Federal Pacific panels

I have to wonder if you read it, sir.

You have posted a reproduction of an alleged document. Can you produce the original? I would think it to be readily available at the CPSC site.

If you believe the results of the document you posted, why not just recommend replacement of the two-pole breakers?

If the two-pole breakers have all been replaced, will you still recommend replacement of the panel?

and this discussion relates to Realtors/Agents how? Are you making the absurd assumption that not-calling-out a FPE panel for replacement is, in some way, an effort to maintain a “relationship” with an agent?

But it IS our call on whether or not we choose to perpetuate misinformation.

No one is recommending the replacement of the Panel.:shock:

Apparently you have not read the entire thread. At least 2 inspectors do/have recommend replacement.

Evaluation or replacement is what they meant if they didn’t I would agree!
You do not tell them to replace them!

Sounds like recommending replacement to me.

They probably meant OR.
But even if they didn’t they both **Agree **that Evaluation comes first.

My understanding is there is an identifying mark or date stamp on the recalled breakers. I ran accross one the other day that did not have the markings of the “recalled” ones. It was working so, I took no further action. Didn’t even bother the buyer with detailes of a recall. Why would I?

Now, if they would have happened to have been the ones possesing the identified date stamp “as one of the recalled” breakers, although it may have been operating fine and nothing apprently wrong with it, I most certainly would have alerted the buyer and recommended further action, such as replacement. Why shouldn’t I have? Is it not a breaker that was involved in a recall? Yes. Would there be any reason not to act in accordance with the recall? No. At least I don’t see it. I sure would hate to be the HI that clearly identified the breaker as one of the recalled ones and chose to keep quite.

Again, this is if and when I run accross one of the “identified” in the recall. If not, nothing further to say about it to the buyer or homeowner.


I apologize for deviating from the original theme of this thread, which is FPE panels.


I didn’t say I recommend replacement, don’t put words in my mouth, that’s my wife’s job. Are FPE replacement breakers even available? That would be the first bit of important info.

And don’t just pose questions, offer the solution. I’ve been shown and told repeatedly through the years by CE instructors, fellow inspectors and electricians that these panels have potential issues. Again, you saying “don’t worry be happy” doesn’t overrule that. Give us all something concrete we can all use. Do you believe these panels have no issues, do you pass them over, recommend review, what?

I don’t automatically say replace them but I know many electricians around here will.

This is what I wrote in a report earlier this year. It was a condo inspection.

My client is a free lance journalist and did extensive investigation of FPE and demanded the panel got replaced. Also informed everyone at their annual meeting, which happened to be at same time she was purchasing this unit, that they had the same brand/type of panel.

The complex/building is owned by a popular (local) and very successful residential and commercial construction company.

The electrician that looked at the panel was of the same family owned company that installed the panel in the early 80’s.

He mentioned his father, owner of company, had similar panel at his house and it wasn’t getting replaced anytime soon.

The owner of the complex read many of the “articles” posted on the internet and found many that contradicted them.

The panel did eventually get replaced, being that my client was persistent.

I wrote:

Safety issues discovered in the electric service panel located at the utility room:

• Oversized 60 amp breaker. Maximum size allowed by panel manufacturer is 40 amp.
• Two “double” tapped breakers.
• Neutrals not isolated.
• Copper and aluminum GEC (grounding electrode conductor) terminating at same lug,
• Doorbell inside of panel.
• The panel in question is a Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) Stab-Lok brand panel. FPE Stab-Lok
components are considered problematic by industry professionals due to their high failure rate.
They are no longer manufactured. Failure of any component within the electrical system may
result in fire and/or electrocution.

The issues mentioned above and any other problems that an electrical contractor may discover at service panel while performing repairs need correcting. Recommend a qualified electrician inspect further and correct as needed.

I do similar. I never recommend replacmeent, but I do inform the customer of the stigma with them. My verbage states that one main issue is the expense of replacement parts.

I also recommned evaluation of Wadsworth panels. If you think FPE’s are expensive try finding a wadsworth breaker.

Why? What is wrong with Wadworth?

Nothing until you fry a breaker.

Its just like any other aged device. It is past its service life and parts are going to be expensive to replace. I generally tell people that parts can be expensive, and while the panel is operating, age should be a consideration. Most are usually a mess to begin with when I get to them.

This statement is true for any electrical panel or piece of electrical equipment

Yes, replacement breakers are available.

I’m not just posing questions. As I’ve said many times on this board - *“make your evaluation based on the panel you’re inspecting, rather than based on the brand name” *- that’s my solution. That’s “concrete,” and you can use it.

The link you’ve posted serves it’s purpose - web hits. It is certainly the most popular site when it comes to searches for FPE “issues.” Anyone who claims to have done “extensive research” on FPE panels has most likely just read the pages on that site. Most other sites about FPE got their information from that site. Its tentacles run deep on the Internet. You will be hard pressed to find any actual data that didn’t originate from that site. I find it interesting that while that site contains many actual documents from the CPSC, the most “damning” documents are reproductions rather than original documents, and that when searching for the originals, they can never be found.

I have done my research, I have personally inspected hundreds of FPE panels, I have discussed the issues with electricians, electrical engineers, inspectors and construction defect litigators. While I don’t summarily dismiss the potential issues associated with FPE Stab-lok panels, I will not condemn them based on the hype surrounding them.

Here is a link to the Consumer Product Safety Commission that anyone can Google and find.


A lot of what is posted in the internet is pictures taken and no evidence given of what actually happened to cause the accident. Some have even been proven to be staged for the theatrical effects.

In my opinion any professional would take what was in front of them and do an evaluation before making a statement of replacement or hidden dangers.

The problem as I see it is some will not do anything more than look and then make a judgment based on a lot of unfounded statements or based on a lack of understanding of what they are commenting on. A good example of this is the incorrect information concerning an EGC and what level of safety it invokes, or the current seeking earth comments.

I have inspected more FP stab loc panels than any 10 inspectors on this board combined due to the fact Ponca City Ok only had FP panels installed during their housing boom. I have always inspected them on a case by case situation and have called for many to be replaced not evaluated but replaced due to what was observed at the inspection.

The most common defect I encounter is ( the home has been added on to but the size of the panel was not increased) My thermal camera just loves these types of situations

I have to agree With Mr Whitt if you are recommending replacement base on name alone I can make you appear very silly with my IR training and my IR Camera (go ahead make my day):wink: