Electric panels are one of the most important electrical devices in your home. Inside that metal box is all the electrical circuitry that supplies the power to run everything in your home. We all would agree that the last thing you want to experience is a problem inside this box. That panel with all its qualities and advantages can also be an extreme danger to you, your home and your family.
A serious issue with electric panels presents itself when they fail to trip as designed when a real trip issue occurs. If a breaker does not trip when required, that excess electricity has to go somewhere. What usually happens is the panel will overheat. That damages the panel, so it is more likely to repeat that problem and in extreme cases, it could cause a fire.
Electric Panels can have issues that hide for decades while deteriorating.
Some of those issues are:
#1 Older, outdated panels might not be able to serve your electrical needs
#2 Current electrical needs are greater than the times when it was installed
#3 Outdated panels are rarely up to code
#4 Most of these panels contain aluminum components
#5 The connection of the breaker to the bus bar is often not solid
#6 The bus bar corrodes quite easily
#7 The bus bar softens and suffers metal fatigue
#8 Breakers may appear to be off when they are actually STILL ON
How will you know if you have an Electric Panel that could put your home and your family at risk?
One way is to open the door of your panel and look for the manufacturer’s name. Here are the most common names to look for: Zinsco, Federal Pacific, GTE-Sylvania and Challenger
Because of design flaws, all these panels CAN have electrical problems and most of these problematic panels have been recalled.
IF you have one of the panels mentioned above, you might just get a warning before a major event. You might notice your lights flicker. Now to be fair, there are other causes for lights flickering but still, lights that are flickering are NOT a normal thing.
IF your less fortunate, you might not get any warning. The electric panel will overheat, and the result could be a fire.
Additionally, if breakers do not trip as expected, there is a possibility of electric shock and even electrocution. IF you ever do feel an electric shock when using an electrical device, please consider having the problem checked out by a licensed and qualified electrician as soon as possible. Shocks are not normal and are a sign of a sleeping problem.
And if that were not enough, you need to look for Federal Pacific Stab-Lok® panels and breakers.
These panels and breakers will often fail to trip when required. Failing to trip can lead to an electrical fire. Another problem to be concerned with is that these breakers often fail to be truly OFF internally after being manually flipped to the OFF position. Electric shock will most likely be the result.
Your family needs to live in a safe home. Please check the brand of your panel. If you have a panel mentioned in this article or if upon your quick inspection for the brand name you have a sinking feeling as you look behind the door and know that your panel is not safe, call for a free inspection. Saying it’s been fine since you moved in is not a good way to protect your family.
Consider also that even if your home does not have one of these panels, a friend or a family member might. Pass this article on to them so they can look and know if their home is at risk.