Electric off for good reason

Electricity was not available during the inspection. The main disconnect off and service in disrepair. The inspector operates only normal controls such as switches and knobs and does not reset or turn on circuit breakers. As a result, branch circuit wiring, receptacles, fixtures such as lights, fans, switches, ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) devices, arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) devices and appliances such as water heaters, forced air furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioning units, and kitchen appliances were not fully evaluated. Recommend that a qualified contractor make a full evaluation of the electric system and electrically powered appliances. Any defects found should be corrected by a qualified contractor.

Tommy Llama Home Inspection Services
Bradenton, FL

Besides being a Federal Pacific panel what’s wrong with the service?

FPE: recommend replacement, these panels are a disaster waiting to happen.

Anyway, I agree with Mr. Meier, what else is wrong with the service?

If that were actually a true statement, it wouldn’t matter what else is wrong…

Sorry I and many others disagree .
This has been discussed many times on this forum .
No one has posted facts to back up your statement .
It might be to your advantage to see the FP discussion’s on this NACHI site .

I am a retired Electrician and will not be changing my FP Panel

Is that plant growing out of the meter base??? That would cause me concern.

“Vegetation found growing in electrical service. Recommend weeding by electrically qualified gardener.”

I saw that too and could not tell where it ends.

I pic from a better angle would be nice.

I take you have never shorted out an FPE breaker?

And its comments like this that get me very concerned. :mad: There is plenty of evidence that FPE cheated on UL listing and many experts on Mike Holt who work in the testing industry have confirmed this. Most electricians on electrician talk also agree with this. Its worth checking the threads out on those forums too.

If you want to see evidence drill open any FPE breaker vs a new one or any other brand from the 70s. You will see what I am talking about.

Further, short any residential FPE breaker out compared to any new breaker or one of that vintage and you will see these breakers leave behind a much, much greater amount of carnage due to the lack of magnetic trip. The lights will dim to a faint glow in your home for several seconds while that is happening, I have seen it first hand. Unfortunately, that is only one small issue out of much larger ones.

If this is not enough there is actual published evidence like CPSC reports and testing done by experts like Jesse Aronstein who has confirmed in controlled environments these breakers have very high failure rates. Failure rates are much higher than other brands of the same era or vintage.

FPE has these following known problems:

  1. breakers are known to become loose in the stabs arcing and sparking which ultimately leads to buss bar damage/fire.

  2. Electricians reporting buss bar assemblies failing and shorting out.

  3. GFCI breaker were found 50% failure (no trip rate).

  4. Double pole breakers have an internal common trip mechanism that can jam preventing the other pole from opening on a dead short. This has both been mentioned in professional papers and can be replicated by drilling open any double pole FPE to anyone who wants to see it first hand. Trip the mechanism several times and it will eventually jam.

  5. Both double and single pole breakers have numerous other poor engineering/design choices that increase no trip failures:

a. A spring is used as a fulcrum which can rust, bind and jam. You wouldn’t use a spring for a car axial or door hinge would you?

b. The metal conducting braid can bump up against the thermal bimetal shorting it out partly or wholly. Since current is not traveling on the bimetal it wont heat and thus can completely miss an overload.

c. Trip curves often deviate from max UL limits arising from manufacturing defects.

d. The contact points in the breakers can miss align or from manufacturing defects weld tougher failing to open.

  1. The above leads to no trip conditions even on a short circuit in addition to reports from electricians of breakers being flipped to the off position and still being live.

  2. 100% of FPE breakers lack magnetic trip. While not a UL requirement, a lack of magnetic trip drastically increases the chance of electrical fire. All other breakers besides vintage Bulldog and some vintage Zinsco have magnetic trip.

I know what your thinking, why would a lack of magnetic trip be a fire hazard? I have never seen evidence.

Well this paper explains why:

In addition to the above, magnetic trip means that a short circuit will be cleared within a few cycles (fractions of a second). Without magnetic trip a short circuit can take several or more seconds to clear, which means the frame of any appliance a person may be in contact with could be energized up to 105 volts relative to another grounded object/earth during that time until the breaker trips. 2/60ths of a second (other breakers) is safer than 5 seconds (FPE breaker).

While not an NEC or UL requirement, in the IEC and other European codes breakers are mandated to disconnect power in a fraction of a second during a hot to chassis ground fault for this exact reason. Adding to the above link, rapid disconnect times are why European breakers have a 5x magnetic trip, which also reduces the fire risk as further explained in the document.

But magnetic trip aside, FPE was a company that made poorly designed residential equipment and had even poorer quality control. Because their breakers could fail some UL tests in excess they had to come up with deceptive means by cheating UL listings in order to continue to sell electrical equipment. I know that is hard for many to grasp, but please believe me that from speaking with experts on the issue FPE was indeed committing listing fraud. They had to because genuine testing would fail half the breakers thus in turn they could not be sold.

Granted, you will not find statements from the CPSC asking for a recall, but you have to realize FPE has long been out of business and any corporate documents have either been destroyed or are not available to the public. All that exists are news paper clippings, testimonials and even the CPSC claiming a 60% defect rate. However, that is not the tell all. People have openly tested these breakers in Labs like Jesse Aronstein confirming many breakers failing to trip in a controlled environment. These test were not simply “yahhh, this breaker looks bad”, no they were hooked up to actual testing equipment which put current through the breakers while they were being timed; exactly the way UL does them for breakers waiting to be listed. Their findings discovered a disturbingly large number fail to trip to the point they will smoke.

I don’t see what could be more tell all than actual over current testing in a lab.

Closing off FPE did commit a crime, and no offence to you or anyone else, but those who do not bring up FPE concerns to clients or customers are in essence perpetuating a scandal regarding human life and property safety. Im sure FPE made tons of money selling electrical equipment, and some of it was reliable, but in the end its consumers who have to live with a danger that comes along with white collar crime.


I did come across something that is with good sources:


In other words if I may, the CPSC has not issued a recall for the only reason that it would cost money (millions) to confirm defective breakers. In other words they don’t want to blow the whistle. That is the real reason why we do not hear anything, not because the breakers have been confirmed to be reliable.

In fact, the quote above knowingly confirms FPE was fraudulent in this regard. By the power of logic, if a company has reliable products, why would it intentionally commit to falsified listings?

Testing done by independent labs has confirmed the theory: FPE falsified listings because it would fail them, even the ones set in place 40 years ago.

Lastly FPE has even indirectly admitted an issue by affixing labels like this to panels:

Explore Chris Kennedy

Its early morning but if need be I can find better links.

Ok rant over :wink: