FP panel

Yesterdays inspection had a FP. Several breakers where turned off. one feeding the heat pump. When I tried resetting it tripped and sparked. I told the buyer that it was a safety issue and that I was not going to try again. He was ok with that, he heard the pop also. Just wondering what others would do in this situation.

I would defer it to the HVAC professionals to deal with, along with a caveat that an electrician may need to get involved as well.

Hi Gary,

For starters I would not turn on a circuit breaker that was off when I arrived at the property, this is the responsibility of the homeowner (or whoever owns the home) to have the building ready for inspection.

When I receive a call for an inspection I make it very clear Everything must be on or tell me why something isn’t if they know a problem exists. I also explain if something is not on, it will require me to return to the property and re-inspect any items that were off for Unknown Reasons if they want to turn anything on after I leave.

Besides circuit breakers, I don’t turn any valves on, or plug something in that is unplugged as other examples.

I could just see myself now turning on a 240V breaker to a HVAC unit, the breaker stays on and I smell something burning while waiting for the the equipment to start…oh oh…:shock:


I would have done the same thing and recommended the owner get an electrician to evaluate the system.

Here’s what I use for FPE panels, feel free to use it:

The house has a Federal Pacific brand electric panel. This panel and the circuit breakers are considered by many experts to pose a latent fire hazard. At the present time there is no specific re-call for the equipment, nor is there a government warning regarding the hazard. Additional anecdotal data is available on the world wide web by searching “Federal Pacific Electric Panels”.

Good point Dale. We don’t turn valves on either, but I thought I could very easily turn the breaker on. No more of that in the future.

I had a similar issue were the realtor got all huffy and said show me which breaker I will do it myself. Well there was a missing knock out oppisite the breaker and she stuck her finger in to get some leverage to turn the breaker on. My heart skipped a beat, thought I was going to have to call a bambalance. Some people just don’t get it.
Then there was the realtor that turn the water vavle at the water heater on after I told him not to… the stem and packing nut broke off in his hand, water everwhere, I went out front and turn the main off very slowly, I have seen theses brake as well.
Happy Inspecting

Absolutely - I believe this very item is covered in the SOPs. This is especially true if the breaker is found in the tripped position. I would just write it up as needing qualified investigation…

Here is what I use

You have a Federal Pacific panel which is legal, but there is a possibility that the circuit breakers may not trip when shorted possibly causing an electrical hazard. Opinions by licensed electricians on this panel varies between safe and unsafe. I recommend you consult a licensed electrician for an opinion and correct if necessary