Now the panels have become outdated due to flaws in the circuits. They may fail to trip when a current value of more than the required value is passed or when a short circuit occurs, i.e. they are not performing their main function. The flaw is due to a loose connection between the circuit breaker and the bus bar. This causes arcing and results in overheating. The breaker may fuse to the bus bar which makes it almost impossible to remove. Also the breaker’s contact may fuse together making it incapable of detecting overcurrent. This leads to a potential fire hazard. Zinsco breakers’ replacements are available in the market but it’s cheaper to replace the whole panel with a modern and safe design from an alternate manufacturer. Signs of corrosion or overheating should be enough for the owner to replace the breakers.
Federal Pacific Electric installed Stab-Lok circuit breakers and panels in the past which may cause fires according to electrical experts nowadays. They are most commonly found in homes built before the 1990s. The purpose of a circuit breaker is to cut off the electric supply when excessive charge is passed through it, but the federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok breakers mostly do not trip and provide a continuous electricity supply in that scenario. This certainly leads to Intense heating and may lead to a fire in some cases.
Panels with Pushmatic breakers have two problems.
- Thermal breakers and have no magnetic trip.
- Grease-fed breakers – if not used and serviced at regular intervals then they become stiff, which makes their operation and resetting difficult.
The age and proprietary nature of these breakers asks for a licensed electrician to either stop the electric supply to the property, remove these breakers or check for rust or corrosion. He also has to make sure that there is proper contact with the buss bar.
Safety should never be compromised on, you have to make sure that a property is installed with proper circuit breakers to avoid any kind of hazard.