The Dangers of Old Electrical Panel

Several decades ago, electricians frequently installed the old electrical panel types, specifically the Zinsco and Federal Pacific Electric panels in many homes. Back then, both brands were deemed reliable and presented no significant issues. However, with time and increasing household electrical demands, electricians began to observe that Zinsco and Federal Pacific struggled to handle the escalating load. Currently, both brands have acquired notoriety for being potential hazards in any home they inhabit.

Old Electrical Panel

Why Are Zinsco and Federal Pacific Electric Panels Dangerous?

The old electrical panel types such as the Zinsco can trigger both fire and electrical shock due to their myriad design defects. The following are common factors that lead to malfunctions in these panels:

Some parts within the panel feature aluminium wiring. As this wiring ages, it rusts, compromising the effectiveness of the electrical conductor. Moreover, the aluminium wiring can induce overheating within the panel. The bus bars in these panels are prone to damage and destruction. The interior tripping mechanisms of the breakers sometimes become stuck. This can falsely suggest that the breaker is off, when in actuality, it remains on. As a result, the breaker ceases to provide overload protection, potentially causing panel overheating and sparking a fire.

In conclusion, Zinsco panels fail to adhere to today’s advanced safety codes. Production of these panels ceased in the mid-1970s, and the panels manufactured during those years are ill-equipped to manage modern electrical requirements.

Old Electrical PanelFederal Pacific Electric panels, another variety of the old electrical panel, are also detrimental to your home’s safety. They might function normally for several years, only to fail suddenly due to overcurrent or a short circuit. This can occur for several reasons:

  • Wires may become overcrowded within the panel box.
  • Breakers may trip unpredictably after removing the dead-front cover.
  • In addition, the breakers can have loose connections.
  • Breakers often get jammed within their sockets, leading to overcrowding within the panel.

Just like Zinsco panels, Federal Pacific Electric panels fail to meet today’s advanced safety codes.

What to Do if You Have an Old Electrical Panel Like Zinsco or Federal Pacific Electric at Home?

Considering the above, it’s crucial to regularly inspect your old electrical panel. Bear in mind that only a trained and certified technician should replace your home’s panel. Do not attempt to do it yourself unless you possess specialized training. The Fuse team can assist you in assessing your panel’s condition and replacing it if necessary. Spare yourself the hassle and ensure that your old electrical panel poses no risk to you and your loved ones. You can reach us at (408) 721-2530 or via email at We’ll promptly schedule an inspection!


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