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Electric Panel Recalls on Federal Pacific, Challenger and Zinsco Brands

Circuit Breakers are safety devices.  In the event of an overload, they should automatically trip to prevent further electrical flow.  Each breaker can only handle a certain volume of current.  When your circuit becomes overloaded, your breaker will trip to turn itself off.   This prevents overheating which can result in fire. 

Federal Pacific, Challenger and Zinsco Brand Panels and Breakers have been recalled because they failed to properly function as they should.  


Call us today at 254-577-5257 to schedule an inspection of your electrical system if you are unsure if you have any of these types of panels.  

Check out the information below to help you determine if your Panel is of concern. 

FEDERAL PACIFIC PANELS AND BREAKERS-(FPE)

Some homes built between 1950-1990 were equip with Federal Pacific Panels and breakers Stab-Lok breakers.  In the 1980's there were reports of house fires that were investigated.  The investigation revealed that 1 out of 4 breakers couldn't trip.  In 2012 there was a paper published that stated FPE Stab-Lok breakers maybe accountable for 2,800 house fires and 13 deaths. 

To identify a Federal Pacific electrical panel, you will need to look for the FPE or Stab-Lok label around each breaker.  Federal Pacific circuit breakers have red strips across them. 

CHALLENGER PANEL AND BREAKERS-

GTE Corporation launched an electric panel design in 1973 and called it "Challenger".  These panels were installed in thousands of homes between the 1980's and 1990's.   Like Federal Pacific Breakers, Challenger brought safety hazards and was recalled.   

Some Challenger breakers do not feature their brand name on them but instead have a GTE-Sylvania label instead. 

Zinsco Panels and Breakers 

Many homes built in the 1970's have Zinsco breakers.  There was a design flaw that resulted in fire hazards and electrical shocks that made this brand obsolete. 

There is an accident report that dates back to July 1994 published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that states an electrical contractor sustained second and third degree burns after and electrical fault happened while working on a Zinsco electrical panel. 

This brand has also been linked to thousands of fires in the last 20 years. 

You can identify a Zinsco electrical panel with its brightly colored breakers (pink, yellow, red, blue, and green).  The breakers are thinner than most modern ones. 

After market replacements are available, but it would be more economical to replace your entire panel.