ENE Expert

Panel Upgrade

- Outdated and Unsafe Electrical Panels, and other electrical panel issues

Electrical panels contain fuses or circuit breakers that trip and shut off the power when too much electricity flows through them. This helps prevent fires caused by overheating wires, and if you have an outdated or defected panel, it can be extremely dangerous. You can check yourself with any signs of malfunctioning circuit breakers, or amps that is not sufficient enough to support the circuit in your home. Here is the list of outdated panels and signs of panel issues for you to see if you need an upgrade.  


Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) panels

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FPE panels are most common in homes built between 1950 and 1980. FPE electric panels’ circuit breakers fail to trip when there’s a short circuit or circuit overload, and the circuits in the off position still send power to the circuit which is extremely dangerous as it can cause fire or electrocution. 

Zinsco panels

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Installed throughout 1970, Zinsco panels have caused major problems and advised to be replaced. If there is a short or overloaded circuit, the circuit breakers inside many Zinsco panels melt to the main ‘bus bar’ which makes the breaker can’t trip and starts fires in your home. 

Fuse box

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Fuse boxes are old electrical panels that use fuses instead of circuit breakers to protect your wires from becoming overloaded. When a circuit draws too much electricity, the fuse burns out and must be replaced instead of reset. It is advised to be upgraded as it has fewer circuits and usually is not sufficient to support modern homes’  electricity needs.

Split-bus electrical panels

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Split-bus panels have breakers divided into 2 groups and no single main disconnect. These more than 40 years old panels have passed their expected lifespan. Their circuit breakers may not trip as they are designed to and these days’ electrical code no longer allows for multiple disconnects.

Other electrical panel Issues

  • Bad wiring is the number one cause of residential fires in the United States. The signs of bad wiring could mean that the circuit breaker in your electrical panel is not functioning properly. If you experience any of these issues such as flickering lights, a shock when you touch appliances, a burning smell, sparkling or heated power outlets, it may be time for an upgrade for your safety concerns.

  • If your appliances do not operate at its full power, or you are installing new appliances such as hot tub, air conditioner, refrigerator, EV charger or other machines that consume lots of energy but your amps don’t meet your electrical needs, your electrical panel needs an upgrade.

If you have one of these unsafe and outdated electrical panels or experience any of the panel issues listed above, we highly recommend replacing them for your safety. Electrical projects are not the best to Do-It-Yourself. Getting a panel upgrade done safely and properly with professionals would be a better choice for you in the long run. Professional electricians know the up-to-date local code, they can inspect your breakers and wires for any defections and can advise you with smart, safe or proper energy consumption. Do not hesitate to call professional electricians as it concerns the safety of your home and family.