Plastic Electrical Panels

So I came across a rare piece of equipment the other day in a home inspection – a plastic electrical panel.

Yes, they really do exist!

I was talking to a master electrician just last week and he said he has been in the business for 32 years and has never come across one of these types of panels before.

Amazingly, this is actually the 2nd one I’ve across in my home inspection career within the last 6 months!

The manufacturer for both of the two panels I’ve witnessed was Square D – one of the most well known names in Electrical Panels in the United States. The name on the two panels is Trilliant.

This type of panel was manufactured between the years of 1990 – 1996.

Plastic electrical panels were widely adopted in Europe, however the panels were viewed with skepticism by most electricians here in the United States and as a result, were not widely adopted in any area of the country.

As a result, this panel and other types of plastic electrical panels were effectively phased out of use.
There are no known major deficiencies that are associated with this particular type of panel. However, the circuit breakers and other parts are known to be very expensive to replace.

The only know potential issue with the panel is an issue with the surge protectors that were designed for use in the panels. The surge protectors were recalled in 1995.

Also, the plastic screws are very difficult to operate and can break easily. And of course, the screws are very hard to replace. If you lose enough screws, you have an unsecured dead front cover.

At First Choice Home Inspection, we will do the research for you on every home inspection!

Mike McCarty
NH Licensed Home Inspector # 316
HUD 203k Consultant # 1939

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