Electrical Panel Warning Signs and What to Look For

Service In A Flash®

Jan 20, 2016 | Electrical Panels

Q – What are the 3 warning signs that your Electrical panel might need to be replaced?

  • Your panel is rusty or has a hole or holes in the top of the panel.
  • Lights are constantly flickering and you are always having to push the reset button on your GFCI protected outlets.
  • Breakers feel warm or hot to the touch.

Q – If my home is 30 or more years of age does my electrical panel need to be replaced? 

  • Not necessarily, if the panel has been properly installed, you should consult a certified electrician to determine if your panel needs to be replaced.

Q – Does my panel have a main breaker disconnect?

  • If your panel doesn’t have a main breaker then you should contact an electrician to determine if your panel needs to be replaced. The main breaker acts as a disconnect switch to turn the power systems in your home off or on.

Q – Are there any particular brands of panels that I should be concerned about?

  • There are many different types of panels, but the most concerning one is federal pacific, which has an orange handle. (look at the following picture).
  • If your home was built between 1950 & 1990 and has a federal pacific electric (FPE) circuit breaker panel with stab-lok circuit breakers, you run a significant risk of breaker malfunction and fire.
  • Zinsco electrical is another piece of equipment that is to be considered faulty, due to a design flaw where the circuit breakers connection to the bus bar starts to become loose, causing subsequent overheating. Long term exposure to this heat can cause the breaker to melt the bus bar, making it impossible to remove. Even worse, it can cause the breaker’s contact to integrate together, thus preventing the breaker from tripping even after an overcurrent situation, causing a potential fire hazard. (see picture below)

In all 3 cases, most insurance companies will allow you to renew the electrical panels under your qualified homeowners insurance policy. If this hasn’t happened to you yet, don’t be surprised if one day you receive a letter from your insurance company that you need to update your electrical panel.

Q – Where should my electrical panel not be located in my home?

  • Bathrooms
  • Closets
  • Kitchen

If your electrical panel is located in any of these three locations, your panel should be moved to a safer location in your home. These three locations have a fire and shock hazard, so we can conclude that you cannot have an electrical breaker in any of those locations.

Q – Are all panels equal? 

  • Just as all cars are not equal, there are many panels that aren’t good.
  • Many of those panels aren’t good because they may contain aluminum wiring and can be found at any electrical supply house.

Here at Small Jobs Electric, we understand that when you install an electrical panel, it is the heart of electricity entering your home, and we will provide and install the best electrical panel for you. We do this because we care about your safety and the longevity of your home and electrical panel.

Please contact us today, for further information about how we can assist you.