Federal Pacific Panel opinion

I have been doing home inspections and insurance inspections since 2008 and have been a licensed building contractor since 2002. I worked for a general contractor building houses prior to 2002 for many years.

I’m looking for the latest opinion on a Federal Pacific Panel.

I just did a home inspection this morning at Fort Myers Beach.

The home is a duplex / piling 2 story house. It has (2) 200 amp Federal Pacific main panels. From the original construction.

The home is used 100% as a vacation rental property.

The owner added a Lee County permitted pool in 2012.

In order to add the pool pump and heater, the electrical permit required a new main service panel. FPL changed the meters to an underground service from an overhead service at that time also.

Now the house has: a new meter, a new 200 amp square d disconnect, that feeds into an original Federal Pacific 200 amp panel. The other side of the house has a new meter, a new 200 amp panel with the pool breakers, that feed into an original Federal Pacific 200 amp panel.

I am familiar with and fully understand the New Jersey Fed Pacific cases etc. and breakers not tripping etc.

Even though the report formats and home inspector associations call out the federal pacific issues (what is an intelligent answer to give to a home purchaser and realtor) when calling out the FPE panel (even though the county permit approved the installation and FPL hooked up a meter to it after installation) How do you tell them that this needs to be changed. It was permitted and approved in 2012.:neutral:

Thanks for the info Jeffery.

Kevin I have found quite a few lately and this is what I put in the report. You report it, but let them decide what to do. JMHO


Tell them to ask their insurance company if they will be able to obtain insurance. That should do it. I have had several clients who had to change the fpe panels to keep their insurance.
Ask a few insurance agents yourself.


I’ve seen many all over the county too over the years.

A few months ago, the Office of Insurance Regulation sent out a statement that basically said Fed Pacific was ok as long as we said they were in “good working condition” for the 4 point. I had called them out as a risk for years, then the insurance agent said “why”. Then he showed me the letter.???

I think federal pacific contacted the FL OIR is what I heard.

The attachment that you have and letting the customer decide is a good approach. Thanks for the info.:slight_smile:

I’ve told them the same thing as you have over the years.

After I saw the OIR letter that said it is ok and then the county permit sign off as well as FPL I ask myself, is the home inspector right or is the county inspector/fpl right ???

So at this point are we or can we as inspectors be held liable if we don’t report it?

That is the $64,000 question. I would comment on the fact that it was a Federal Pacific panel with the link to the CPSC site that Jeff posted in my narritive. Report it as seen and give them the government link.

good question;-)Thanks for the input.

kinda like polybutylene pipe :roll:

The difference being that there were class action lawsuits won against the manufacturers of polybutylene pipe and there are funds set up for replacement reimbursement in certain cases.
Not so with FP panels. No recalls. No funds set up for replacement. We have many large developments in my area that only used FP panels and not a fire proved back to them over the decades. I know it is anecdotal but if you research the history there is a lot of scare tactic misinformation out there.
Just make the client aware that it is there and point them in the right direction to become informed.

And the reports keep getting longer and longer

Fifty year old panels require updating or they need to be given a life expectancy. correct me if i’m wrong please.

Besides providing all the information provided above, I tell them the real question that needs to be asked is: Would I be comfortable with any of my loved ones living in this house with this panel? I then answer the rhetorical question with a resounding NO.

This is the way I report them. You may do as you wish. I do not feel the need to advise anyone to remove a perfectly working panel. I do however make the statement below and “they” can decide for themselves what’s in the best interest of their families…

“The home is equipped with a Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) Stab-lok brand electrical panel. Stab-lok load centers and their components have been considered problematic by some industry professionals due to a higher-than-average failure rate as documented by the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). Failure of any component within the electrical system may result in fire and/or electrocution. Although the CSPC has concluded their investigation without initiating a recall on FPE components, and there are no obvious defects in this particular panel, you may wish to consider having it evaluated by a qualified electrician to determine its safety, integrity and performance”.


Here is my narrative -

There is a Zinsco/Sylvania (Federal Pacific) service panel in the house. There are studies that show that these circuit breakers are prone to problems that can lead to failures, lack of proper protection of circuits and other serious issues. Some insurance underwriters are now requiring these panels be replaced.

I have not heard of any underwriter is requiring them to be replaced. It may be that some insurers will not insure a home with these panels.

We see quite a few of these panels on 4 Points. Primarially in the Citizens market. I cannot recall any client being forced to replace the panel. Repairs required as a condition, yes.

Requirements do change from time to time. If any one has heard of an underwriter requiring a properly functioning FP Stab-lok to be replaced, please give details.

As I said before, it has happened. I can send you the details privately after I remove the clients name and address, but it was in Boynton Beach. and Citizens was the insurance company for the last one.

As I said, call the insurance agents.

I may be wrong but, I believe any insurance carrier can set their own criteria when it comes to insuring someone or not. At least that is my understanding. Having said that, I have not personally heard of anyone being denied coverage based on a particular brand panel. But I do believe in what Eric has stated. I have seen and would need to locate a memo awhile back from Citizens Insurance regarding electrical panels of any brand and needing to be updated within the last 50 years. In fact, just last year I had a client facing cancellation due to this very reason.


Thanks Bert and everyone else above that replied.

That is very helpful.