If you own a home or business built between 1986 and 1995, there’s a good chance it has a Challenger electrical panel. Challenger was one of the most popular brands of electrical panels during that period. Still, unfortunately, many of them were defective and have been recalled by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. This blog post will tell you everything you need to know about the Challenger Electrical Panel Recall, including what to do if you have a recalled panel in your home or business.
What Is The Challenger Panel Recall?
The recall affects specific models of Challenger electrical panels that were manufactured between 1986 and 1995. The panels are defective and can overheat, potentially causing a fire. The CPSC estimates that there are over 2 million affected panels in the United States alone.
What To Do If You Have A Recalled Panel?
If you have a recall panel in your home or business, it’s important to replaced as soon as possible. The CPSC offers a handy tool on their website where you can enter your panel’s model number to see if it’s included in the recall. Once you’ve confirmed that your panel is affected, contact an electrician to have it replaced with a safe and approved model.
Challenger Electrical Panels Problems
Challenger Electrical Panels, manufactured between the 1980s and 1990s, have gained notoriety for several critical problems that can pose significant safety risks to homeowners. Here are some important points detailing these issues:
- Federal Pacific Stab-Lok Breakers: Challenger panels often feature breakers produced by Federal Pacific Electric (FPE). These breakers are notorious for their failure to trip during overloads or short circuits, leading to potential fires and electrical hazards.
- Overheating and Circuit Overloading: Challenger panels have been known to overheat due to their design flaws and outdated components. Overloaded circuits can result in melted wires, damaged insulation, and a heightened risk of electrical fires.
- Lack of Availability: Replacement parts for Challenger panels are scarce and costly, making maintenance and repairs challenging. Electricians may recommend replacing the entire panel to ensure safety.
- Safety Concerns: The combination of these issues raises serious safety concerns, as outdated and malfunctioning electrical panels can lead to electrocution, fires, and property damage.
- Code Compliance: Many Challenger panels do not meet modern electrical code requirements, making them potentially non-compliant with safety standards in many jurisdictions.
Homeowners with Challenger Electrical Panels are strongly advised to consult a qualified electrician to assess their safety and consider replacing the panel with a newer, more reliable model to mitigate potential risks. Safety should always be the top priority when dealing with electrical systems.
What Are The Benefits Of Replacing An Electrical Challenger Panels?
While the CPSC’s recall is voluntary, many local jurisdictions have enacted laws that require homeowners & businesses to replace their panels. This is because recalled panels pose a severe fire hazard, and replacing them can help prevent fires and protect people’s safety. In addition, replacing a defective panel can also help improve the efficiency of your electrical system, and it may even lower your monthly bills.
Additionally, many insurance companies will not provide coverage for homes and businesses with recalled electrical panels. So, if you have a recalled panel and you experience a fire, your insurance company may refuse to pay for the damages. Replacing a recalled panel can help you avoid this problem and protect your property in the event of a fire.
Tips On Hiring An Electrician To Replace Your Panel
If you need to replace your Challenger electrical panel, it’s vital to hire a qualified and experienced electrician. This is not a job that should be attempted by a DIYer, as it involves working with live electrical wires. Attempting to replace your panel yourself could result in severe injury or even death.
When hiring an electrician, ask for references and check that they are licensed, insured, and bonded. You should also make sure that they have experience in replacing electrical panels. Then, once you’ve found a qualified electrician, please schedule an appointment for them to come out and replace your panel.
Frequently Asked Question’s About Recalled Electrical Panels
Q1. Should I replace my Challenger electrical panel?
A. If your electrical panel is a Challenger brand and was manufactured prior to 1990, it is highly recommended to replace it. Challenger electrical panels manufactured before 1990 have a known history of safety issues and may pose a risk of electrical hazards. Replacing your Challenger electrical panel with a newer, safer model can ensure the safety and reliability of your home’s electrical system.
Q2. Which Challenger electrical panels are unsafe?
A. Challenger electrical panels that were manufactured and installed before 1990 are generally considered unsafe. The Challenger “Federal Pacific Stab-Lok” panels, in particular, are widely known for their safety issues. The “Federal Pacific Stab-Lok” panels were found to have significant problems with circuit breakers not tripping properly, leading to potential fire hazards.
Q3. Which Challenger electrical panels are bad?
A. The Challenger “Federal Pacific Stab-Lok” panels are regarded as problematic and should be avoided. Additionally, the Challenger GTE Sylvania panels, especially those manufactured before 1990, are also considered bad and potentially unsafe. These panels have a history of malfunctioning, which can result in electrical hazards and fires.
Q4. What electrical panels are recalled?
A. While not all Challenger electrical panels have been recalled, the “Federal Pacific Stab-Lok” panels have been the subject of numerous recalls due to their safety issues. The recalls were issued to address the problems with circuit breakers failing to trip properly, which could lead to electrical fires. If you have a Challenger “Federal Pacific Stab-Lok” panel, it is essential to have it replaced or repaired by a qualified electrician.
Q5. Who bought Challenger breakers?
A. Challenger was acquired by Eaton Corporation, a prominent power management company, in 1994. After the acquisition, Eaton continued to produce and sell circuit breakers under the Challenger brand. If you need replacement breakers for your existing Challenger electrical panel, you can find them through Eaton’s authorized distributors.
The Challenger electrical panel recall is a serious issue that affects millions of homeowners and businesses across the country. If you have a recalled panel in your essential business, it’s important to have it replaced as soon as possible.