Cornelius Electrical Contractors can inspect and replace your electrical panels. Just give us a call at 321-529-1115.
If your home is older, you may be surprised to learn that your electrical panels are old. Also, the recent hurricane may have caused some damage. The electrical panel is the device that distributes the electricity in your home. They contain safety devices (fuses or circuit breakers) that turn on and cut off the current when a large current flows through them. This helps prevent fires caused by overheated wires. However, many Florida homes have old and outdated panels that may not perform as expected, making them vulnerable to fire. Here are the four types of unsafe panels:
Split Busbar Distribution Board Modern model circuit breakers contain individual metal busbars. Power goes to the board, through the main switch on the bus. The bus is then connected to each individual switch to power the entire house. You can then cut power to the bus (and the entire house) by simply turning off the main switch. The Independent bus table is different. They have two buses and there are no big breaks. They have up to 6 keys labeled as “master”. One of the main switches controls the power to the half (bottom) of the panel switch. Other master switches are connected directly to the first bus.
You can see how the top three switches connect directly to the input card (the big black wire at the top). The third switch then activates the lower switches (see the blue wires connecting them). WHY IT’S NOT SAFE: Separating the plates from the rail is not inherently dangerous. However, this type of panel has not been used for more than 0 years. This causes them to exceed their expected life, which means the switch may not move as designed. Also, the electrical code no longer allows multiple outages. HOW TO CHECK: Open the main door of the electrical box. Are your keys split into two groups? Isn’t there just one key? These are good signs that you have a split bus sign.
Zinsco or GTE-Sylvania panels were popular electrical panels installed in homes in the 1970s. Zinsco is now gone, but many homes still have these panels. Why they are not safe: Many Zinsco panels have circuit breakers that fuse into the main bus. This means that the circuit breaker can never trip even if the circuit is shorted or overloaded. So if you ever have a short circuit or other problems, the power line will melt the wires and start a fire in your home. How to know if it’s there: The Zinsco name on the panel is a sure sign that it should be replaced. Additionally, many GTE-Sylvania or Sylvania panels are simply replicated Zinsco panels or contain a problematic Zinsco design. They should also be replaced. However, not all Sylvania and GTE-Slyvania brand panels are dangerous. So if you have one, you need to have an electrician check it out to see if it’s problematic.
Fuse boxes (distribution boards) are old electrical panels that use fuses instead of circuit breakers to protect your wires from overload. If the circuit takes too much electricity, the fuse will blow and need to be replaced. Why they are not safe: Fuses are not inherently dangerous. They work just like circuit breakers (except they cannot be reset and must be replaced.) However, most fuse boxes in homes today are dangerous because they have been modified to meet modern energy needs. Homeowners (and sometimes contractors) develop problems with many fuse boxes that make them dangerous.
Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) panels are installed in millions of homes across the United States. But these panels are very unstable. Why it is not safe: The FPE panel switch did not act in time (in case of short circuit or overload). The problem has sparked thousands of wildfires across the United States, including in Central Florida. There are also several reports that the FPE circuit still supplies power to the circuit when in the closed position. This can cause an electric shock when working on a circuit that you think is closed. How to check if you have it: FPE sheets are most common in homes built between 1950 and 1980. Commonwealth Pacific Electric may have them written on the cover of the breaker box. Inside, look for the name Stab-Loc (the brand of the converter).
If you have any of these dangerous and outdated electrical panels, we recommend replacing them. At the very least an electrician should inspect the panel to see if there are any problems. Give us a call at 321-529-1115.