Professional home inspectors are very thorough and look at all aspects of the home. One primary focus is the home electrical system. One of the first elements of the system a home inspector looks at is the electrical panel. Often the electrical panel will tell the inspector much about the home’s entire electrical system and many electrical inspections will fail right at the electrical panel itself. JMark Inspections will cover why electrical panels fail inspections and what inspectors look for.
Unsafe Electrical Problems
Home inspectors often pay more attention to an older home’s electrical system and panel, especially those built between the 1950’s and 1990’s. Older homes are often using outdated electrical systems that could be secretly putting the home at risk. The electrical panel is designed to control the electricity or the flow of energy that runs through the home. If a circuit overheats or a power surge occurs, it is the electrical panel’s job to shut off the flow of energy to prevent an electrical fire. Outdated or even certain brands have been prohibited as they many have failed to respond to electrical problems. For this reason, home inspector’s, when determining the condition of the home’s electrical system, will look at the electrical panel first. There are three types of electrical panels that inspector often look for and why many fail inspections.
1. Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) Problems
Between 1950 through the 1980’s, FPE panels were one of the most common electrical panel systems used in homes. FPE produced electrical panels that were installed all over America and over a million homes had and used FPE panels. Later, after years of use, FPE panels were found to fail and didn’t trip at all when a circuit was overloaded. The circuit switch did flip to the off position. Nonetheless, power still continued to surge through the circuit. Simply, FPE panels were found unsafe and were then discontinued. However, older homes may still have an FPE panel installed.
When Were Zinsco Panels Recalled?
The Zinsco panel was first introduced in the 1970’s. The Zinsco panel brand was manufactured for 50 years until they went out of business. This was due to their unsafe electrical panels and lead to a number of electrical based fires. During the Zinsco years of operation, many homes across America had their panel installed. Zinsco panels were deemed unsafe because, the circuit breaker housed inside the panel often melted and/or fused to the main bus bar. When the breakers melted they were unable to trip the circuit. Not being able shut off power lead to overheating in the circuit. This resulted in house fires.
Fuse Box in Older Home
A fuse box is similar to a much older version of an electrical panel. The fuse box used fuses instead of breakers and functioned differently. When a circuit became overheated or overloaded, the fuse would also overheat, causing them to burn out. When a fuse burnt out they would need to be replaced. Fuse boxes aren’t considered an unsafe electrical system like the other electrical panels. However, they are inefficient when managing power and electricity in the home.
Residential & Commercial Home Inspections in Pasadena, Pearland, League City, Sugar Land, The Woodlands, Conroe, Friendswood & Greater Houston, Texas
Many homes may still use these types of electrical panels or fuse boxes. Many are not up to code and are hazardous. Before selling your home or you simply want your home inspected for maintenance purposes, make sure that your home electrical system is included. For quality home inspections, contact JMark Inspections today.