Is an FPE Stab-Lok defective by definition?

Do you consider an FPE Stab-Lok panel an inherent defect and not merely a latent safety hazard and why?


I would call it a defect because everytime I pull the cover off one, ya never know if the breakers will pop off with it.

William…there is a difference between your question and the title of your thread.

The FPE is not as apt to be problematic as the Stab-lok would be.

FPE Stab-Lok® components have considered problematic by industry professionals due to the high trip failure rate that occurred during testing, and were the subject of scrutiny by the Consumer Products Safety Commission.

The issue is that the breakers do not make adequate contact with the service bus bar, leading to “arcing” resulting in appliance damage. Failure of any component within the electrical system can result in fire and/or electrocution.

Although there was no recall of FPE Stab-Lok® breakers, there still remains the question of the integrity of the system. Only a licensed electrician can make a determination concerning the condition of the breakers.

Refer it to an electrician…and explain why.

I agree

Me, too…:D:D

as i said lol
:DWas that your twin?

My twin? Why, no…

It seems the State of Ohio passed a law some years back banning the existence of two of me…:shock::shock:

So I never get to visit “Twinsburg, Ohio” though it has been my life-long dream.:roll::roll:

Twinsburg is a really, really place, and hosts a “twins festival” each year. It is reported to be a lot of fun, but I’ll never know…:(:(:frowning:

This website was very informative after some breakers fell out of a panel I inspected. Breakers not tripping was only one part of the danger. The guttering for the wires in the older panels were also so packed in that it is hard to identify specific circuits. Be EXTRA careful in these panels. Look for hot spots and arcing.

Hope this helps!

Here is my wording from a report:
It is recommended that a qualified, licensed electrician further evaluate the panel. Federal Pacific panels have had a high rate of safety violations over the years. Many fires and shock hazards have originated in these panels. Stab-Lok panels are older and are a latent hazard. Replacement is usually recommended.

That statement can put you into hot water. Can you cite any safety violations?

I don’t think there have been any “safety violations” of record, have there? That’s why no CPSC recall was ever enacted.

But mostly, it’s what you have posted in the past concerning the STAB-LOK and Zinsco panels that leads to such a concern about those panels.

I’m not sure but what I posted in #3 I got from you a long time ago. I had a narrative on STAB-LOK for years, but the one in #3 is so much better, I use it now.

It appears to be a variation of what I use.

Here it is again for anyone who is interested in using it.

Yes. Because the electricians here do, and the State of California considers them more knowledgeable than me about electricity by virtue of their licensing. Regretfully, I’m just a lowly home inspection/property consultant.

Maybe one could say that they are an inherent latent safety and fire hazard.

Thanks for the response guys. This was not as a standard home inspection, it was a Baltimore County Rental Inspection (BCRI). Yesterday, their website was down and we used a previously saved form. Then last evening shortly after I posted this question, my CATV signal was lost until this morning. I am now able to access the BCRI form and there is a newer rev. The earlier form addressed the electrical system in this manner:

Electrical System - no apparent visual hazards. Options Pass or Fail

The new rev form addresses electrical issues with this check:

Electrical wires are not visible in living areas. Options Yes or No

However there is also a “catch all” check which reads:

Are there any other readily observable problems that in the inspector’s opinion represent an immediate threat to the health or safety of occupant? If “yes” please describe below: Options Yes or No

There is also an newly added disclaimer:

Disclaimer: The scope of the above inspection is limited to the items listed above and has been performed to the requirements set forth by the Baltimore County Office of Code Enforcement as required under the Baltimore County Rental Licensing program. The above inspection shall not be construed to be either a home inspection as defined under Maryland law or an inspection related to one or more of the Baltimore County life and safety codes. Under Maryland law, the person completing this report for the property owner may not repair or recommend any person to repair any of the items listed above.

The form is here:


There is no option to refer to an electrician on the Baltimore County Rental Inspection form. The home inspector must make the call. There is disclaimer stating this is not a home inspection or a life and safety code inspection.

So how would you other inspectors answer this form?


I know one thing for certain… I would never do one of those ‘inspections’. What is the definition of ‘fail’??

The version of the form has been superceded by a newer rev. Scott.

It has to be completed by a licensed home inspector. I don’t see a reason to turn away work because of an ambiguous form. It is based on your professional opinion.

I would err on the side of caution and mark it as fail on the old form or use section G on the new form and say it was a readily observable problem that in the inspector’s opinion represents an immediate threat to the health or safety of occupant? However, immediate may not be the case. But if a new tenant overloaded a circuit right after moving in and the tragic result of breaker failure caused a fire, I would be inconsolable because in reality it may only be a “potential latent defect”.

I would not have one in my garden shed if it were free.

I was trying to solicit opinions on how other inspectors would mark the form rather than create the best narrative for a home inspection. Although those discussions are informative as well. A good narrative is always appreciated.

Best Wishes

Good luck, William…

Too much ambiguity for me.

I think calling out the breakers just for the sake of calling them out is not fair. They have been problematic…but they have NEVER been recalled. So who is to say the panel I am presently looking at is problematic? If there is a fault I call it out, if there is NOT a fault I don’t call it out.

If you start mentioning PROBABLY items that could fail or have failed in the past but have not been recalled where does it stop? Did you know Kenmore Elite brand refrigerators are recalled?..Some SQUARE D breakers are recalled…Do you have to remember and state ALL of this?..I try to keep up with it the best I can…But I disagree with calling an item out because it has had problems in the past and leave it up to the CPSC to make the call…Once again I report what I see and can prove…

Cross out problem. write “issue, condition or item”, cross out immediate, write “latent”. Then specify “FPE panel”. Just a suggestion. :stuck_out_tongue:

John Kogel