challenge – these panels do not have a main breaker; they have a smakker breaker feeding the bottom half of the panel. The smaller breakers have beenknown to melt or burn due to excessive strain.

If you believe you may have one of these panels, please call ARC Electric Company for a free estimate to upgrade your electrical panel (704) 821-7005


Electrical Panel Safety – The Electrical Panel

Inside Electric Service Panel. Fuse/Getty Images

Your homes electrical system operates like a humans body; circuits and wires carry electricity throughout the home like veins and arteries carry blood to organs and limbs. Just like our blood keeps our bodies alive; electricity keeps our every day lives running – tv’s and lights on, our fridges humming and phones charged up. Your homes electrical panel is the heart of your house and without a properly working electrical panel, nothing electrical will work.
Your service panel is the connection between wires coming from the street and your home’s electric system. The service panel is the central distribution point that connects the service wire or service drop, which is the main wire coming from the outside into the house, to the exit wires that split off and service different parts of the house.
The electric service panel used to be called the “fuse box”, “fuse panel”, “circuit breaker panel”, or any number of other terms. Most homes today have what we call the electrical service panel, or simply, the electrical panel. It’s not literally the same thing, but it does provide the same function.
Some houses really do have a fuse box. It still applies to older homes. Older homes still have what is best called a fuse box because they have actual fuses which screw or pull in/out. Homes built between 1950 and 1965 may have these 60-ampere fuse boxes, often with 4 fuses. However, homes today have modern electrical service panels.
I found a great informational photo to help breakdown fuses and breakers.

Electrical Panel Safety Alert Series

Recently, we came across a very informative electrical panel safety alert from a consumer safety company – we will be covering various aspects of this alert, including Federal Pacific panels and Zinsco panels over numerous blog posts. I also wanted to touch on this series so you can be informed, covering some very basic electrical knowledge that not everyone knows.
A panel box is a critical part of your home’s electrical system; it distributes and receives electricity all day long. The breakers inside of a panel box are designed to protect your home from short circuits, over-currents and any damage they may cause. Electrical experts believe with regular maintenance your electric panel can properly function and protect your home for 30 years or more.
If you suspect you may have a Federal Pacific Electric panel, older Zinsco Electrical panel, an outdated electrical panel in your home or haven’t had your panel inspected recently – it is recommended you call a qualified licensed electrician. Call us – we would be glad to help or advise on necessary steps needed.
If you are having electrical issues and just want a whole home electrical inspection, we can help as well. Our CurrentSAFE Electrical Hazard Detection test is the most comprehensive diagnosis of your homes electrical system! CLICK TO LEARN MORE!