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Why Should I Get My Electric Panels Inspected?

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 An outdated service panel can be a fire or an electrocution hazard.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.

Electrical PanelService Panel Inspection Items:

  • Panel Space clearance. The National Electrical Code states that most residential electrical panels require a three foot clearance in 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 buss which can cause arcing.
  • Open Knock outs 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
  • FPE
  • FPE-Stab-Lok
  • Stab-Lok

Take the time to have you 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.