From the 1950s to 1990s, the United States saw an amazing number of homes built. During the building, developers put in the most economical electrical panels they could find. They wanted to keep expenses to a minimum, so young families could afford a house.
Unfortunately, many of these homes were equipped with sub-par electrical panels. Some of these panels were so poorly designed and constructed they caused fires and destroyed homes. Today, many of these older homes are unable to pass inspection or be insured because of these panels. The only way to know if you have one of these electrical panels in your home is to inspect your panel box and see who manufactured it. However, even this isn't enough because some panels were built by one company but sold under the name of a different company. The name change doesn't change the fact they are still electric panels with fire risks.
What To Do If You Don't Know What is in Your Electric Panel
First, look for the following brand names:
- Federal Pacific Electrical Panels
- Zinsco Panels
If you see any of the above names on your panel, you need to have a qualified professional electrician out to your home to do an inspection.
Federal Pacific Electric panels were installed in approximately 28 million homes around the United States. Many of them right here in South Florida. At the time they were installed, builders and inspectors thought they were safe panels, suitable for residential homes and families.
Later, investigators learned Federal Pacific had fraudulently manipulated the circuits, so they would pass Underwriters Laboratories testing. However, because of budgetary constraints a recall was never conducted.
Zinsco and GTE/Sylvania Panels
Zinsco panels were installed in homes in the 1970s. They used circuit breakers that can melt and fail to trip if there is a surge in power, or a short in the circuit. This may cause the insulation around the wire to melt and start a fire.
GTE/Sylvania boxes are actually re-branded Zinsco panels. These panels, along with panel boxes with only the name Sylvania, have similar problems.
Additional Electrical Panel Fire Risks
There are other problems you can find inside your electrical panel box.
- First are old fuses. The fuses themselves aren't dangerous. They were used for years in electrical boxes. However, they are no longer used in modern construction, so if you have fuses in your electrical box it means you're dealing with a very old box.
- Overloaded breakers are another problem. Over the years homeowners, handymen, and other people will overload breakers with too many electrical appliances. This can cause continual tripping of a breaker, and if it's really overloaded, it may cause a fire.
In the past 25 years, entertainment and appliance technology has improved. Many of these items are more affordable, so people buy and install them without thinking about the strain they are putting on their electric panel.
Additionally, you may have remodeled and built additions onto your home. Modifications can alter the demand for electricity and can lead to electrical issues, if you don't make sure your electrical box is brought up to date with the changes to your home.
Don't Have An Ounce of Doubt, Call Us Out
If you are unfamiliar with your electrical panel or don't feel comfortable inspecting it yourself, give us a call. We know what to look for to learn if your electrical panel is hazardous or if everything is okay.
We can also tell you who manufactured your panel and let you know if it's a safe panel.
Even if your panel is safe, there are other reasons you may wish to replace or upgrade it:
- If your panel is older than 25 years, then you might consider having a new panel installed
- If there is unpermitted work on your home
- Any work done by untrained or unskilled workers
- A home that has a new addition or been remodeled should have the box tested to make sure it can safely meet any new demand for electricity.
- If you have any flickering lights or unexpected interruptions to your electrical power in a room or outlet.
This is What We Do For You
Caribbean Electrical is a professional and full service residential and commercial electrical service in South Florida. We've inspected thousands of electrical panels and replaced many of them, bringing better service and relief to homeowners. During an electrical panel safety inspection, we will do a full and complete inspection of your electrical panel. Based on our observations, we will give you recommendations for your situation. Often, many homeowners find they don't need to do anything. Should you choose to replace your electrical panel, we do the following:
- We pull all permits
- We handle all inspections
- We work directly with the FPL
- Show up on time completely equipped and stocked with the necessary materials to replace your panel
- At the end of each day, we thoroughly clean up.
- We do all of our own work. There are no subcontractors.
- 100% insured
- Available 24/7 for work
At Caribbean Electrical, we are not looking to do a job. We want to earn your trust and respect and make you a lifelong customer. So, we do the best work possible and give you our honest opinions about what you should do.
Do I Really Need To Have This Done?
We understand the apprehension of having technicians at your house. After all, we have families and budgets as well. However, we make things easy, and we are always mindful of family finances. We offer free estimates and will explain to you why the work should be done, and how we will do it. Furthermore, we will do the work with as little disruption to your daily life as possible.
Questions? We Have Answers!
Your electrical system is the lifeblood of your home. It is what delivers power to every appliance and entertainment system you have in your home. So, it's best if you have inspections done by trained and qualified people. If you have any questions please contact us, we would be happy to speak with you.