Chances are good that yes, it is. But better safe than sorry.
There are two kinds of breaker boxes we find that are potentially dangerous. Those brands are Zinsco and Federal Pacific, and you can find more information about them here:
We’re not trying to scare anyone, but the danger is serious enough that it’s important to bring it up. For these breaker boxes, the circuit breaker has a history of malfunctioning. The job of a circuit breaker is to disconnect the circuit when it gets overloaded or hot. These don’t, and when they don’t, they can create a house fire.
About 1 in 4 of these breaker boxes will malfunction. That doesn’t automatically mean that there will be a fire, but that’s not something that can be predicted.
There was almost a total recall of these breaker boxes in the 80s for that reason. But the companies decided that the cost of having a class action lawsuit wouldn’t be enough to be worth stopping production. That’s even though the malfunctioning breaker boxes were burning peoples’ houses down. So they continued to be installed in houses for seven more years.
There are thousands of these types of breaker boxes in the Oklahoma City area. If you think you have one of these, please feel free to call us to talk about a replacement.
You don’t need to replace it immediately, but we (and other reputable electricians) will not work on one of those panels except to replace them because we know the danger to your home and your family is so great.
Because this is a potential fire hazard, having this kind of breaker box is an issue in a lot of home inspections. Even if an inspector isn’t familiar with the controversy, when he looks the brand up online and sees that there is a significant fire hazard associated with that breaker box, his next step will be to recommend an electrician to you. Having this come up in an inspection can halt the sale or purchase on a home.
If you’re worried about your breaker box, give us a call and we would be happy to talk with you about your options.