If Your Home Is 20 Years Old, Your Electrical Panel Needs an Upgrade

Most homeowners don’t think about their electrical panels…ever. Why would you? If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it, right? At Jeremy Electrical, Heating & Cooling, we think about electrical panels every day. That’s because we see the effects of time, use, and environment on residential breaker boxes.

What Makes Electrical Panels Go Bad?

“What do you see?” you might ask. We’re glad you did.

  • outdated breaker box tips suggestionsWe see the incorrect style of breakers installed or breakers that are installed incorrectly.
  • We see loose terminations (the connections that hold the wires to the breakers). This creates arcing and can damage the breaker and the bus bars in the panel.
  • We see damaged breaker boxes that have had moisture inside them. Moisture creates oxidation and corrosion on the bus bars inside.
  • We see breaker boxes with fuses – yikes, that means they’re really old
  • We see old brands of electrical panels that are not safe. If you have one of these, replace it immediately.

Related Read: My Electrical Panel Is Out of Date. Should I Be Concerned?

4 Electrical Panel Brands That Are Dangerous to Have in Your Home

Old electrical panels pose several hazards. Old panels can cause fires if overloaded. If fuses blow or circuit breakers trip frequently, it may be an indication that your home’s circuits are overloaded. If you notice burn marks, hear buzzing or crackling, or smell burning plastic around or inside the electrical panel, have a qualified electrician check the panel immediately. Here is a list of electrical panels that are dangerous to have in your home. If you have any of these brands, call an electrician immediately to replace them:

FEDERAL PACIFIC
These breakers were commonly installed in homes around the United States from the 1950’s to the 1990’s. Several tests over the years have shown that one in four of these breakers will be defective and not properly trip, causing a fire hazard.

ZINSCO
While there are very few of these breakers in operation today, they were once very popular. As society’s electrical demands increased though, these breakers were not able to keep up. It was found that they would allow electricity to burn until it runs out or the wires melted, leaving homes at risk of fire and homeowners at risk for shock.

ITE/BULLDOG PUSHMATIC
These types of breakers are older systems that don’t have any replacement parts that are manufactured anymore, which is part of the problem. They’ve also been found to be grease-fed breakers, which means that if they are not used and serviced regularly, they become difficult to operate.

SYLVANIA
Sylvania panels were used in US in 60s and 70s. They were Zinsco panels, bought out by Sylvania, and the only major change in the panel was the Sylvania logo. They have the same problems as Zinsco panels. If you have one of these breakers, they are also uninsurable.

If you think your electrical panel is out of date, call Jeremy Electrical, Heating & Cooling today at (913) 375-0070. We can come to your home and give you a free estimate on replacement.