Is My Panel a Fire Hazard?
- March 17, 2016
- Posted by: Jeff Meldrim
- Category: Electrical Safety
Most of us take our electrical system for granted. We are able to effortlessly switch power on and off throughout our home or office, without much thought for the mechanics behind the scenes. Unfortunately for some of us, the wonder of modern electricity could be a little outdated and require a critical update to prevent a fire hazard.
Your electrical panel houses the circuit breakers which are the most important part of the electrical system for your home or office. This is where all the power is being received and distributed, as well as protecting from power surges or overloading a circuit. There are currently three brands of electrical panels that should be replaced, Federal Pacific Electric (FPE), Challenger, and Zinsco. These panels have breakers that have been found to overheat under normal circumstances and create a risk of fire. Since these panels were first installed, our “normal” demand for electricity has increased greatly and the failure rate has also increased. As insurance companies are aware of this problem, they are not writing new policies or renewing for structures with these panels. They will require panel replacement before securing coverage. Replacing your panel before it fails will save you financially, as well as the major inconvenience of having it fail when you are least prepared. More importantly, this will ensure the safety of your family or employees.
You can check the brand of your panel yourself by looking inside the panel. Unfortunately, you will not be able to see if any overheating has started to occur as this happens from the back of the breakers. This is why replacement is critical, you don’t know how long the breakers may have been overheating and you can’t see how close the panel is to failing.
Older panels from other manufacturers are not free from potentials risks and should be inspected if they were installed a couple decades ago or longer. The components of the breakers that help them do their job effectively, breaking the electrical circuit when overloaded, can degrade over time and cause them to malfunction. This can lead to overheating and a possible fire hazard. Scheduling a panel inspection with a licensed electrical contractor will safeguard your family or employees from any potential hazard.
Contact us today for a panel inspection or replacement.