Whether you’re a current homeowner and you’re taking a look at your electrical systems, or you’re interested in buying a home, it’s a good idea to know about non-insurable electrical panels – and what they could mean for your home.
In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of non-insurable electrical panels, a few of the top brands that made them, and what you should do if you find one in your home.
Why Are Some Electrical Panels Non-Insurable?
Certain types of electrical panels are non-insurable because insurance companies have experienced a large number of claims related to electrical fires in homes that have these boxes.
In most cases, this is due to faulty manufacturing. Federal Pacific panels, for example, are a well-known type of non-insurable circuit panel. Though they may function for years, they eventually start to fail, and their breakers may no longer trip properly – causing a fire hazard. The circuit could be overloaded, and the breaker would never trigger. This could lead to a serious electrical fire.
Many homeowners are unaware they have one of these panels until they have a four-point inspection – and then their insurance company demands they replace it.
Common Non-Insurable Electrical Panels
Wondering what types and brands of electrical panels are often non-insurable? Here is a quick list of some of the most common manufacturers and panels.
- Federal Pacific – As mentioned above, Federal Pacific sold millions of breakers from the 1950s to the 1980s. It was found that 25% of all panels were defective and may not properly trip, causing a serious fire hazard. They were also prone to overheating
- Zinsco – Zinsco panels were used up until the mid-1970s. There are not many left, but they can still be found in some older homes. They are simply not able to keep up with the high electrical demands of today’s homes – and in some cases, this may cause wires to melt, exposing homeowners to a higher fire risk.
- Sylvania – These panels were primarily used in the 1960s and 1970s, and they were rebranded Zinsco panels. The only real change was the Sylvania logo, which was added to the panel. They have the same electrical issues as Zinsco panels
- Challenger – Challenger panels built and installed in the 1980s and 1990s were found to have an issue where they were overheating under normal conditions at the metal “bus bar.” This led to expansion and contraction of the bus bar, and electrical arcing between the bus bar. Over time, these components could melt down, causing a shock or fire hazard.
Get Your Home Checked For These Outdated, Dangerous Panels!
If you think you have one of these panels in your home, you should replace it right away. It’s simply not worth the risk. Not sure if your panel is dangerous? Contact a home inspector or electrician, and you can ensure that you take action if your panel is dangerous and non-insurable.