Why a Zinsko or FPE Electric Service Panel is Dangerous?
Zinsco or FPE (Federal Pacific Electric) were very popular electrical panels installed in most homes in North America. Both of these manufacturers are out of business but there are many service panels still being used in residential homes and apartment complexes. These panels were primarily installed from the 1950’s through the 1980’s.
These panels have long term flaws where they either do not trip when overloaded and/or the circuit breakers inside the enclosure melt to the main busbar which prevents them from tripping.
The result is that in the event of an overload or short circuit, the power will remain on and create a fire hazard in the circuit. Additional surges or short circuits will heat the breaker and the busbar further creating a fire at the panel.
Keep in mind…
…A visual check of the panel WILL NOT reveal that there is melting on the busbar because this section is behind the breakers.
…We all use electricity much more that we did in the 1950’s or even the 1980’s. We have very sensitive electronic devices from cell phones to computers to televisions that rely on reliable power. In fact, almost all of our appliances including washer/dryers, HVAC, dishwashers, etc. have sensitive computer boards. All of these devices and appliances are at risk with a Zinsko or FPE service panel.