The following brands of breaker panels are highly recommended to be replaced immediately due to the fire hazard that may arise because of these defective products!
Federal Pacific Breaker panels were the most installed breaker panel in the United States from the 1950s to the 1980s, however they were installed up until 1990. Their breakers do not meet UL (Underwriter's Laboratories, Inc) requirements for residential electrical equipment. The breakers fail to trip when detecting a surge over 50% of the time. Fire reports estimate that the breakers cause between 2500-3000 house fires per year, as well as about $40 million in damages, and even 10-12 deaths per year. There were tests and studies by the IEEE (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and other organizations that confirmed that the breakers are fire hazards while also demanding that the industry and the consumers be made aware of the dangers. Also, insurance companies WILL NOT insure a home that has an FPE breaker panel.
Challenger panels were mostly installed during the 1980's and 1990's. There is a manufacturing error in the breakers that prevents breakers from tripping. These panels also have an issue with overheating, even under normal loads and usage. Overheating causes the metals in the panel (such as the aluminum buss bar) to contract and expand which tampers with connections. As a result, there is a high risk of arcing within the panel that could cause the entire buss bar and breakers to melt or cause a fire. In the late 1980's, Challenger was faced with constant recalls of their equipment. Insurance companies may OR may not insure a home with a Challenger breaker panel.
These panels were installed in the 1970s. These panels have a major issue with overheating and melting. These panels use an aluminum alloy that is highly susceptible to oxidation and can't handle the loads higher loads required by our technology. The oxidation on the buss bar and breakers causes electrical fires. Higher loads on the breakers cause them to the aluminum buss bar and can no longer trip when an overload is detected. These panels were found to be defective in at least 25% of the homes in which they were tested.