Federal Pacific and Zinsco Breaker Panels
One of the most common questions is about the dangers of having an older breaker panel. As a general rule of thumb, we always recommend replacing breaker panels that are more than 30 years old. The most common panels mentioned in home and electrical inspections are Federal Pacific (FPE) and Zinsco service panels.
How do you know which type of breaker panel I have?
Federal Pacific (FPE) generally have orange breakers but also come in black and brown:
Zinsco generally have multi-colored including blue, red, green and black:
Inspection reports often note that these panels are out-dated and have known issues. Most common is that breakers are known to not trip as designed. Generally, if a panel is 30+ years old, the breakers can be problematic. If you have an older breaker panel, it is a good idea to have a licensed electrician provide a standard panel maintenance to exercise the breakers and check the connections.
Newer panels labeled better than older services, making them much easier to identify. Some common manufacturers:
- Bulldog (Pushmatic)
- Cutler Hammer
- Federal Pacific (FPE)
- General Electric (GE)
- Siemens (ITE)
- Square-D for Homeline and QO