Trying to be nice, I think I got myself in a jam…
A friend is renovating a home damaged in Florida hurricanes in 2004. They are finally doing finish work - trim, fixtures, etc, and he called, asked me to walk thru with him and a realtor.
On my first look, I notice the main panel, sub panel, and even the A/C shutoff are all FPE StabLok. The house was built in 1979.
Told him he needs to get an electrician to evaluate and replace, showed him the website info on Stabloks, etc.
I had him sold on getting a listing inspection once house is done - now I’ve told him any inspector will be sure to write up the FPE panel…and a buyer would surely turn away
This is the first FPE panel I’ve seen. Most of our homes are newer than that, I was right wasn’t I??? I want it to be right, but I don’t want to scare him, either…
Andy, you are correct to point that out, FPE stabloks are a known problem.
I always recommend replacing FPE panels with Stab-Lok breakers on my inspection reports. I had an FPE with Stab-Lok an a rent house in Richmond, Texas. I decided to let it stay, it looked good visually. Less than a year later my tenant complained it was arcing. I went out there and sure enough, when I lifted the cover it was arcing. I had the panel replaced.
Does everyone else do this?
I explain the dilemma verbally, back it up on the report, recommend further evaluation, then give the client resources to research for themselves.
Am I making myself a sitting duck by handling it this way?
I do refer them to a licensed electrician for an opinion and to evaluate further. I also advise that electricians opinions on these panels vary regarding their safety performance. I go on to say that my recommendation is to have the panel replaced.
Unless you’re in Canada. Apparently FPE is alive and kickin’ up North
The known defects with regard to FPE Stab-lok load centers (in the U.S.) warrant a recommendation (by a home inspector) for replacement of the load center.
I will be adding this to my process.
Jeff is correct. 99% of electrical panels in our area are FPE Stab-Lok panels and breakers in the last 20 - 30 years. What seems odd is… I’ve never spotted any problems with these panels. :shock: Do we have different products than you do in the States or different code requirements/standards for the companies to adhere to?
Here is an excellent article on StabLocs.
Hey John O is that a new company name for you??
Darrell, don’t ask me why but you are correct.
As Jeff stated, the problems are with US Stab-Lock panels. Canadian units do NOT have these issues for some reason.
This is a mystery not likely to be answered this century.
Now thats timing, had my first FP in my area today, Jim I sent them the link you posted.
New? Which one?
I see quite a few of these panels in the orlando area here. I also put that in writing about them.
A Federal Pacific Electric Company “Stab-Lok” electrical panel is in use. I DO NOT open FPE panels because of the inherent danger they present of knocking breakers out of the panel and I am not qualified to replace them.
I recommend that this panel be replaced by a qualified licensed electrician who is familiar with the controversy over these panels.
These panels have been noted to present a latent hazard by malfunctioning under certain conditions resulting in a jammed breaker which afterward may not trip under load, failure of the bus connections due to inadequate bending space for the service entry conductors,and potential arcing problems. These are Fire Hazard issues.
There is controversy over these panels. While the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) refused to recall the panels, they also refused to state that the panels were safe.
Some electricians say the panels are safe, other electricians say they are not.
Further information on this controversial equipment can be obtained at the following internet web sites.
Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) Panels, A Summary http://www.inspect-ny.com/fpe/fpepanel.htm
CPSC Closes Investigation Of FPE Circuit Breakers And Provides Safety
Information For Consumers
Electricians and Home Inspectors discuss FPE:
Good links and verbiage, Erby… I use the “inspect-ny” link currently and will add the others to my arsenal… The more information the better!
In a recent inspection of a house built in the late 1950s I found and old 60A Federal Electric breaker panel (not Federal Pacific). Do these also have problems associated with them?
Federal Electric and Federal Pacific Electric are one and the same. If it was a “breaker” panel, it was a Stab-lok.
I ran across this at an inspection yeterday and was looking for some feedback . It was also my first FPE panel that I encountered. On the right is the original disconnect for the AC unit to the home. They added another AC unit in later years and that is the disconnect on the left side. The middle breaker box is an FPE panel. It seems to be to feed the both units. I’m really not sure what is happening here. I do know the top breaker in the box is a replacement and doesn’t fit the opening. I didn’t want to remove the cover because of lack of experience and because of everything else that I have read on these boards. Any suggestions and verbiage.
We found this one last week. It seems to fit all the criteria for what not to do!! The exterior panel wasn’t much better.
Did not open bathroom panel, afraid to trip something.