Our homes are a safe haven, a place where we can retreat to comfort and security with those closest to our hearts and affections. While our lives are busy, occasionally we will find information that threatens our comfort and security, and this article about residential electricians falls into that category.
During the 1950s through the early 1980s, a manufacturer produced residential electrical service panels and circuit breakers, a company called Federal Pacific Electric. They made a lot of panels, an estimated 25 million panels with circuit breakers to match under the label Stab-Lok. Federal Pacific (FPE) discovered their products to be substandard and said nothing.
Normally this is not a problem, since the Underwriter’s Laboratory tests all electrical products for safety before they are released. However, FPE found a way to trick the tests and get their products approved. For more than thirty years, they produced inferior products that were installed in homes far and wide.
In 1980, Reliant Electric purchased and discovered the fraud. They reported their findings to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The products were thoroughly tested and found to be inferior and a hazard. The UL pulled their listing (as a safe product) and pulled all of the available products, but the product had already been installed in millions of homes.
What is the problem?
The first problem was the use of inferior materials; both wire and plastic materials experience a catastrophic failure. The second problem is the design; the joints are crowded, and sockets are overcrowded. There were a lot of things wrong with these products. The end result is that the breakers do not function as designed.
Are you at risk?
It is impossible to say when the last FPE service panel and Stab-Lok breaker were installed; perhaps they were used into the late ‘80s. If your home was built between 1950 and 1990, check your service panel. Look for Federal Pacific or FPE printed or embossed on the service panel door. Look for a red strip on the circuit breaker handle.
It might or might not have FPE printed on the strip. If your home was built during this time frame and you suspect an FPE service panel was installed in your home, but are uncertain, give APH residential electricians a call. Our residential electricians can help you verify the manufacturer of your electric service panel.
You might wonder, “if this is 2022, aren’t my FPE products okay?” The answer is no. The circuit breakers are known to work properly for years before suddenly and without warning fail. It is impossible to know how many times these circuit breakers have registered power surges.
If you discover an FPE service panel installed in your home, it needs to be replaced. Replacing the service panel is expensive and you might question whether this is necessary. But consider this:
If you have an FPE electrical service panel in your home, give the Airpro residential electricians a call and let us discuss options for replacement.
With our four decades of experience as a Houston Residential Electrician and contractor AirPro Houston provides you with the skill and expertise to help determine if you need to replace your Federal Pacific Electrical Panels.
We have financing options available with great options with up to 72-month terms with approved credit. Call our teams of Commercial Electricians at 281-880-8805 and let us partner with you for all of your electrical repair and installation needs.