Challenger Breaker Panels were installed in thousands of homes in the 1980s and 1990s. Most of the issues in these panels were actually caused by their breakers. Issues from these breakers include:
- Insufficient tripping (not tripping when there is an issue present)
- Sometimes: House fires.
Issues I have personally witnessed with these breakers and panels include:
- Dryers losing power
- Intermittent light flickering
- Live breakers which should have tripped
- Melted breakers
- Power issues
- So much damage to the bus bar that the panel had to be replaced
Although these breakers were recalled, many homeowners are not even aware that their panel could be an issue.
Here are some images of one of the Challenger panels I replaced due to overheating/melting of breakers which ruined the bus bar:
Identifying a Challenger Panel: If you want to check if your panel is a Challenger panel, you can check your breakers. The breakers should say Challenger, or if you open your panel door, there should be a brand label listed as Challenger. If you're unsure, you can send us an email and we would be glad to identify your panel brand for you. If you do have a Challenger panel, we do recommend replacing the panel, or at minimum replacing the breakers (if the bus bar does not have damage), as they do pose significant risk.
Challenger isn’t the only panel brand with dangers. Other hazardous panel brands include: Zinsco, Pushmatic, and Federal Pacific. If you have any panels under these names, please hire a licensed electrician to at least have a look. If you do not have a panel with this brand, it is still a smart idea to get your panel bus checked to ensure that there is no corrosion, rust, or other damage.
To read more about these recalls, here's a link to another good article: CLICK HERE.
Lead Electrician Gloudeman Electric, LLC