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The Power of Your Electrical Panel

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Residential Electrical Panel

Don’t Limit Your Electrical System with an Outdated Electrical Panel 

Usually, the only time we check on our electrical system is if something has gone wrong with it. However, it’s best that you don’t wait for sparks to fly to discover that something has gone awry! 

Your electrical panel has a large part in powering all of your home appliances. If it breaks down, your electrical system may pose safety risks or shut down altogether. Make sure your electrical panel is up to date so you can have peace of mind knowing your system stays reliable and secure for years to come! 

Why You Need a Modern Electrical Panel

Safety Concerns

While they are not guaranteed to cause you problems, older panels can pose a number of safety hazards. Older style fuse boxes are not equipped to handle the power requirements of modern technology and are more likely to blow and put your family at risk. Additionally, wear and tear leaves older units more susceptible to failures that you can sidestep by investing in a new panel. 

If your older home has an old-style fuse box rather than a breaker panel, be sure to upgrade your panel to ensure your breaker shuts down in the event of an emergency, such as electrical overload.

A Reasonable Workload

You and your family will most likely be adding new electronic appliances as time goes on. While it feels great to install new gadgets, your panel can only handle a limited electrical output. Be sure to contact a professional to test your home’s output and electrical panel before installing a powerful new device; this will ensure your system will not become overloaded. 

If your panel is outdated, it may be a good idea to schedule an upgrade so that you can enjoy your electronics and appliances without interruption. 

A few signs that your electrical panel needs to be replaced include: 

  • The breakers were not installed correctly.
  • Loose terminations can damage your bus bars and the breaker. 
  • It’s an older brand like Zinsco or Federal Pacific

If Your Home Has a Zinsco or Federal Pacific Panel, You Could Be In Danger

Here in the Coachella Valley, there are plenty of older homes with aging electrical systems. This doesn’t necessarily mean that your home is unsafe, but we want to be sure that you know there could be risks associated with your older home’s electrical system.

For example, almost all home built between 1950 and 1990 have Zinsco or Federal Pacific electrical panels installed, and these panels have a known history of failure that can put your family at risk of dangerous and deadly electrical fires.

If your home has one of these outdated electrical panels, you need to have a qualified electrician like Hydes upgrade your panel as soon as possible.

From the 50s through the 80s, Federal Pacific was the most prolific manufacturer of electrical panels in the nation. Millions of homes were installed with their panels. At first, there were no problems, but as time passed, electricians began noticing more and more troubling failures.

The circuit breakers would fail to trip when overloaded, causing wiring and outlets to burn and leading to choking smoke and expensive fire damages. So many families experienced preventable house fires due to the failure of their Federal Pacific electrical panels that the company was forced to fold after losing a class-action lawsuit.

They had been found guilty of violating the Consumer Fraud Act because they “knowingly and purposefully distributed circuit breakers which were not tested to meet UL standards.”

Does your home have one of these outdated panels?

Look at your circuit panel. Federal Pacific panels are long and thin, with two parallel lines of breaker switches, Near the bottom of the panel you’ll be able to see the Federal Pacific name and location info. If you have one of these dangerous electrical panels, contact Hydes to have it replaced before it causes a fire in your home.

While Federal Pacific was the most prolific electrical panel maker in the US, here in California you’re much more likely to see a Zinsco panel in an older home.

Zinsco panels are older than Federal Pacific and were particularly popular in homes built in the 50s through the 70s—which is why we see so many of them in our iconic Mid Century Modern homes.

Nowadays Zinsco panels are effectively obsolete due to their history of failure, however there are plenty of them still in use today. These panels aren’t dangerous due to negligent manufacture, but their sheer age makes them unreliable and prone to failure. These panels are not made for the electrical demands of modern homes, and your family’s regular electrical usage can cause the breakers on these outdated electrical panels to overheat and melt, exposing you to painful electrical shocks and costly fires.

Identifying a Zinsco panel is easy, as they have large, bright Zinsco stickers emblazoned across their tops. They are long and thin, featuring a single row of circuit breakers.

Hydes wants your family to be safe at all times. Don’t risk electrical fires in your home due to a dangerously outdated electrical panel.

If you have any questions regarding your older or damaged electrical panel, call Hydes at (760) 360-2202 for a panel evaluation. And remember to schedule regular maintenance checks for your electrical panel so you’ll know right away if your technician deems your system unreliable.

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