In our last blog, we discussed some of the signs to look for if you have an older electrical panel. Our experts identified some of the most common warning signs of electrical panel failure, including but not limited to electrical arcing, frequent power surges, flickering lights, and not having enough outlets in a home. We stated that having an electrical panel older than 20 to 30 years old can be a serious electrical fire risk.
But there is one other sign of electrical panel problems that we didn’t mention, because it isn’t (necessarily) an issue with the performance of the device: in order to see if you need electrical panel service from a professional, check the name of the company who installed your panel. Look for the Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) company logo on the side of the box.
For today’s blog, we’re going to go over the different reasons that FPE electrical panels, known as “Stab-Lok” boxes, are problematic. Homeowners who have Federal Pacific Electric company panels don’t need restoration — they need immediate replacement! Here’s why:
What’s wrong with FPE Panels?
The Federal Pacific Electrical company used to be one of the most popular manufacturers of electrical panels in the U.S. Between the 1950s and the 1980s, millions of FPE brand panels were installed in American homes — and many of them are still there! At this point in time, however, it is widely recognized among electrical experts and lawmakers alike that FPE electrical panels are unsafe and likely to be defective.
Many of these electrical panels were simply not designed properly. The wiring was packed too tightly together, and other code violations made it possible for these electrical panels to trip but allow the circuit to stay on. This is a dangerous scenario for a number of reasons, but the most important is simple: if your electrical panel cannot effectively trip your circuits when they become overloaded, then your wiring is not protected in case of a power surge. Excess electricity can cause wiring to overheat and even melt.
So if you have a Stab-Lok box, your home is immediately at risk!
Here’s a summary of the history of FPE:
- 1950s-1980s– Stab-Lok boxes are installed in millions of American homes.
- 1981– By this point, multiple tests have been performed to show that FPE electrical panels are frequently defective. Each year, thousands of fires are resulting from these shoddy installations, and legislation is getting involved
- 1983– A two year investigation of FPE by the Consumer Product Safety Commission results in conclusive evidence that Stab-Lok boxes are incorrectly designed, but due to insufficient budget the product is not recalled.
- 2005– Finally, the Federal Pacific Electric company is issued a class action lawsuit. Homeowners in New Jersey are entitled to $500 worth in damages for having FPE installations in their homes.
FPE no longer exists, but many homeowners still have these devices in their houses and are unaware of the dangers! Was your electrical panel installed by the Federal Pacific Company? Do you have a Stab-Lok box in your home? Call Raynor Electric for inspection and service today — if your panel is FPE brand, it should be immediately replaced!