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Buying a House with a Federal Pacific Panel

Problems with a Federal Pacific Panel

Buying an older home in the Twin Cities can be exciting but before you submit an offer, check to see if the house has a Federal Pacific Stab-Lok electric panel. This is a big concern because these panels are not safe.

The Dangers of Federal Pacific Electric Panel

Federal Pacific Electric Company (FPE) sold millions of electric panels with these breakers between the 1950s and 1980s and electricians with Dean’s Home Services are still finding them in houses and condos around Minneapolis/Saint Paul.

The Problematic History of Stab-Lok Breakers

Federal Pacific aren’t the only ones who used the problematic stab lok breakers. Federal Pacific Electric Company went as far as to commit fraud in order to keep the product on the market. The specific issue with the Federal Pacific panel is that Stab-Lok breakers fail to trip during moderate to severe electrical current overload.

Eventually tested by the Consumer Product Safety Commission it was determined that Stab-Lok breakers had an unacceptably high rate of failure. Tests also revealed that 51% of breakers would jam leading to fires and an estimated $40 million dollars of property damage in the United States each year.

‘Decades of Danger’ NBC Investigation

Four Ways to Identify a Federal Pacific Panel

  1. The FPE logo, which is often on the outside of the panel
  2. The panel says “Federal Pacific”
  3. A sticker inside the panel says “Federal Pacific Electric Company”
  4. The panel says “Stab-Lok” on the breakers
Federal Pacific Electric Panel

When it comes to a home’s electric panel, electricians all agree it’s not a matter of diagnosing or fixing a FPE panel, the best choice is to replace it before this ticking time bomb explodes. it’s also important to know that before the danger of the breaker was realized a number of other companies placed them in homes around the United States. If you suspect a problem with your electrical panel, never try fixing it yourself, as there is a huge risk of electrocution and damage to your electrical system. Leave all panel repair and replacement projects to licensed and insured electricians with Dean’s Home Services.

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