Zinsco panels are obsolete today. However, at one time, they were extremely popular and installed in many regions throughout North America. As time has passed, electricians and home inspectors have discovered that certain Zinsco electrical panels often can fail to operate properly and may leave homes and homeowners at risk to both fire and electrical shock. These panels can work fine for years, but as homes have increased energy demands, these panels may overheat, and portions of it melt.
In this situation, if a breaker melts to the bus bar of the panel and can no longer adequately trip in case of an overcurrent or short circuit, an extreme amount of power from the outside electrical supply surges into a home’s panel and circuits. Once that happens, it cannot be stopped or shut off manually. Electricity will burn until it runs out of fuel or the wires melt. The panel could overheat and catch fire, causing serious harm to a home and its occupants.
About FDE Panels
Federal Pacific Electric (FDE) panels were produced from the mid-1950s well into the 1980s. Experts say that FPE panels produced during that time frame would not conform to today's updated safety codes and would no longer be allowed to be sold to the general public. Safety standards that were once acceptable years ago are no longer considered safe.
Some of the examples cited by experts as to why FPE panels would not pass today's updated safety codes are:
- Wires may be crowded inside the panel box.
- Bus bars may be spring-mounted.
- Breakers may be still active when in the down position.
- Split-bus breakers may no longer meet updated safety codes
Federal Pacific Electric Panels May Have Significant Design Flaws
Experts report that the identified design flaws in FPE panels are not shared with other panels of similar age. Specifically, examples of design flaws in Federal Pacific Electric panels include:
- Breakers may unexpectedly trip when the dead front cover is removed.
- Breakers may have loose connections to the bus bars.
- Breakers are often jammed within their sockets, which can cause overcrowding within the panel.
- Breakers can easily split when placed into sockets.
Federal Pacific Electric Panels May Have Manufacturing Defects
Using UL 289 test conditions, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that Federal Pacific Electric panels may be unfit for homes. The materials used to construct the breakers may be weak. As a result, the breakers may not trip, and the panel could be susceptible to catching on fire.
To learn more about expert opinions on Federal Pacific Electric panels, .
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