The Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok panel is known among Electricians and Home Inspectors as a serious safety hazard. We wanted you to know that this reputation is well founded and documented by industry professionals & government agencies.
To get the information necessary to write this article, we have done extensive research and made a Freedom Of Information Act request for the scientific documentation from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). It took a couple of months to get a reply, and I was surprised to see the stack of information (approximately 300 pages ) documenting the hazards with Federal Pacific equipment.
The failures documented were mostly concerning the FPE breakers failure to ‘trip’ at their rated amperage. Well documented CPSC studies show there is a failure to trip up to 60% of the time. This is a very high rate of failure, and is an unacceptable risk for any home owner.
In many cases the breakers failed to properly turn off the power during an over current condition, often resulting in overheating and complete failure of the breaker to work at all. After an over current/over heating cycle, the breakers would frequently not turn off even if the breaker was manually flipped. This occurred in many breakers tested, purchased at several different sources, and different rated amperages.
There are also reports of problems with the bus and panels arcing resulting in fires. Do not accept replacement breakers, as there are significant hazards with the bus connections also
This poses a serious electric shock and fire hazard.
The CPSC reports conclusion stated "A significant number of the breakers tested are defective and do not provide the required level of protection..." "..the breakers themselves may develop hazardous behavior in the form of severe overheating or self-incapacitation in the on condition. The high failure rate of these breakers indicates serious deficiencies in the FPE quality control procedures, their product testing, and the UL follow-up testing program. The system of checks and balances which is supposed to prevent products with these levels of defect from ever being installed in electrical systems has, in this instance failed."
If you have a Federal Pacific panel, have it replaced as soon as possible!