The number one reason for having your
electric panel inspected is for
safety. An outdated service panel can be a fire or an electrocution hazard. Of
course, older homes are at more risk but even new houses can have electrical
issues. Make sure your panel is inspected and up to date. Below are a
few things that will need to be looked at on your panel inspection.
Service Panel Inspection Items:
- Panel Space clearance. The National Electrical Code states that most residential
electrical panels require a three-foot clearance in the front and enough space
around the panel to buffer it from being a potential fire hazard.
- Aluminum branch circuit wiring (1960-1970’s wiring that breaks done more rapidly and has the potential
for causing fires).
- Sharp tipped panel box screws. Panel box cover screws must have flat ends
so they do not pierce the wires inside the panel box.
- Circuit breakers that are improperly sized.
- Oxidation or corrosion of any wiring or parts.
- Rodent damage: Rodents like to chew through wire insulation in electrical
panels leaving your wires exposed.
- Evidence of electrical failures.
- Evidence of moisture inside the panel which can corrode the circuit breakers
and keep them from tripping and create an electrocution hazard.
- Evidence of improper bonding, bad wiring, or damaged equipment.
- Bad contact points of the overcurrent protection device to the bus which
can cause arcing.
- Open Knockouts that wires once passed through but are no longer being used.
Old Panels manufactured by Zinsco or Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) are
known for having issues and should be upgraded. Do you have a Zinsco panel? You
will know because
Zinsco panels have a blue and silver Zinsco label inside the panel. They are also identified
by the names below:
- Federal Electric
- Federal Pacific Electric
- Federal NOARC
- Federal Pioneer
Take the time to have your panel inspected by a licensed electrician. Know
the condition of your panels and wiring in your home. Don’t be caught
by surprise, an electrical fire can happen to anyone. If you have a home
built-in the 1970’s it’s very possible you need to upgrade your panel.