If your home was built after 1950 you may have an home insurance risk without even knowing. Federal Pacific Electric & Zinsco electrical panels are known for extremely high failure rates. Independent testing has attributed a higher incidence of electrical fires in homes using these types of circuit breaker panels. The Federal Government under increasing pressure from home insurance companies and due to the threat of aging panels provided exception for insurance companies operating in the United States that insured homes using these panels. If you fall into this category your insurance company can deny coverage for electrical fires deemed to be caused by the offending panels.
How Do I Know If I Need a New Panel?
It is always our advice as electrical professionals that if you are buying a residential or commercial property you have it fully inspected by a certified and licensed electrician. Your typical home inspector is not required to be a contractor or hold any sort of construction related licensing. After completing a typical 120 hour course they are licensed to inspect your home in the State of Florida. Considering the years of experience needed to be a Master Electrician alone, for electrical issues you should not rely solely on a certified home inspector. Hire a professional tradesman and get the security you need for your family and friends.
How Can an Electrical Panel Be So Important?
Electrical panels act a central connection point for your home between the outside power lines and the internal wiring of the home. Due to a manufacturing defect Federal Pacific Electric & Zinsco electrical panels can fail to stop a power surge at the breaker. When this happens the temperature can rapidly increase well beyond the manufacturer’s and UL’s certified safe operating temperature. At this point you have additional failures as the non-defective circuits begin to melt and create additional heat. At the end of this situation you have a metal box full of molten metal embedded in the internal structure of your home. A fire is imminent at this point.
Why Do I Need a Newer Panel?
Newer better made electrical panels are closely regulated and adhere to stricter standards. With multiple failure points and better materials they provide a much better operating temperature. Some newer electrical boxes can even fail completely but not catch on fire or arc. In these instances the worse problem you face as a homeowner is replacing the internal components of the circuit breaker. A costly and life threatening home fire becomes a $400 average repair job.