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The Top 9 Electrical Panel Types at Risk for Safety Issues: A Comprehensive Guide for South Florida Residents
Electrical Panel Types

For Treasure Coast or South Florida residents living in older homes or business premises constructed before 1990, the safety of their electrical panels is a critical concern. Outdated electrical panels can pose significant safety risks, potentially leading to fires and other hazards. In this guide, we'll explore nine types of electrical panels commonly found in older properties in both the Treasure Coast as well as South Florida, that are at risk for safety issues.

Electrical panels contain fuses or circuit breaker safety devices that trip and shut off the power when too much electricity flows through them. This helps avoid fires triggered by overheating wires. Yet many Florida homes and businesses have old, outdated panels that might not perform as intended, leaving them susceptible to a fire.

Identifying Unsafe Electrical Panels:

Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) Panels: Manufactured from the 1950s to the 1980s, FPE panels are notorious for their failure to trip during short circuits or overloads. This failure has resulted in numerous fires across the United States, including Florida. 

These circuit breakers fail to trip when you experience a short circuit or circuit overload. This problem has led to thousands of fires across the United States, including Florida. In addition, there are numerous reports that FPE circuits in the off position still send power to the circuit. This can produce electrocution when working on a circuit you believe to be off.

The manufacturer’s name, Federal Pacific Electric, appears on the cover of your breaker box. Inside, look for the circuit Breaker brand name, Stab-Loc.

Zinsco Panels: Like FPE panels, Zinsco panels were prevalent in mid-20th-century homes. These panels are associated with safety issues such as circuit breakers failing to trip, leading to overheating and fire hazards.

Pushmatic Panels - Pushmatic panels, also popular in the 1950s through the 1980s, feature a unique push-to-reset mechanism for circuit breakers. However, these panels are prone to jamming, preventing breakers from properly tripping in the event of an overload or short circuit.

Fuse Boxes - While not as common in modern installations, older homes may still have fuse boxes. Fuse boxes are susceptible to safety issues if improperly maintained or if fuses of incorrect amperage are installed. Overloading a circuit or using the wrong fuse size can lead to overheating and fire risks.

Split-Bus Panels - Split-bus panels, also prevalent in homes built from the 1950s to the 1980s, feature multiple main breakers without a single main disconnect. This setup can lead to confusion during maintenance or emergency situations, potentially compromising safety.

Obsolete Panels -  Beyond specific brands, any outdated or obsolete electrical panel can pose safety risks. These panels may lack modern safety features, such as arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) and ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), increasing the likelihood of electrical hazards.

DIY Panels - Panels installed or modified by unqualified individuals are inherently risky. Improper wiring, inadequate protection, and substandard components can all contribute to safety issues, including electrical shocks and fires.

Water-Exposed Panels -  Panels located in damp or wet environments, such as basements, garages, or outdoor areas, are at risk of corrosion, short circuits, and electrical shocks. Proper waterproofing and insulation measures are essential to mitigate these hazards.

Overloaded Panels - Regardless of the panel type, overloading circuits with excessive electrical loads is a common safety concern. Overloaded circuits can overheat, leading to melted insulation, damaged wiring, and fire hazards.

To ensure the safety of your electrical system, regular inspections by qualified electricians are crucial, especially for properties with outdated panels. Upgrading to modern panels with advanced safety features is recommended to mitigate risks and prevent catastrophic incidents. Prioritizing electrical safety today can save lives and property tomorrow. Schedule an inspection today with The Go-To Home Service Experts at

The Top 9 Electrical Panel Types at Risk for Safety Issues: A Comprehensive Guide for South Florida Residents

At Emerald Home Services pride ourselves on our commitment to providing top-notch electrical and HVAC services to communities all around Southeastern Florida. But don't just take our word for it. Read on to see what our satisfied customers say about their experiences with us.