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  • Ben the Master Electrician

Are Federal Pacific Electric Circuit Breaker Panels Dangerous?

Have you looked at your electrical panel and asked yourself, "Is this electrical circuit breaker panel safe?" If your home was built between 1950 and 1990, you could have a Federal Pacific electrical circuit breaker panel inside of your property. In this article, we will explain how you can identify if you have an unsafe Federal Pacific electrical panel.

Who and What is Federal Pacific Electric?

One of the most common circuit breaker panel manufacturers in the United States was Federal Pacific Electric (FPE). FPE was acquired by Reliant Electric Company in 1979, a subsidiary of Exxon Mobile. During the 1950 - 1990s, millions of FPE electrical circuit breaker panels were installed nation wide.

Are Federal Pacific Electrical Circuit Breakers Dangerous?

In the 1980s, the Consumer Product Safety Commission began an investigation into Federal Pacific Electric Company. Commission tests reported that the circuit breakers did not fully comply with Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) requirements. It was proven that one in four Stab-Lok breakers were defective and did not properly trip off when overloaded. Because of this, the circuit breakers failed certain UL calibration test requirements.

Later, a New Jersey Court ruled that FPE cheated during its testing of circuit breakers in order to fraudulently obtain Underwriters Laboratories (UL) approval. Unfortunately, due to the massive budget required, a national recall was never conducted. More than 2000 fires are reported each year due to Federal Pacific Electrical Panels and circuit breaker malfunction. Although FPE is no longer in business, their defective panels and breakers still exist and pose a great risk of fire to the panel and property it resides in.

Not sure how to identify a Federal Pacific Electric Circuit Breaker Panel? Watch this video:

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