Attention Kentucky Licensed Home Inspectors:


The Kentucky Board of Home Inspectors has issued the attached Advisory Bulletin on the inspection and reporting of Federal Pacific Electric Panels. Your attention to this matter is manditory.

07-001FPE PANELS07-101107-12031.pdf (77.4 KB)

Very interesting indeed!

Seems like a reasonable, legitimate directive to me.

I totally agree.

They just took the liabilty off your back.

I agree with Jeff agreeing with Mike agreeing with Kentucky :shock:



lol…I have no comment…

Paul, are FPE panels and their Stab-Lok breakers OK?

Are FPE panels and their breakers OK or do they have some problems?

Did not say a thing…Simply No Comment

Does the people of Kentucky want to really hear what I have to say about it…I side with Kentucky on this but also know why it was probably no choice for them to make the statement.

It is again not a home inspectors place to play “Electrician” just as in most all cases an “Electrician” should not play home inspector …of course unless the HI is both an HI and EC.

Personally what probably happened is many HI’s were telling clients that FPE was recalled, it was defective and by law has to come out…when in fact their is no major recall ( other than issues in NJ ) and really all the HI should do is suggest it for evaluation an thats it…this alone removes the liability from the HI and places it square on the back of the Electrician where it should be.

So…I am with the others on this…just figured everyone knowing me would understand my no comment statement…but alas I ended up commenting on it…

The only part of that letter I question is the known issues…it is very factual that they lied to obtain UL status, in testing it was proven that while the breakers did not trip…they would probably trip just before a fire so tecnically they worked in the eyes of the review board…

If you ask me…I dont like anything that WORKS just enough to stop a fire…what if they dont work…and many in MY tests that I have done do not work…I have a 60A right now I can almost ARC WELD with it and it wont trip…so my theory is different…I have given many times on here my suggestions…from an electricians point of view…

1.) Replace the breakers with newer UL approved models from American or Challenger if it is cost effective.


2.) Replace the panel with a new load center which is probably cheaper in the long run.

and finally one more suggestion…rip the GUTS out of the old FPE panel and if the enclosure is in good shape install a Cutler Hammer Retrofit Interior into the loadcenter ( which is UL Approved for this ) and convert it to a newer circuit breaker panel using the old enclosure…YEP…perfectly allowed…and I show them to electricians all the time when doing Eaton seminars…

So…again it was easier to just say NO COMMENT…now I have writers cramp…thanks alot Tracy…:wink:

I for one see nothing wrong with this directive.

This appears to be like knob-and-tube, if it is working it’s ok.
Report what you see, nothing more.

It does not say anything about advising the client that there are know recalls and problems with some equipment.

It is talking about the flat across the board “If it is FPE, it must be replaced.”

Licensing solves nothing.

In this case, it is protecting the seller and client from “assuming” Home Inspectors.

This should be a wake up call for those that are so hot to refer outside contractors when there is no evidence of significant defect.

It says nothing in the State Laws that recall information must be reported by HI’s. This is something HI’s are adding themselves.

NO home inspector in a right mind would say that an FPR panel is OK, and an electrician would be a fool to sign off saying an FPE panel is OK.
Why do State Laws get crazy? Because people do crazy things and damage others in the process.

No one is asking for a warranty or insurance. It’s OK when there are no adverse conditions visible.

Like the age of appliances (ie. hvac), you don’t know if or when it may fail. Our job is to determine if it is working today. Is there visible signs of deterioration or damage? If not, it’s OK.

There is nothing wrong with reporting the “condition” of the equipment. It gets wrong when you start talking about the need for replacement when it is still working.

This has evolved from HI’s “afraid” that the client is going to blame them when the equipment fails in the near future. Quit being afraid and just be sure that the client understands the scope of the inspection before you begin. We get blamed for stuff, that’s just part of the job. Just document everything. It does not have to be in the report, just handy if you get questioned. Keep your camera running in one hand non-stop. Take reference photos of all major components and equipment.

Increase your inspection prices so you can afford those complaints when they arrive.

Copied from another thread…


Although we spoke the other night I did want to go ahead and address your question as well as try and put this subject to bed. I will say that I appreciate the professionalism of most of the people on this message board. Here there has been plenty of spirited discussion on an important matter. This compared to TIJ where all they want to do is throw insults and call the Board members names. Just so everyone knows, the members of the Kentucky Board of Home Inspectors are paid $35 per meeting…that is $35 for each day we meet. All the members basically volunteer their time to try and make the profession better here in Kentucky. They are all hardworking people who care about the consumer on all sides of the transaction. The Board is not controlled by the Realtors as has been suggested to the contrary it is extremely independent and bows to no one when they feel they are right.

Now lets look at the Bulletin and see what it really says…and how it will be enforced.

There is no current documentation from any source that states the FPE panels and breakers are a hazard to life and property solely because of the name of the manufacturer. To assume so without current documentation is incorrect and irresponsible.

