Are your home’s circuit panel breakers safe?

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Breaker panels are designed to protect homes from electrical problems by preventing short circuits, power surges, and circuit overload. When one of these occurs, the breaker “trips” to shut down power to the circuit. If a breaker is faulty, the risk of fire in your home becomes serious. There are a couple of breaker boxes you should be aware of as they may put your home at risk of fire.

The first circuit panel breaker is manufactured by Federal Pacific (out of business). Testing has shown that roughly 25% of these breakers are defective and can malfunction by not tripping to the “off” position when overloaded. It seems that manufacturer labeled these panels as meeting safety standards when, in fact, they did not meet federal safety requirements. These breakers are estimated to cause more than 2000 fires each year.

old-faulty-circuit-panel-pic

Very Old Breaker Panel Pic

The second breaker panel was manufactured by Zinsco. Like the FPE panel, there are several reports of these failing to trip on power surges and overload. Although there is not overwhelming data that these panel boards are faulty we think it would be wise to do your own research to determine if a replacement is needed. Your local electrician will also be able to recommend repairs or replacement.

There are a couple of ways to determine if you have one of these breaker panels. If your home is over 25 years old you will want to inspect your circuit breaker panels to determine the manufacturer. Look for the manufacturers name or logo inside the circuit panel box. Federal Pacific will often have a red strip running across the front of the switches. Zinsco panels can be identified by labels that read Zinsco, Zinsco-Sylvania, and even some Sylvania labeled panels are manufactured by Zinsco.

If you are not sure about the manufacturer call your local trusted electrician for assistance. Please do not try to open, remove or attempt to replace your circuit breakers panels. The inside panels carry extreme high voltage and serious injury can occur by tampering with them. If you feel you that you may have a faulty circuit breaker panel call McCauley electric today at (678) 362-2881 to schedule a consultation.

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