Federal Pacific Electrical Panels
These Panels Have the Potential to Fail Providing Proper Safety and Protection for Homes.
Federal Pacific Electrical Company (FPE) was one of the most common manufacturers of circuit breaker panels in North America from the 1950s to the 1980s. Millions of their panels were installed in homes across the country during those years. Yet, as the years passed, electricians and home inspectors often found Federal Pacific Electrical Panels failed to provide proper electrical protection to homeowners and their families. Experts now say that FPE panels can appear to work fine for years, but after one malfunction or issue on a circuit, they can overheat and become a possible fire hazard. It is always best to have your FPE panel thoroughly inspected annually for proper safety precautions.
Fact Based Lawsuit
In a class action lawsuit, a New Jersey State Court ruled that the Federal Pacific Electrical (FPE) Company “violated the Consumer Fraud Act because FPE knowingly, and purposefully, distributed circuit breakers which were not tested to meet UL standards…” (To see the Class Action Settlement Notice issued for New Jersey Residents, click here.) An expert who investigated the potential hazards of Federal Pacific Electrical Panels stated under UL 489 test conditions, that FPE panels fail to trip at a higher rate than standard panels. This is where the potential for safety hazards arise.
Federal Pacific Electrical Panels – Breakers Not Tripping
When a circuit breaker fails to trip, an extreme amount of power from the incoming electrical supply surges into a home’s panel and circuits. Once that happens, it cannot be stopped or shut off manually. The panel could overheat, and potentially risk being a fire hazard. Many Federal Pacific Electrical Panels and breakers can operate properly for years before showing signs of breakdown. But if, and when, they do malfunction, a serious issue may occur. Not sure if your panel is a FPE panel? If they have orange handles on the breakers, the chance is yes it is. This photo depicts what most FPE breakers look like.
Your electrical panel’s breakers are designed to “trip” whenever there is an issue in the circuit. If the breaker does not trip, then you are not made aware of an issue. If your breakers have never tripped since you have lived in your home, regardless of the brand, this possibly also indicates a potential problem. On a properly functioning system, breakers are designed to trip in order to prevent a possible safety hazard. Breakers can trip when a circuit becomes overloaded or experiences a direct short for example. Sometimes, the breaker simply needs to be reset, but it is still advisable to have a licensed professional look into the situation deeper to verify the reason as to why this occurred. Other times, it may continue to trip even after you reset it. If your breaker continues to trip after you have attempted to reset it, it is always necessary for a professional to come out and evaluate the situation further for repair. Call us at Service Circuits to receive the added expertise needed to help solve your problem!
Electrical Panel Inspections Available at Service Circuits
We provide inspections for all types of electrical panels. We will go through your panel and check various components. Some examples of what we look over are:
- Power load vs Power capacity
- Buss Bar
- Main Breaker
- Service wires coming into your panel from the meter
- Circuit Connections
- Breaker Sizes
- Obsolete or mismatched breakers
- Grounding Systems
Give us a call today to schedule your panel’s Safety & Efficiency Inspection!
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