Electrician follow up of FPE Panel

Originally Posted By: bwiley
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I called out a FPE panel, as usual, and this is the wording of one of the local electric companies:


Tuesday 8/5/2004 we made a field inspection of the existing Federal Pacific Electric Panel. We pulled the circuit breakers and found mounting contacts to be tight and clear of any signs of overheating. The panel bus bars were also clean and did not show any signs of overheating. We checked all wire terminations and found them to be in excellent condition and required minimum tighten to torque them to standards. We do not find anything to be concerned about with regards to this electrical panel. It will serve as the primary protective device for all branch circuits connected for many years to come. The manufacturer of this equipment is no longer in business, however, there is a manufacturer which has obtained UL approval for the manufacture of replacement breakers for this equipment. The replacement breakers do cost a higher price. Electrical contractors today pay approximately $25.00 for a 120 volt breaker and $45.00 for a 240 volt. These breakers will only be required as a replacement part or to energize a new wiring requirement. Under normal conditions one would never spend the total cost of the panel replacement for new breakers. thus we do not agree that this equipment is a problem.

Notice they don't tackle the issue of whether the breakers will trip.

Comments?


Originally Posted By: rwashington
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Can you get a verbal, if not written, response from the co. about the breakers ability to trip or not? Be curious to hear that.



Richard W Washington


www.rwhomeinspections.com

Originally Posted By: chorne
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Hi,


If the electrical contractor presents this in writing to your client
then I wouldn't worry about it.

Contractors are usually trying to make us HI's look incompetent
to make themselves look good.

If the client is confortable with the report of the electrician
then it is their liability.

Move on to the next one and do the job to the best of your ability.

Carla


Originally Posted By: dcarroll
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Just keep on reporting them as you do. They are a definate liability if you don’t. Here is a link that can tell you more about these panels.


http://www.inspect-ny.com/fpe/fpepanel.htm#SUMMARY


Originally Posted By: Charles Palmieri
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http://www.electricitymetering.com/product/cba1000/


Check out this site if you inspect a high volume of FPE panels and suspect they?re reliability; you may want to provide independent analysis.

Read all the info I think you have to send the tester back of purchase a chip after 200 shorts.

The EC,s response regarding his (her) site visit is predictable. Most of us do not have the equipment to perform such tests, and unless they read a lot they probably never hear of such items.

Charlie Palmieri


Originally Posted By: Blaine Wiley
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Thanks for your help. I’ve been reporting these panels for ten years. In VA, the electricians were aware, so I simply recommended replacement of the panel. Here I recommend an electrician follow up.


The post is more intended for the sparkies who visit here, as some have had a hard time believing that the electricians around here don't think they are any problem.

I'll continue calling them as I see them. The last thing I want is for someone to get injured in a fire caused by a FPE welder.


Originally Posted By: Charles Palmieri
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there is no other vista like an FPE 15 A single pole melting across the feeder buss.


thats why they call it the national FIRE! protection Assoc.


Originally Posted By: jhagarty
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chorne wrote:
Hi,

If the electrical contractor presents this in writing to your client
then I wouldn't worry about it.

Contractors are usually trying to make us HI's look incompetent
to make themselves look good.

If the client is confortable with the report of the electrician
then it is their liability.

Move on to the next one and do the job to the best of your ability.

Carla


Carla is absolutely correct.

Report what you see and recommend accordingly. Electricians in my market area will recommend replacement of all FPE panels. If this is the case in your market area, you will be paying for them if you don't.


--
Joseph Hagarty

HouseMaster / Main Line, PA
joseph.hagarty@housemaster.com
www.householdinspector.com

Phone: 610-399-9864
Fax : 610-399-9865

HouseMaster. Home inspections. Done right.

Originally Posted By: Mike Parks
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OK


"The last thing I want is for someone to get injured in a fire caused by a FPE welder."

"there is no other vista like an FPE 15 A single pole melting across the feeder buss."

"thats why they call it the national FIRE! protection Assoc."

If we are going to make blanet statements should we at least show some prove.

AND I do not mean a website. I mean facts.

" http://www.electricitymetering.com/product/cba1000/ "

HI's are not allowed to test breakers. This is far outside of a visual inspection and should not be performed other than by a certified professional.

From:http://www.inspect-ny.com/fpe/fpepanel.htm#SUMMARY

This is a quote.
"I infer from the Commission final press release in 1983"

No one reads all the story on this website.

I am not saying that the panels are safe, I am saying how would you defend your claim that they are 'unsafe' or 'not safe'?

Mike P.


Originally Posted By: jhagarty
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.



