As a home inspector we follow the standards of practice set by the state of New Jersey. We can only identify the panel name, look for obvious safety issues (such as rusting, missing knock outs, wires loose, multitaps) When we see a panel that is a fuse or an outdated brand we recommend further evaluation by a licensed electrician
- Old style fuse electrician panels are no longer considered adequate or safe. Needs further evaluation, repair or replacement by a licensed electrician. Recommend replacement with modern circuit breaker electrical panel for safety.
- Pushmatic brand electrical panels are considered an obsolete brand. Often hard to find parts for repairs and updates. Many homeowners’ insurance companies will not insure these panels. Recommend replacement with a modern electrical panel by a licensed electrician for safety.
- Federal Pacific brand (FPE) electrical panels have a history of safety problems with their breakers not tripping under a load (this creates a potential fire hazard) that requires replacement by licensed electrician for safety. Also note: many homeowners’ insurance companies will not insure these panels.
Federal Pacific and Zinsco Electrical panels were very popular in the 1960s and ‘70s. Many homes still have one of these two units installed. These panels were recalled due to safety hazards that the electrical breakers pose. If you have a panel of this brand in your home or are purchasing a house this one; we recommend a licensed electrician further evaluate it to make sure all components are safe. Additionally we recommend budgeting for replacement with modern circuit breaker electrical panel for safety.
The Zinsco breakers are prone to issues including melting to the bus bar. The circuit breakers are no longer able to protect the system by shutting it down in case of a shortage or overloading, which led to melted wires and eventually to electrical fires.
The Federal Pacific Electric breakers are prone to issues of failing to trip when necessary and are thus real fire and hazards. Without properly working circuit breakers, the electrical grid gets supercharged in the event of a malfunction (short circuit or overload) and causes overheating and fires. Another shortcoming of Federal Pacific panels is the risk of getting electrocuted while working on it, since the unit often sends current to the circuit even in the “off” position.