Federal Pacific Electric panels
Their are known issues related to the FPE brand also referred to as Stab-lock panels. These panels can be identified typically by a orange marking on the breakers. This brand lost its UL listing in the 1980’s and are no longer manufactured due to the products design problems. We are recommending replacement of these panels due to the fact that they can have issues with breakers not tripping when they are overloaded and the design of the panel itself. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued the following statement about the use of this panel type in a residential application.
They are stating that there is not enough data to make a determination about the products safety at this time. We have talked with various electrical contractors and home inspectors as well as electrical instructors about these panels and do not feel they are safe for continued use due to the problems we have seen in the field and based upon the experience with this equipment by others.
While it is not possible to get a difinative answer about the safety of this brand of panel and breakers from the CPSC, we feel this falls under the catagory of better safe than sorry.
We found the following report about FPE panels and breakers that does contain good information about the issues with this brand written by Douglas Hansen, titled FPE Hazard or Hype?
The other down side to FPE is the cost of replacement breakers when one goes bad. They are very expensive compared to the other brands that are still manufactured. It is the policy of Morningstar Electric LLC to only replace an existing breaker at the request of a client but due to the panels size and room for wiring inside the panel box, we will not add additional breakers and circuits to these panels.
Sylvania / Zinsco information coming soon.