|FPE Circuit Panels|
Federal Pacific Stab-lok Electrical Panels and Circuit Breakers
Federal Pacific Electric Stab-lok type residential circuit breakers have been reported to have created fire hazards. FPE Stab-lok® circuit breakers and electrical panels can still be found in millions of homes. Although FPE has not made a circuit breaker since 1986, the circuit breaker processes were obtained and subsequently maintained by other companies. In the United States, Stab-lok® circuit breakers are sold by the American Circuit Breaker Corporation.
How to Identify FPE Electrical Panels
FPE panels are simple to recognize displaying the FPE or the "Stab-Lok" brand on the inside of the door of your electric panel. Markings may not be totally noticeable in older home installations so look closely.
Federal Pacific Electrical Panels Information
Federal Pacific Electric, FPE Stab-lok electric panels over time have shown a history of breakers not tripping when they are suppose to. These problematic circuit breakers are supposed to shut off when the electrical current reaches a level that could start a fire or damage equipment.
Due to their design and or quality control troubles, the FPE Stab-Lok circuit breakers have not worked as reliably as intended. Testing has proven approximately 30% of the 2-pole circuit breakers have failed to trip when they are supposed to. Unfortunately some entire lots of these breakers have been 100% defective. Fuses were utilized to provide the same safety function that today’s circuit breakers now provide. The situation with the FPE circuit breakers is no different than the dangerous yet common practice of over fusing or even putting a penny in the fuse socket behind the fuse itself to deal with the trouble of fuses repeatedly blowing. There isn't an electrical inspector, an electrical contractor or even a realtor who would not agree that these conditions should be corrected and quickly!
The distinction is that over using is easy to see, but there is typically no visual indication that a breaker is working properly or not, giving the homeowner the perception that the breakers are in fine working order. There is no way an electrician can look at a panel and know if the breakers inside will trip when they should.
Although some companies have started making replacement breakers for the FPE panels, in most cases these replacement breakers have been manufactured with the same problematic design as the original and there is no supporting data showing that they are more reliable. Further although not as well documented as the circuit breaker problem replacing the circuit breakers does not address the problems with the buss bars in FPE panels. The only sure solution to address all of these situations is to replace the entire panel.
Home owners are encouraged to update themselves on FPE panels, the remedial acts to take if any, making an informed decision on their best course of action.
Need more information on Federal Pacific Electrical Panels? Call your Residential Electrical Experts at 603-860-0324.