Question? Just ask us!
Free Encyclopedia of Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, Repair
InspectAPedia ® Home
ELECTRICAL INSPECTION, DIAGNOSIS, REPAIR
AFCIs ARC FAULT CIRCUIT INTERRUPTERS
ALUMINUM WIRING HAZARDS & REPAIRS
AMPS VOLTS DETERMINATION
AMPERAGE MEASUREMENT METHODS
BOOKSTORE - ELECTRICAL
Classified CIRCUIT BREAKER WARNING
CORROSION in ELECTRICAL PANELS
CUTLER HAMMER PANEL FIRE
DEFINITIONS of ELECTRICAL TERMS
DIRECTORY OF ELECTRICIANS
DMM Digital Multimeter HOW TO USE
ELECTRIC PANEL AMPACITY
ELECTRIC PANEL INSPECTION
ELECTRICAL DISTRIBUTION PANELS
ELECTRICAL GROUND SYSTEM INSPECTION
FEDERAL PACIFIC FPE HAZARDS
GFCI PROTECTION,Testing GFCIs AFCIs
Hertz - Definitions of KHz MHz GHz THz
LIGHTING, EXTERIOR GUIDE
LIGHTING, INTERIOR GUIDE
LOW VOLTAGE BUILDING WIRING
MAIN ELECTRICAL DISCONNECT
MURRAY SIEMENS Recall
PHOTOVOLTAIC POWER SYSTEMS
PUSHMATIC - BULLDOG PANELS
RUST in ELECTRICAL PANELS
SAFETY for ELECTRICAL INSPECTORS
SE CABLE SIZES vs AMPS
SIEMENS MURRAY Recall
UNDERGROUND SERVICE LATERALS
VOLTS / AMPS MEASUREMENT EQUIP
VOLTAGE MEASUREMENT METHODS
ZINSCO SYLVANIA ELECTRICAL PANELS
This article addresses the occasional claims by parties with conflicting interests, such as home sellers, real estate agents or attorneys representing sellers or other interests who sometimes state that there is no Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok® hazard or cite the absence of a final government recall as a reason to assume that no action is justified. We include links to public documents concerning legal and safety issues surrounding this equipment and we link to articles offering FPE panel replacement advice and money-saving alternatives.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2014 InspectApedia.com, All Rights Reserved.
The bottom line on FPE Stab-Lok® equipment: The FPE Stab-Lok® Panel is a latent fire hazard. The panel or its entire bus assembly should be replaced, not simply some or all of the FPE Stab-Lok® circuit breakers. Replacement cost ranges from $800 to $2000. There is no useful FPE recall, warranty, or other financial relief. See FPE REPLACEMENT PANELS.
Making printed copies of this document is permitted. Electronic reproduction or copying of our website pages and articles in any other form is prohibited, with this exception: we provide FPE Stab-Lok® Hazard Summary Page for Public Use that can be freely copied in print or electronic form and that can be copied (without modification) to other websites.
This Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok® Electrical Panel replacement advice discusses the real hazards of FPE Electric Stab Lok panels and FPE circuit breakers.
Do not rely on electrical panel age as a guarantee of safety
Do not rely on electrical panel age, nor on an "inspection" by an electrician or home inspector or building inspector as "proof" that the electrical panel is or is not as safe and reliable as other brands. Don't rely on a home owner, seller, real estate agent, or anyone else who says "it's been fine so far" either.
FACT: Saying that an FPE Stab-Lok® panel has "performed just fine up to now" is not a reliable indicator of its safety.
Why have some homes with FPE Stab-Lok® breakers & panels "never seen a problem"?
Past history is no promise of future: Statements about this equipment by an owner or realtor that "there has never been a problem in this building" are not a safe
predictor of what can happen in the future. It may simply be the case that the circuit breakers have not been called-on to
respond to an overload condition. An overcurrent or short circuit - hazards against which circuit breakers are designed to protect the home and its occupants - may not have occurred at a particular property.
The absence of a recall of FPE Stab-Lok® electrical panels does not mean the absence of a problem. Aluminum wiring
is a recognized fire hazard but was never "recalled". Do not waste time looking for an FPE product recall, FPE warranty claim, or FPE panel replacement money: there isn't any except for
a successful class action lawsuit that affects some New Jersey homeowners and an older Federal Pioneer (same product
different label) recall for some Canadian equipment. FPE and FP product recalls are discussed further below.
OPINION: Relying on a product recall is like believing that there is no crime because we have police departments or believing that there are no auto accidents because cars have brakes. There can be real hazards without a recall. There has been no recall of pennies put in fuse sockets, for example.
Watch Out: we advise against purchasing replacement FPE Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok® circuit breakers or panel parts. Data indicates that these replacement parts do not perform more safely than old or original FPE parts, and other innate safety concerns with the panel and bus assembly also would remain in place. The FPE Stab-Lok® electrical panel and its part should be replaced entirely.
The FPE Stab-Lok® electrical panel should be replaced. No new breakers, no inspections, no tests. Replaced.
So who pays?: Home buyers and some home sellers often ask us who should pay for replacement of this unsafe electrical panel. Our opinion is that the panel is unsafe and should be replaced, but we are a neutral party with regard to who should pay for this repair.
Payment or allowance for addressing any substantive defect discovered at a property being purchased is a matter for negotiation between the parties, with advice from their attorney and real estate agent.
What does it cost?: Typical installation of a new 100-Amp electrical panel in the U.S. ranges from $900. to $2800. including parts and labor - not significant as a portion of value of a home. Some replacement methods (steel panel enclosure reuse) may reduce that cost in some cases..
Working in a tight space, installing a higher ampacity electrical panel, or other considerations might push this cost up closer to that higher $2800. figure. The cost of replacing an FPE Stab-Lok® panel can sometimes be reduced if the electrician agrees that it is suitable to re-use the original steel panel enclosure, inserting a new bus assembly and breakers, because the labor of rerouting wires is eliminated. That option is suitable only if the service size and thus the panel enclosure size is large enough to meet modern requirements. See REPLACEMENT PANELS.
OPINION: It is unfortunate when a building seller, real estate agent, or their attorney put the safety of future occupants of a building at risk by attempting to head off negotiation on this particular defect by asserting that there is no hazard. The risks are well documented by both field reports and independent lab testing. The cost to cure this common building defect is quite small compared with the value or purchase price of almost any building. An owner or real estate agent who is informed about this safety hazard and who fails to disclose this condition to another future buyer may be liable for real estate fraud as well as for any ensuing loss.
Because the safety of the future occupants of the building as well as the building itself are at risk, the new owner should assure that the panel is replaced, regardless of who pays for it. If the building is not being sold, certainly the current owner should have this safety hazard corrected promptly.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
No FAQs have been posted for this page. Try the search box below or CONTACT US by email if you cannot find the answer you need at InspectApedia.
Questions & answers or comments about the credibility of FPE Stab-Lok® panel hazards and the need for complete panel replacement, the absence of warranty claims and replacement cost assistance, the absence of a government recall and other FPE risk assessment confusion..
Try the search box just below or if you prefer, post a question or a comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
Search the InspectApedia website
HTML Comment Box is loading comments...
Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.