100 amp 50 year old federal pacific fuse panel box

I would like to know if most Inspectors recommend changing out to breakers or upgrading the system.


Upgrade (definitely)

Depends what I see during my inspection

Good answer…

Yes - good luck to those who don’t

I usually recommend upgrading to the breakers


I would never advise a client to upgrade based on the panel being old, fused, FPE or anything other than if there were a material defect or a situation where it was obviously undersized for the load which may warrant the upgrade. What would your justification for doing so be? The panel is old? The panel has fuses? The panel is an FPE? Why?


I would never recommend replacement. Even though I have an electrical background that is not the hat that I am wearing when I am doing an inspection. We are generalist and have to work under either state or interNatchi SOPs. If I observe a defect or a safety issue I write it up with the recommendation a qualified expert evaluate and repair or replace as they deem necessary.

In the case of fuse panels I could understand an inspector calling it out as a safety issue that needs further evaluation by a licensed electrician. It covers your liability and I can see your point that it is in the client and their families best interest.

Why would it need further evaluation?

Same age and same condition only SQ…D what would you say about that panel now.

I do not feel that a fuse panel in and of itself is a safety issue. I was just saying that I could understand someone calling it out as one to cya.

Good question…

Isn’t it safe to say that just about all 50 year old electrical equipment is nearing the end of it’s useful life cycle?


Insurance companies also frown upon fuse panels as they associate them with older wiring… and justifiably so.

We live a lot differently than we did 50 yrs. ago and our electrical systems should be updated to correspond with and accomodate modern lifestyles.

Yes. and on our state SOP ,
2-2.2 c. 1. those systems and components inspected that, in the professional judgment of the inspector…are near the end of their service lives.

So according to your SOP AFTER you inspected it what findings would you have that make you come to a professional judgment that the panel should be upgraded.

http://www.nachi.org/forum/f19/exercising-circuit-breakers-1808/#post19480 (“suggest changing out breakers older than 20 years”)


From Mike Holt Enterprises- “I suspect that many of these same factors also have a negative impact upon circuit breakers. I do not know of any research that defines the service life of circuit breakers. Nor am I aware of any research underway seeking to determine the service life of circuit breakers. Considering the importance of the safety provided to people and property circuit breakers provide, it is a bit puzzling as to why such research has not already been undertaken.”

Just spent some time researching what home conditions can cause an insurance company to refuse coverage. You are correct that many insurance companies frown on fuse type panels and knob and tube wiring and will not underwrite a home that has them. Knowing that I would have to write up a fuse panel with no defects.