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Electrical panels are the heart of every home’s electrical system.
They distribute power throughout the house and protect it from electrical overloads.
However, not all electrical panels are created equal, and some older models can pose serious safety risks.
In this article, we’ll discuss three common types of electrical panels that may need an upgrade for the safety and well-being of your household.
1. Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) Panels
Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) panels were commonly installed in residential properties from the 1950s to the 1980s.
Unfortunately, these panels have a notorious reputation for being fire hazards due to their design flaws.
The main issue with FPE panels is that their circuit breakers often fail to trip during overloads and short circuits, leaving your home vulnerable to electrical fires.
Research by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that FPE breakers failed to trip in simulated overload conditions at alarming rates.
Consequently, thousands of homes in the United States may still have FPE panels, posing a significant safety concern.
If your home has an FPE panel, it is highly recommended to replace it with a new Wadsworth electrical panel immediately to mitigate potential fire risks.
2. Zinsco Panels
Zinsco panels, manufactured from the 1940s to the 1980s, were once popular choices for residential electrical systems.
However, they are now considered outdated and problematic due to issues with their main circuit breakers.
One of the most prevalent problems with Zinsco panels is their tendency to overheat and melt, leading to circuit failures and potential electrical fires.
The design of Zinsco panels also makes it challenging to find compatible replacement breakers, further complicating maintenance and repair efforts.
Given these safety and compatibility concerns, if your home has a Zinsco panel, it is advisable to consult with a licensed electrician to discuss the benefits of an upgrade to a modern and safer electrical panel.
3. Wadsworth Bryant & Bulldog Panel
In the 1950s, Wadsworth Bryant & Bulldog electrical panels gained widespread usage across the United States.
However, like the other panels mentioned in this list, these panels were later found to pose a significant fire hazard due to their aluminum electrical wiring and ungrounded wires.
Even so, many older homes still retain these outdated panels, which are now considered obsolete.
They often fail to trip when circuits become overloaded, causing the aluminum wiring to overheat, melt onto the hot bus, and potentially cause a fire.
Homeowners who have these panels have also reported difficulties in their operation, as there is no clear indicator to discern whether a breaker is in the on or off position.
Therefore, if you have a Wadsworth panel installed in your home —or any type of panel dating back to the 1950s —it’s imperative to engage a residential electrician to promptly replace it.
If your old electrical panel is giving you problems, that is a sign that you need to get an upgrade as soon as possible.
Replacing the panel with a new one will ensure your property and family are protected from potential fire hazards.