We started this series because we came across a very informative electrical panel safety alert from a consumer safety company and in part of the series they sought out an experts opinion as well electrician and homeowners accounts.
Expert Opinion on Federal Pacific Electric Circuit Breaker Panels
“The presence of a Federal Pacific panel in a home should be classified as a ‘Safety Defect’. The Federal Pacific breakers are primary safety devices of questionable operating reliability. The breaker’s function is to stop certain electrical sequences that could lead to fire in the building. If an electrical fire hazard develops somewhere in the building, the breaker is supposed to trip and minimize the possibility of fire ignition. If the breaker is defective, fire is more likely to result. There is no question that the Federal Pacific Stab-Lok panels should be replaced. There is no practical and safe alternative”
Dr. Jess Aronstein BME, MSME, PhD
Consulting Engineer Specializing in Mechanical and Materials Engineering
Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok Electric Panels and Circuit Breakers: Information for Inspectors and Homeowners
Examples of Damage Created by Federal Pacific Elecric (FPE) Panels:
Below are the 2 excerpts from emails sent to Dr. Jesse Aronstein from a homeowner and an electrician detailing their experience with a FPE panel.
Email dated 08/07/1999 – “Last month a co-worker was responding to an apartment maintenance request … He found the breaker on .. and no lights … Thinking that there was a loose connection at the first fixture he returned to the shop for a ladder. What we didn’t know was that the problem was a short and that the Federal Pacific breaker had failed to trip. We never had a chance to return with the ladder, the fire department interrupted our repair…”
Email dated 07/12/2002 – “We had a fire in my home Tuesday due to over-current and FPE Stab-Lock Panel 100 amp service. The panel failed to trip and fire occures within a wall. We have been in this home one month. The home was inspected and we were given no warning about Federal Pacific Electric panels…”