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AB Electrical Services Orange County

Electrical Panel Upgrade | Aliso Viejo | Orange County

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How do you know if you need to update your electrical panel?

Electrical panel upgrades are generally recommended in homes that have acquired more electrical load over time or in anticipation of acquiring more electrical load. For example, if your home has undergone a remodel or addition.

As older homes are upgraded to more modern technologies, electrical panels may need to be upgraded to keep up with the added consumption. AB Electrical Services can recommend electrical panel upgrades in cases where a home adds a significant facility beyond the capacity of its current electrical panel, for example, a hot tub, swimming pool, or electric vehicle charger.

Panel upgrades are not always necessary in these situations, but our expert electricians will always inspect the panel before doing these types of installations.

By upgrading your electrical panel to supply the power you need to run everything in your home, you can avoid overloading any circuits. Overloaded circuits can pose a fire hazard in your home.

If you notice any of the following signs of an overloaded circuit and faulty electrical panel, schedule an inspection as soon as possible:

  • A persistent burning smell
  • Flickering or dimmed lights,
  • Appliances are not working at full capacity
  • Sparked or discolored electrical outlets,
  • Breakers trip frequently and/or
  • Slight shock or tingling sensation when touching appliances.
  • Crackling noise coming from the panel

In Orange County, there are some types of electrical panels that may need to be replaced.

Zinsco Panels

At one time Zinsco Electrical panels were commonly installed in homes in certain parts of the country. As time has passed, electricians and home inspectors have discovered that certain Zinsco panels often can fail to operate properly and may leave homes and homeowners at risk to both fire and electrical shock. 

These panels can work fine for years, but as homes have increased energy demands, these panels may overheat and portions of it melt. The panel could overheat and catch fire, causing serious harm to a home and its occupants, the best solution will be an immediate replacement. 

Watch this short YouTube video to learn more about why you should consider changing out your Zinsco electrical panel.

Challenger Panels 

Challenger panels posed safety hazards very similar to that of Zinsco. 

The biggest concern for Challengers was their issue with overheating.  In turn, that can cause many other issues, like fusing and/or melting, corrosion, or actual fires.

Occasionally they don’t trip at all, or just may take too long to trip.

Stab-lok panels have had much more extensive testing than these. But either way, for peace of mind, Challenger panels should be replaced.

Hubert Miles of wrote an in-depth blog post that explains the dangers of this out-dated electrical panel.

Federal Pacific panels

If you own a home built between 1950 and 1990, chances are you might have a Federal Pacific circuit breaker. Produced by the Federal Pacific Electric company, these breakers are now considered a safety hazard. You should replace them with a circuit breaker that meets modern safety standards.

Studies have shown that up to one in four Stab-Lok breakers are defective and run the risk of malfunction or electrical fire. A New Jersey court ruled that Federal Pacific Electric fraudulently labeled these faulty breakers as meeting certain safety standards. However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission did not issue a product recall due to budget issues.

While Federal Pacific Electric has been out of business for many years, Federal Pacific panels and breakers are still in millions of homes around the country. 

Federal Pacific panel breaker malfunctions are the cause of an estimated 2,800 fires each year. As a result, we recommend that homeowners replace any Federal Pacific panels with new, up-to-date circuit breakers.

Hubert Miles wrote another blog post on that you should read here.

If you are searching for a professional electrical company that provides top-quality service in Orange County, we can help!

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