If you have an FPE panel, also referred to as a Stab-Lok , the answer is a resounding Yes!
Why do I need to Replace my FPE or Stab-Lok panel, when it seems to be working fine?
1. There is a much higher risk of malfunction in these panels. When a circuit breaker gets overloaded and overheats, the breaker is supposed to trip, shutting itself off in order to prevent a fire, but an alarming number of FPE panels don’t do this. In fact, governmental studies have shown that there is a basic design flaw in these panels, preventing a safety shutoff up to 68% of the time. The risk is worse for double pole breakers that are used to power things like dryers, AC units, and ovens. Under certain conditions, it’s possible for one leg of this circuit to try and trip the breaker, resulting in a jammed breaker which will not trip under any load condition. This causes a very high fire risk!
2. Insurance companies are increasingly unwilling to cover homes with FPE panels, and those of another maker, Zinsco, as well, and chances are very good that at some point, they will refuse to cover your home without replacing your panel because of the higher risk of fire. According to some estimates, there has been an average of 2800 fires per year in the US that are directly related to FPE panel malfunctions.
3. Numerous safety warnings have been issued by our Federal Government regarding this issue, and there has also been a series of class action lawsuits by people who have lost their homes due to fires caused by FPE panels not working correctly. There has been a ban on selling these panels in the US for more than twenty years, but despite the findings of The US Consumer Product Safety Commission investigation into this, there was never a recall, cited because of budgetary concerns.
4. The maker of these panels, Federal Pacific Electric (FPE), was found to have cheated on the tests that were required to meet Underwriter Laboratories (UL) standards of safety. Their UL listing and right to sell these panels was revoked, and they filed for bankruptcy. They are no longer in business.
5. If your home was built between 1950 and 1990, there is a good chance that you may have one of these panels, as millions of
them were installed during this period.
You might say that you’ve been in your home for a long time, maybe even for decades, with no problem. But we have to say to you: knowing that if one of your circuits overloads for any reason and the failsafe that is supposed to protect your home from fire is questionable, would you sleep easily at night? Neither would we…
If you’d like more information on this issue, just type “Federal Pacific FPE Hazard” into your favorite search engine, read on, then call us! We are experts at performing electrical panel upgrades and replacements, as we’ve done hundreds of them. Please know that we work efficiently and cost effectively, but even so, your safety and peace of mind are priceless.