Electrican,Meyer Electrical Services
Written by Walt Meyer

Replace These 3 Outdated & Unsafe Electrical Panels

Failures of electrical panels can result in dangerous electrical arcing between the circuit breaker and busbar or cause a circuit breaker’s failure to trip because of an overload. Both can lead to the buildup of very high temperatures and eventually a fire.

Houses that were constructed from 1950 to 1980 typically had the following three brands of electrical panels: ITE Pushmatic, Zinsco and the most notorious, Federal Pacific Electric. Call an experienced and licensed electrician if your home has one of these panels still installed and replace it with a modern model to protect your home and family.

ITE Pushmatic

Some older circuit breakers and electrical panels do not necessarily have a design flaw that pose as a shock or fire hazard. However, they may be obsolete like the ITE Pushmatic. Finding replacement circuit breakers for them is very difficult because they are no longer manufactured. You may get lucky on eBay, but their prices will be high. The way that the ITE Pushmatic was designed makes it impossible for these old electrical panels to have new circuits and loads added because of the limited space within the panel.


Zinsco electrical panels are judged to be obsolete by experts because of the serious flaw in the way circuit breakers were designed to lock onto the aluminum busbar. As time passes, the connection from the circuit breaker gradually loosens, resulting in arcing and high temperatures building up on the busbar. As a result, the circuit breaker can fail, creating a fire hazard.

Federal Pacific Electric (FPE)

Notorious because of much negative publicity, FPE electrical panels have been under investigation and taken to court many times because their Stab-lock circuit breakers were poorly designed.  When a circuit overload or short circuit occurs, they often fail to trip, resulting in unimpeded electrical flow. Consequently, temperatures rapidly increase, and a dangerous electrical fire eventually results.

Electrical Services You Can Trust

Founded in 1991 and serving Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., where we are licensed and insured, Meyer Electrical Services provides home and commercial electrical services you can trust, including:

• Standby Generator Installation
• Panel Upgrades (Heavy-Ups)
• Electrical Vehicle Charging Stations
• Structured Cabling
• Circuit Breaker Replacement

Based in Bethesda, our team proudly serves all of Montgomery County. Receive a free consultation for custom electrical work today by calling (301) 941-1400.