In many ways, your electrical system is out of sight and out of mind. As long as you perform routine inspections of it, that works just fine. If you have never had your electrical panel inspected, or it’s been a long time, we at Light’em Up Electric strongly encourage you to do so.
Our ethic of safety has always been present when quoting any job. If problems and issues are found we believe in educating the home owner of the issue. Even if that means being unable to do the requested work due to it further causing a potential hazard. We would rather each customer be fully understanding of the concerns that exist in their home, than patch together a project to make money.
An electrical panel can become defective for several reasons. Some are errors of the original installer, some are manufacturer defects, sometimes it is nature and other times it is the fault of previous or current homeowners. Regardless of why, the better question is how. How to fix areas of concern is a much better question to ponder than why did you put it off.
All this being said, there is plenty of material in the digital world to have a basic understanding of the integrity of your electrical panel. We at Light’em Up Electric do not advise taking your cover off or messing with your panel in any way. However, simply by looking at your manufacturer can tell you plenty.
Below are two companies that produced panels for decades, but have both lost their UL Certification. Meaning they have been deemed potentially dangerous.
Federal Pacific Electric, or FedPac as it is most commonly referred to as, produced panels from the 50’s to the 80’s. We commonly see these panels in homes monthly here at Light’em Up Electric. The issue with these panels were they were defective from the manufacturer. Knowingly! In a class action suit against FPE, it was determined they knowingly sent out faulty and untested equipment. These breakers are most commonly known to not trip when they are supposed to. Meaning the electricity keeps flowing even in the off position. These panels are easily identifiable with the FPE logo and red amperage markers.
Zinsco panels actually were known to work great for years after being installed. The panel manufacturer no longer exist in today’s market. The issue that became a constant with Zinsco is that the breakers will over heat. This heat then causes the plastic housing to melt to the bus bar that is the contact point for each circuit in your home. Once the plastic melts the breaker can no longer trip or turn off. Zinsco panels are easy to identify by their Blue and white diamond logo and the very distinct colorful breaker scheme.
Other than visually looking at your panel, you can also use your hearing and touch. If you hear buzzing, popping, humming or any other noise it should be checked out. If you put the back of your hand to your breakers with the cover on and feel any hot spots that are noticeably different than other areas, have it checked out. These simple signs can save your money and much more with a free inspection.
In no way are we at Light’em Up Electric trying to use a scare tactic. We hope to educate everyone with simple tips. Regardless of who you hire to perform work in your home, we hope this was helpful! Call us today if we can provide any electrical service. We look forward to meeting you and exceeding your expectations in service and quality.