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Zinsco and Federal Pacific Electrical Panels - A Fire Hazard

Updated: Apr 24, 2020

Do you happen to have an older electrical panel under the name brand "Zinsco" or "Federal Pacific?" If so, your house is probably in danger due to the high risk of electrical fire occurence with these brands.


Zinsco branded panels (or GTE-Sylvania) are older electrical panels installed in homes between 1960-1980, and they have major flaws in their design. Using aluminum or copper bus bars and breakers that carry an overload for too long before tripping is a recipe for disaster - this causes the breaker to melt onto the bus bar and not trip when overloaded or shorted, ultimately causing the wires in this circuit to melt and start a fire in your home.


Here are a couple of examples of what Zinsco panels look like - pay attention to the shape and coloration of the circuit breakers:




Federal Pacific (FPE) electrical panels pose just as much of a threat to your home and family. These panels were installed in homes between 1950-1980 and have a significant flaw stemming from unreliable circuit breakers. It has been discovered that approximately 25% of these circuit breakers do not trip when a circuit becomes overloaded - this allows the wires on the circuit to become dangerously hot, melt, and burn anything they touch.


Here are some examples of Federal Pacific panels, notice the red coloring on the thick breaker switches and often the term "STAB-LOK" printed on the panel:

If you've got either brand of these electrical panels, or think your electrical panel looks outdated, you should contact a licensed electrician as soon as possible. This is not a repair that you should put off for very long, as these panels are unpredictable - especially with today's higher load houses (that these panels were never designed to support).



If you are located in Scotts Valley, Felton, Santa Cruz, Soquel, Ben Lomond, Brookdale, Boulder Creek, or a nearby area - Stallings Electric will be happy to come out and inspect your panel for free and provide you with a quote. Just give us a call at: (831)-335-2407 or email us at: service@stallingselectric.com -

or use the contact form on our home page.

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