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Electrical Panel Safety Tips | Electrical Safety Month

electrical panel safety - electrical safety month

Oh, hey, it’s May! Here at Gold Medal Service we’re especially excited because May is National Electrical Safety Month. This annual campaign was created by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), a non-profit organization devoted to promoting electrical safety in all homes, schools, and workplaces across the nation. This year’s theme is “Decoding the NEC to Prevent Shock and Electrocution.”

All electrical safety initiatives by ESFI are designed to prevent injuries and fatalities through education. The more you know, the less likely you’ll are to experience an electrical emergency or suffer electrocution. In order to make sure your home is up-to-code (National Electrical Code), it’s important to have a certified electrician inspect your home every year. One of the first things your electrician will check is your breaker box or electrical panel.

When it comes to your home’s electrical panel, it’s important to understand how to safely access the breaker/fuse when necessary. Other elements such as knowing the age of your home’s electrical system and adding surge protection are important for electrical safety in your home. What is your level of protection from electrical damage or injury?

Types of electrical systems that are ready to be updated:

Panel replacement services are recommended if your home still contains a much older, outdated, or off the market electrical panel. Know what type of panel is in your home, and find out the safety solutions. Panels of the past leave your property much more susceptible to electrical fires and blown fuses.

Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) Panels – This was the most popular panel in the U.S. from about the 50’s to the 80’s. If there is an FPE Panel in your home, you are at a much higher risk of circuit overload, electrocution and electrical fires. These panels have been outlawed for a reason. Consider replacement services as soon as possible to a more modern design. Learn how to identify FPE panels.

Zinsco Panels – Zinsco panels were popularly installed mainly in the 70s. They are no longer in use due to their high vulnerability to power melts and electrical fires. Instead of tripping the breaker when there is a power surge, Zinsco panels are much more likely to literally melt. An electrical inspection and replacement services are necessary for this type of panel as well. Learn how to identify a Zinsco panel.

Split-bus Electrical Panels – These panels are not unsafe as a piece of equipment. The reason they are on this list is because they tend to be reaching the peak average age of about forty years. When a panel turns this age in any home, it is time to inspect and potentially install a new panel based on the condition. In its place you may want to consider a modern circuit breaker with only one metal bus and a single disconnect breaker.

Fuse Box – The most typical electrical panels you will hear about are circuit breaker or fuse box. A fuse box gets its name because it uses fuses instead of circuit breakers. Many homes still use fuse boxes and are perfectly safe, although regular electrical inspections and maintenance are highly recommended for this older panel model.

If you have any of the above types of electrical panels in your home, contact a professional to perform an electrical safety inspection and ensure your home is up to code.

Use this useful chart from ESFI to determine what’s inside your electrical panel and whether you should call an electrician for an upgrade:

breaker panel breakdown - NJ electrician

Source: ESFI

If you notice any burn marks, rust, corrosion, melting plastic, or anything else that looks or smells suspicious, contact your local electrician right way. When it comes to electrical, it’s much better to be safe than sorry.

Don’t forget to label your electrical panel so that you can quickly turn off and restore power the the correct circuit when you need to.

Electrical Panel Safety Solutions

There are solutions to further protect your home from electrical problems. Top-notch advice brought to us from ESFI and the National Electrical Safety Month campaign include the installation of Surge Protection, Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) and Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs).


Whole-home surge protection takes preventative action against the damage of a power surge. A power surge is a dangerous increase in voltage that leads to the damage of electrical devices plugged into the walls. It cost a lot of money to buy that stereo and television and every other electrical appliance in your home.

Add piece of mind with point-of-use surge protection, or better still, whole home surge protection, to keep both your family and your expensive electrical equipment safe and sound.

Point-of-Use Surge Protection – This type of surge protection is for individual plug-ins. Although they will need to be replaced more often than a more permanent surge protection installation, they provide immediate and select protection for anything plugged into that specific device. If you do purchase a point-of-use surge protector, look for the UL (Underwriters Laboratory) label or a similar independent testing laboratory marking.

Whole-Home Surge Protection – This covers every single outlet, switch, and appliance in your home. Whole home is the most comprehensive surge protection available. Installed by a certified and skilled electrician, whole home surge protection is long-lasting and effective.

Gold Medal Service provides full surge protection services. If you’re interested in whole home surge protection, contact your local professional electrician. We’ll figure out the best solution for your home’s unique safety needs.

point-of-use and whole-home surge protection - NJ electrician

Source: ESFI


Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI)- According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), about 50% of home electrocutions could have been prevented with the introduction of GFCIs. They should be installed on all outlets, especially in high usage area such as the kitchen, bathroom, and even outdoors based on need.

Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI) – The CPSC also estimates that above 50% of the almost 50,000 electrical fires that occur every year that could have been prevented by Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters. An arc fault is considered a very dangerous electrical issue because it is caused by aging, damaged or frayed wiring that has become overheated. An AFCI is your best defense against residential electrical fires. Get enhanced fire protection with the introduction of AFCIs in your home.

Gold Medal Service can offer extensive knowledge about both GFCIs and AFCIs. We can also install them directly into your electrical panel. Let us know your electrical concerns, and we can help you achieve a higher level of safety and comfort.

Electrical safety every day, not just in May:

National Electrical Code - Electrical Safety Month

Source: ESFI

Want more info? For additional safety tips and electrical guidelines, visit the official website for the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) and find out how you can celebrate electrical safety every day of the year, and not just in May.

Information on how to spread the word about National Electrical Safety Month 2017 and what you can do in your home this spring to up your electrical protection can be found here.

Work with Gold Medal Service to keep your home’s electrical system flowing smoothly and safely. We offer comprehensive electrical services and expert advice.

Related Resources:


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