Do you own a home that was constructed between 1950 and 1990? Then it may still have an old electrical panel that was discontinued decades ago for safety reasons. Read on to learn about three types of old electrical panels that are now considered obsolete and hazardous and should be replaced immediately.
Federal Pacific Electric Panel
From the 1950s to the 1980s, Federal Pacific Electric panels were popular installations in home throughout the United States. Millions of homeowners across the country had these panels, and unfortunately, they were later found to be a serious safety hazard.
In a 2005 class action lawsuit, Federal Pacific Electric was found guilty of knowingly and purposefully engaging in fraudulent practices by distributing circuit breaker panels that had not met UL testing standards. Researchers found that those panels failed to trip at a much higher rate than standard circuit breaker panels, which posed a fire hazard to all homes that contained them.
If your home still has a Federal Pacific Electric panel, it’s imperative that you have a licensed residential electrician replace it promptly. The modern consumer’s electrical needs far exceed those of consumers in the 1950s-1980s, which means your home is at a much higher risk for an electrical fire if you continue to use these outdated and poorly manufactured panels.
Like Federal Pacific Electric panels manufactured from the 1950s through the 1980s, Zinsco panels also fail to trip when they should. When these panels experience a short circuit or an overcurrent, they often fail to cut the power supply to the affected circuit. And while failure to trip is dangerous in and of itself, Zinsco panels feature aluminum wiring, which makes the situation significantly more hazardous.
When a Zinsco Challenger panel fails to trip, the overcurrent can cause the aluminum wiring to melt and fuse to the metal bus bar. When this occurs, the breaker will no longer be capable of tripping — even when there’s a serious electrical problem — which creates excessive heat and optimal conditions for an electrical panel fire.
If your home currently has a Zinsco panel and you’ve made it this long without a fire, consider yourself very lucky. But this is one situation in which you definitely don’t want to push your luck any further than you have. To protect your home and family, contact a residential electrician at your earliest convenience to get that old electrical panel replaced.
Wadsworth Bryant & Bulldog Panel
Throughout the 1950s, Wadsworth Bryant & Bulldog electrical panels were widely used throughout the United States. But like the other service panels in this list, Wadsworth panels were later found to pose a serious fire risk due to their aluminum electrical wiring and ungrounded wires.
Today, many older homes still contain these panels, which are now considered obsolete. They often fail to trip when circuits become overloaded, and when that occurs, the aluminum wiring can overheat, melt to the hot bus, and spark a fire. Many homeowners who have these panels have also reported they’re difficult to use because there’s no clear indicator of whether a potentially tripped breaker is in the on or off position.
If your home still features a Wadsworth panel — or really any type of panel circa the 1950s — you need to have a residential electrician replace it promptly. The safety of your home and family are at risk.
Need an Electrician to Replace an Old Electrical Panel in Minneapolis?
Is your old electrical panel giving you problems? Worried it’s a fire risk? Get in touch with Harrison Electric to schedule a panel upgrade today. We specialize in full-service residential electrical work, including service upgrades, new installs, and repairs, and we serve homeowners throughout Minneapolis, MN and the surrounding areas. Give us a call today at 763-544-3300 or request a quote online to get started!