Should You Upgrade a Federal Pacific Stab Lok Panel
How to Inspect and Evaluate a FPE Panel for Potential Problems: Identify Problems with a FPE Panel or Circuit Breaker
How to Identify Problems with a FPE Panel or Circuit Breaker
Electrical Question: The house I bought for my in-laws has a Federal Pacific Stab Lok service panel.
- My neighbor said in selling their house which had one, the buyer’s inspector said it was a hazard and MUST be replaced.
- The internet seems to be covered with information saying it is a hazard; I noted these postings are typically from home inspection companies. What is the straight scoop?
This electrical wiring question came from Bob, in Dallas, Texas.
Dave the Electrician’s Reply:
Thanks for your electric wiring question Bob.
How to Inspect and Evaluate a FPE Panel for Potential Problems
Preparations for Evaluating an FPE Panel
- Application: Upgrading from a FPE Panel and Installing a New Electric Panel.
- Skill Level: Advanced. This electrical wiring project is best performed by a Certified Electrician or a Licensed Electrical Contractor. Not Recommended for Homeowners.
- Tools Required: Electricians pouch of hand tools and the various power tools necessary for the specific method of electrical service installation.
- Estimated Time: Depends on the type of panel, the location, and available access to the project area.
- Precaution: This is an extensive project. Working in an electric panel has possible arc flash hazards and should be performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
- Notice: Installing an Electrical Service Panel should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
Federal Pacific Stab Lock Circuit Breaker Panels
- The Federal Pacific Stab Loc circuit breaker has a history of problems with the circuit breakers however replacement FPE circuit breakers are still available.
- Some of the problems with the FPE circuit breakers are due to the contact point connection with the panel buss and in some cases the contact inside the circuit breaker have failed due to arcing and heat.
- Circuit breakers must be properly sized for the type and size of the circuit wiring to prevent circuit overloaded conditions that can lead to circuit breaker failure.
- Federal Pacific Electric panels should be inspected periodically and if the circuit breakers are experiencing a problem then they should be properly replaced.
- If the FPE panel has suffered damage then it would be best to replace the panel with a new panel that has a good performance history.
- Before replacing the panel you may want to evaluate the electrical system to make sure the replacement panel is sized properly.
More about Replacing a Residential Electrical Panel
Residential Electrical Codes for Panels
Home Electrical Codes
House Wiring Circuits and Circuit Breakers
This article looks at common 120 volt and 240 volt house wiring circuits and the circuit breakers that are installed identifying the types and amperage sizes used in most homes.
Electrical Panel Circuit Listing
The following may also be helpful for you:
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
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My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..
The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.
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