“Federal Pacific panels have at least five design issues that are no longer allowed by code: the gutter space, the wire bending space, spring-mounted bus, breakers that are on when down, and the split bus service equipment. These issues mean that a panel that has been sitting on the hardware store shelf for 20 years would not meet today’s code, despite the UL listing of the panel at the time it was manufactured.”
Code Consultant, Expert Witness, Instructor, and Author
CodeCheck Series, “FPE Panels – Hazard or Hype?”
“Most breakers in a home are never called upon to trip, and the homeowner's perception is that ‘the breakers work fine.’ The same observation could generally be made if there were no breakers (or fuses) at all, just a hardwired system. In the event of an electrical malfunction, however, our safety may depend on proper operation of the circuit breakers.”
“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, if allowed to proceed, 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 but that the Federal Pacific Stab-Lok® panels should be replaced. There is no practical and safe alternative.”
Dr. Jesse Aronstein, BME, MSME, PhD
Consulting Engineer Specializing in Mechanical and Materials Engineering
FPE Stab-Lok Electric Panels and Circuit Breakers: Information for Inspectors and Homeowners
Dr. Jesse Aronstein sent correspondence to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. He stated his concerns with Federal Pacific Electric panel boxes. In this document, he included 50 summary accounts of incidents with Federal Pacific Electric Panels. Click here to read the report.
Dan Friedman is an educator, author, and building failures researcher. He’s committed a great deal of his time and resources documenting issues related to Federal Pacific Electric Panels. A wealth of information can be found on his website: http://www.inspect-ny.com/fpe/fpepanel.htm
In a class-action lawsuit, The New Jersey State Court confirmed that the Federal Pacific Electric Company (FPE) “violated the Consumer Fraud Act because FPE knowingly and purposefully distributed circuit breakers that were not tested to meet UL standards” To see the Class Action Settlement Notice issued for New Jersey Residents, Click here.
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