As a third series to our issues with electrical panels, we are going to follow up with Challenger panels. Challenger panels practically have the same fire hazards as the Federal Pacific and Sylvania panel, but this panel is newer. Furthermore, some Florida insurance companies do accept challenger panels!
An Introduction to Challenger
The manufacturer of Challenger actually bought out Federal Pacific after the electrical issues came to light. Moreover, Challenger then got bought out by Eaton (Cutler Hammer). However, when Eaton made the purchase on Challenger, Eaton did not have FPE (Federal Pacific Electric) join in on that deal.
It all can be confusing, I get that. But personally, it is important to think about where electrical companies come from because you never know what could happen to your panel in the future. A company with a bad history, might have a bad future.
The Issues with Challenger Outlined
To break it down, the circuit breakers have been known to overheat/cause scalding on the bus bars. You can see this in action as the featured image of this post.
Scalding and overheating on an electrical panel is a fire waiting to happen. Due to this, some insurance companies are now requiring challenger panels to be replaced.
To identify if you have a Challenger panel, open your panel cover. The black circuit breakers are labeled with Challenger. You can also look at the design/font of the number on the break to see if it matches this image.
If your inspector or electrician finds a challenger panel, it is important to speak with your insurance company to get ahead of any issues. A home inspector will typically have to report the panel type during a four-point inspection (when a home is 30 years of age, in most cases). The last thing you need is for your insurance company to require you to replace the panel at a bad time.
Typical replacement of an electrical panel is about $1,500. If you can still have insurance with a Challenger panel, check to see if you can lower your premium by replacing it.
If you have questions, comment below! You can also contact us.
Want to read more? Here is a great resource on Challenger Panels.
Featured image courtesy washingtonelectric.net