Last Updated on October 22, 2023 by Kevin Chen
Image source Consumer Product Safety Commision
An electrical panel is an integral part of any building structure, whether it is a home or commercial building. In as much as it attracts very little attention, it literally keeps every electrical appliance in the building running. All the circuits in the building are directly linked to the electrical panel. They are safety boards that protect the circuits from incidences of overcurrent, overheating, fire, and any other electric-related incidents.
The importance and sensitivity associated with electrical panels mean that manufacturers must put their best efforts to develop the best electrical panels. Their equipment should not only meet the minimum market standards but also guarantee users the best safety levels. This is where the issue of electrical panel recalls comes in.
Over the years, we have witnessed numerous recalls by electrical panel manufacturers. Some recalls are due to minor issues while others are due to major problems. But still, there is nothing that can be underestimated when it comes to electricity. No matter how an issue looks minor, it can evolve into a serious problem that will eventually lead to catastrophic results.
Read more as we talk about the recalled electrical panels.
Overview of recalled electrical panels
Recalled electrical panels are the ones that have been recalled by the manufacturers. Safety is one of the major reasons why such electrical panels are recalled. Probably the panel could be having an issue that is likely to compromise the safety of electric circuits.
Manufacturer defects are another reason why such electrical panels are recalled. A defect can be a mistake that was made during the manufacturing of the electrical panel and it may end up affecting the overall functionality and performance of the panel.
Most of the recalled electrical panels were old and used from the 1950s up to the 1980s. It is also fascinating to note that bug names in the electrical panel industry were affected by the recalls.
Recalled electrical panels that you should know
As we have already mentioned, there are major brands that recalled their electrical panels. These brands include the following:
Zinsco Electrical Panels
Zinsco is among the oldest names in the field and it recalled one of its electrical panels mainly due to faulty designs. Reports about fire hazards and electrical shocks were reported about Zinsco electrical panels. Later on, it was found out that the issue was due to the faulty design.
In 1994, there was a report of an electrician who suffered serious burns while working on the Zinsco electric panelboard. According to the report, the electrician was installing a new circuit breaker on the Zinsco electrical panel.
You can easily identify the Zinsco electrical panels by its logo. The brand is also known for having colorful circuit breakers. Otherwise, quite a number of the Zinsco panelboards have been rebranded. However, its is still advisable to replace your old Zinsco electrical panel if you have not done so.
Federal Pacific Electrical Panels
Well, if you have been paying attention to matters electrical panelboards, you must be a war of the famous FPE recalls. After all, this was the most popular brand of electrical panels between the years of 1950s going all the way to 1990s.
The FPE electrical panel recalls were motivated by the reports of fire accidents caused by these panelboards. A report published in 2012 blamed the FPE panels for causing up to 2800 electrical fire incidences which led to 13 deaths.
Other than fire risk, the Federal Pacific Electrical Panels recalls were also due to reliability issues. The same report on the fire incidences in the 1980s reported that 25% of circuit breakers in the FPE panels could not trip in case of current overload. You should be very concerned by this figure as it implies that 1 out every 4 FPE panels is likely to fail you.
The good news is you can easily identify the Federal Pacific Electrical Panels. Simply check out for the FPE labels. Others have a red strip that is across the circuit breakers.
Challenger Electrical Panels
Challenger electrical panelboards were quite popular in the periods between the 1980s to 1990s. They were viewed as safe alternatives to the FPEs which at that time were facing numerous recalls.
Even though Challenger electrical panels were quite reliable, the only issue was with their Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters. There was also an issue of overheating and corrosion of the Challenger electrical panels. On a positive note, the questionable products from Challenger are no longer manufactured.
What are the common issues with the recalled electrical panels?
Image source CBS News
We have just highlighted major recalled electrical panels. From the highlights, you can easily point out common issues about them. Some of these issues include:
-Circuit breakers won’t trip: Normally circuit breakers in the electrical panels should trip in case of any power issue. What if the breaker in the panel fails to trip even when there are issues? The blame can be passed to the electrical panel. Zinsco electrical panels are perfect examples. It was found out that the circuit breakers in Zinsco panels melted in the bus bar instead of tripping.
-Electrical accidents: Some electrical panels were recalled because they were prone to electrical risk. FPE panels were recalled due to numerous cases of fire and electric shock. Any serious report about a safety issue on an electrical panel automatically led to the recall.
-Quality make and design: Some electrical panels have been recalled mainly because of their physical attributes. Faulty design in FPE contributed to its recall. The presence of cheap materials and components on the electrical component has led to major recalls.
Should I continue using recalled electrical panels?
If you are living in an ole house? Let’s say built in the 1950s to the late 1980s There is a high chance that has one of these electrical panels. It is not advisable to use such electrical panel boards. Instead, you should upgrade to new ones. Buy quality electrical panels that are safe and design to meet the needs of modern electrical appliances.
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