If you manage a multi-family dwelling, there are several things you need to consider to ensure it is a safe place for your tenants to live. When these homes are older buildings, there are hidden dangers that are often found within the walls. One such danger could be the breaker panel. In multi-family homes as well as other older commercial buildings, there are two breaker panels that are commonly used and aren’t safe or capable of providing adequate electricity to the home: Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) or Zinsco. Burley Electrical Services is here to talk about why it is so important that these breakers are replaced for newer, more efficient panels.
Are Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) Stab-Lok Panels Dangerous?
If your house was built between 1950-1980, it most likely was built with an FPE panel installed. These were the most widely used breaker panels used during this time. Since then, there have been thousands of home fires that have happened because these panels are so extremely unsafe. When most electrical systems are designed to trip when they are overloaded, this one didn’t. Even when circuits were switched to the off position, the switch was receiving power still. This can cause a huge risk of electrocution for those that are attempting any work on the panel at all while they believe the power is off. You know you have one if you inside the panel cover are the words Stab-Loc. This is the name brand of the circuit breakers.
Are Zinsco & Sylvania Electrical Panels Unsafe?
While the Zinsco panels are no longer in production, if your home was built in the 1970s, there is a chance it will have this panel in it still. They are considered unsafe as well because the main ‘bus bar’ in the panel had a tendency to melt. This made it so that the circuits couldn’t trip in the event of a short circuit or overload. If you see the name Zinsco anywhere on the panel or even GTE Sylvania or Sylvania, you need to have yours replaced. These other names are simply this same design that was rebranded and has the same issues.
Electrical Circuit Overload
While these older panels are unsafe, other outdated panels should still be replaced as well. They simply can’t handle the electrical demands that we have today. Our world has become so technical with all of the devices that simplify our life. You need to know that the panels you have in place in your multi-family home have the capacity to safely provide electricity to power all of these devices. If you have a panel that is 50-60 years old, it has likely reached the end of its life and you should look into having it replaced.
Residential & Commercial Electrical Services & More in Imperial Point, Pompano Beach, Plantation, Deerfield Beach, Boca Raton, Davie, Lighthouse Point, Parkland, Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
If the panels in your multi-family homes are old and outdated, they may be a danger to your tenants. The electricians at Burley Electrical Services can provide you with a full inspection of your panel and complete panel upgrade when needed. Call us today!