Mike:


My defense that the panels require further electrical evaluation is reinforced by the acknowledgement of 100 percent of the market surveyed Licensed Electricians in my area agreeing that I am correct in my recommendation. Your market area may differ.


--
Joseph Hagarty

HouseMaster / Main Line, PA
joseph.hagarty@housemaster.com
www.householdinspector.com

Phone: 610-399-9864
Fax : 610-399-9865

HouseMaster. Home inspections. Done right.

Originally Posted By: Mike Parks
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.



Joseph


That is OK.

Now ask them "how many of you would say this is unsafe"?

Not that it is safe but that it is 'unsafe'.

Joesph if you have not read before you would know that I would not have a FPE panel in any property that I owned.

Could I tell an insurance company that this panel was 'unsafe'? No.

Mike P.


Originally Posted By: jhagarty
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Mike:


I have a client that is a licensed New York State Electrical Inspector/Contractor. He is a Licensed Master Electrician.

He performs Electrical Underwriting Inspections in PA.

He teaches Electrical courses at a University Level.

He takes my calls regarding electrical issues and gives me guidance on a regular basis. I will follow his direction in HI reporting.

Risk Management is following the directives and mandates of your market area.


--
Joseph Hagarty

HouseMaster / Main Line, PA
joseph.hagarty@housemaster.com
www.householdinspector.com

Phone: 610-399-9864
Fax : 610-399-9865

HouseMaster. Home inspections. Done right.

Originally Posted By: pgudek
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I’ve a personal experience with FPE panels to share. About a year ago I was doing an inspection for a 70 year old lady who was buying the home to live in with her wheelchaired 90 year old mother. The buyer and seller were both present at the inspection of this vacant home. I noticed the breaker for the A/C was off and asked the seller if there was any reason. He said he was just trying to save electricity and promptly went to the panel and turned it on. I shortly went back to the thermostat and flipped the switch to COOL. The FPE panel sparked and sent the entire hallway, where it was located, into a wall of flames. (It was a manufactured home)


I had read and heard about these panels for years, but until I saw how dangerous they really are........

I probably see about one a week, and I always share this story with my clients and Realtors. Imagine if these old ladies had closed on the home and moved in, turned the A/C on and..........

I don't care about liability, what the electrician says or government studies, these things are dangerous. I never want to receive the call that
the house I inspected, back when, burned down killing .................

When I occasionally get the rogue electricin claiming the the FPE is OK, I always tell my Realtor and client to call a competent Electrician.

Stick to your guns Blaine. Call it out every time. Insist it gets replaced.


Originally Posted By: dbozek
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Quote:
Contractors are usually trying to make us HI's look incompetent
to make themselves look good.


Gee I just love it when someone generalizes like that!!!!

If I did that Carla, I'd probably wouldn't have the time to answer any questions here.

I am sorry if you have such a negative feeling about contractors, but I feel it is quite unprofessional to "bad mouth" any other professional service company behind their back, even if what they did is totally wrong. When I am questioned about what a HI said or did from a home owner my response is always the same....."In defense of the HI, he/she did a general inspection of your electrical equipment. It is not thier responsibility to quote code violations nor is it thier responsibility to require that a panel or other electrical wiring be replaced. They simply require evaluation from a electrical contractor when the HI feels there is a clear and present hazard. Therefore, this is why I am here, to further evaluate your electrical systems to a degree that the HI is not required to do or liable for."

One should be careful what they write here Carla....never know when a contractor might be peeking.


--
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they should and could do for themselves. Abraham Lincoln

Originally Posted By: dbozek
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Please do continue to write fpe panels up for they are a hazard in any environment…(and I have pieces and parts of them to prove such). Let the liability of “not replacing” the panel leave you and fall upon the contractor. That is the bottom line here. You…the HI…recommended further evaluation by a licensed electrical contractor. When this contractor comes into play here and they say the panel is fine and not in need of replacement, they autimatically took over liability for when it does fail. Frankly, as a contractor, I will not be liable for someone’s house that became toast. I KNOW these panels are a danger as well as much of any electrical wiring, etc. in any environment, if not done correctly, and I will state such to any one to therefore…put the liability on them if they decide NOT to upgrade or repair.



You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they should and could do for themselves. Abraham Lincoln

Originally Posted By: wcampbell
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I always tell clients that FPEs have a “past history” of not tripping when there is a short.


Do you think that there has been a cover-up? Naw,,,but then again,, they are a "federal" product. ![nachi_sarcasm.gif](upload://6HQh6KbNiD73gqTNQInjrR2zeJw.gif)


--
This Ole House-Home Inspections
William A. Campbell TREC # 6372
Serving the Texas Coastal Bend
(361) 727-0602 (home)
(361) 727-0055 (office)
(361) 229-4103 (cell)