To require or recommend the removal of FPE panels and breakers solely on the basis of the manufacturer’s name and without visual evidence of a specific hazard is irresponsible and could cause the homeowner undue financial hardship.

If** a visual inspection of the interior of the panel or breakers indicates arcing or extreme heat then the licensed home inspector should most certainly recommend further evaluation by a**** Kentucky licensed electrician.**

The Kentucky licensed electrician is the only authority to determine the appropriate action.

This means that the home inspector needs to actually remove the panel and inspect the interior of the panel as is required by ALL STANDARDS OF PRACTICE! Kentucky State Law requires home inspectors to report ACTUAL DEFECTS not defects that may exist even though there is no evidence of them. To report something as defective where there is no evidence of such could be considered a false and misleading representation regarding the true condition of that system which is a violation of the Home Inspectors Standard of Conduct.

It is the intention of the Bulletin to inform Kentucky Licensed Home Inspectors that they are expected to follow the approved Standards of Practice when inspecting FPE panels not just walk up and recommend removal based solely on the nameplate without even removing the panel and inspecting them. Also State Law allows only Licensed Electricians to diagnose problems and repairs to electrical components. A home inspectors license does not provide the authority to call for replacement of the panel only to recommend further evaluation and repair as needed by a qualified Licensed Electrician.

It should be understood that nothing in the Bulletin prohibits an Inspector from providing information concerning the history of problems with any system including FPE panels. But the inspector may not call out a panel as defective that shows no evidence of problems nor call for replacement of a panel whether defects are present or not. Doing so would be a violation of 815 KAR 6:030 Home Inspectors Standard of Conduct,Sections 3,4, and 10(a) (See Below) and WILL SUBJECT THE LICENSED HOME INSPECTOR TO SANCTION BY THE BOARD!

Section 2. Additional Standards. In addition to the affirmative duties imposed by Section 1 of this administrative regulation, a licensed home inspector or an entity under which the licensee conducts business, shall not:

(3) Provide a home inspection to the client that does not conform to the Standards of Practice selected on the initial application for licensure or the application for renewal submitted pursuant to 815 KAR 6:010;

(4) Provide services that constitute the unauthorized practice of any profession that requires a special license if the home inspector does not hold that license;

(10) Make a false or misleading representation regarding:
(a) The condition of a residential dwelling for which the licensee has performed or contracted to perform a home inspection;

The purpose of the Bulletin is to give Kentucky Licensed Home Inspectors fair notice of the position of the Kentucky Board of Home Inspectors on this matter and it’s intention to take action to enforce State Regulations concerning it if necessary.

It makes sense that any home inspector who is not a licensed electrician would be working outside of his license to insist upon replacement any electrical device that does not show evidence of damage or potential danger.

To warn a prospective client about the history of the FPE service box and recommend that it be further inspected by a licensed electrician to ensure that it is in good working order seems to be not only the prudent thing to do, but consistent with your “bulletin”. Correct?


Absolutely correct…as far as I am concerned.


So, a KY home inspector can warn their client that the FPE might have a problem that they can not see and that a licensed electrician needs to guarantee them that it will not cause a fire and burn the house down.

Would you say this would be OK for a KY home inspector to say in their report?


The Inspector cannot alledge problems that they did not observe. They must simply state that they did not observe any problems at the time of the inspection but can provide whatever historical data they wish to the client concerning the panel and recommend that if the client has further concern they consult a Licensed Electrician to determine if unseen problems exist.

It is important to understand that the purpose of the Bulletin is to make sure the Inspector actually inspects the panel as is required by all approved SOP’s instead of taking the shortcut of seeing the name and calling for replacement without even inspecting it.

At what point does an actual hazard exist? Would that be after electrocution or fire damage actually occurs? Will the state of kentucky indemnify you against all damages relating to the panel issue? You know whats going to happen. A subject house will burn to the ground. An attorney for the owner or insurance company is going to argue that an experienced home inspector should have known the safety issues that these panels present, whether visible damage was present or not. Negligence is going to be the issue. Look at Firestone tires or Premier furnaces for example, many of these products look and perform perfectly at time of inspection, but we know the chance of failure is off the chart…


I will not continue to repeat myself with people that ignore what I say…Kentucky Licensed Home Inspectors are obligated to obey State Law!

In the absence of physical damage to the service box, only a licensed electrician can insist upon its replacement. This makes sense, anywhere — and especially where states license electricians.

Home inspectors are hired to inform. Identifying the FPE service box and informing the client of the history of issues with it…and recommending a closer inspection of the box by a licensed electrician…is sufficient. What more can you do, really?

My intial interpretation of the Kentucky board’s bulletin was that they wanted an inspector to remain silent on an FPE without physical evidence of damage. This is not what they are saying. They are simply saying that only their licensed electricians have the state’s permission to advise replacement (in the absence of observable damage). This makes perfectly good sense.