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Let’s Talk About Electrical Panels!

July 15th, 2020 Comments off

Is Your Home Electrical Panel Dangerous? Check Your Panel for Discontinued Breakers or Brands

Pushmatic Breaker Panel

What is a Pushmatic Home Electrical Panel?

The Pushmatic panel board was a widely used circuit breaker panel installed in homes built between 1950 and 1980. This is a distinctive panel because it is the only electrical panel brand that does not have switches that flip left and right. As Pushmatic breakers age springs inside rust, corrode, and break and they become hard to trip and reset. Some insurance companies will not insure a home with this type of panel.

 

How to tell if you have Pushmatic Breakers:

Take a look at your breakers… Can you flip your breakers left and right or are they buttons that you must “push” to activate or deactivate? If you have “push” button breakers you have a Pushmatic Electrical Panel! These breakers are now obsolete and replacement circuit breakers are hard to find and expensive. The design of these old electrical panels also makes it impossible to add new circuits and loads to the already limited spaces in the panel.

Besides just the Pushmatic brand there are also other outdated and unsafe electrical panels that you should be on the lookout for in your home:

    • Zinsco Panels: Zinsco or GTE-Sylvania panels were popular electrical panels installed in homes throughout the 1970’s. Zinsco is now defunct, but many homes still have these panels.

Why they’re unsafe: The circuit breakers inside many Zinsco panels melt to the main ‘bus bar’. This means the breaker can’t ever trip, even when there’s a short or overloaded circuit. So if there ever is a short or other problems, the surge of power melts wires and starts fires in your home.

    • Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) Panels: For a long time (1950s-1980s) Federal Pacific Electric was one of the most popular manufacturers of electrical panels in the United States. And they were installed in millions of homes. But these panels are extremely unsafe.

Why they’re unsafe: FPE electric panels’ circuit breakers fail to trip when they should (when there’s a short circuit or circuit overload). This problem has lead to             thousands of fires across the United States. There are also many reports that FPE circuits in the off position still send power to the circuit. This can cause electrocution   when working on a circuit you believe to be off.

    • Fuse box: 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.

Why they’re unsafe: Fuses aren’t inherently unsafe. They work just like circuit breakers (except they can’t be reset and must be replaced.) However, most fuse boxes in homes today are unsafe because they’ve been modified to try to serve today’s energy demands.

 

Time for an upgrade?

Check out this before and after of a panel upgrade we did this week! The A-Team is happy to set up a time to visit and inspect your home or business’s electrical panel and service. If it still uses Pushmatic breakers then we’ll provide you with options to replace this obsolete system! Contact us today at Artisan Electric or call us at 765-414-3913 and let our licensed pros do a free site assessment.