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Federal Pacific Panels


As a homeowner in the zip code 02906 of East Providence, Rhode Island, you know the importance of maintaining your property and keeping it in top condition. This includes ensuring all your electrical systems are functioning properly and safely. However, if your home was built between the 1950s and 1980s, there is a high chance that you have a Federal Pacific (FPE) panel installed.

While these panels were once considered reliable and commonly used in residential properties, they have since been discovered to be highly dangerous and pose a serious fire hazard. As a licensed electrician servicing residences in the Warwick and greater Providence area, B&K Electric wants to educate homeowners on the dangers of FPE panels and when to call for professional assistance.

What are Federal Pacific Panels?

In the 1950s, Federal Pacific Electric Company (FPE) became one of the leading manufacturers of electrical panels in the United States. These panels were commonly used in residential properties, and by the 1980s, it was estimated that around 28 million homes were equipped with FPE panels.

These panels were designed to distribute electricity throughout a property and to also act as safety devices by shutting off electricity in case of overloads or short circuits. However, it was discovered that FPE panels were not functioning as they should, and were posing a serious risk to homeowners.

The Dangers of Federal Pacific Panels

FPE panels are known for their poor design and manufacturing flaws, which make them highly unreliable when it comes to protecting a property from electrical hazards. The issue lies with the circuit breakers, which were found to be poorly constructed and prone to malfunctioning, leading to electrical fires.

The most concerning aspect of FPE panels is their failure rate. Independent tests have shown that up to 60% of FPE panels failed to trip when subjected to overloads or short circuits, meaning they did not cut off electricity and therefore contributed to fires in residential properties. This is a significant safety concern, as a malfunctioning circuit breaker means that there is no protection against electrical hazards in your home.

In addition to the malfunctioning of the circuit breakers, there are also issues with the bus bars, which are the metal strips that distribute electricity to the different circuits in your home. These have been found to be poorly designed and not able to handle the amount of electrical current flowing through them, leading to overheating and melting. This can result in electrical sparks and fires, causing damage to your home and putting your family at risk.

When to Call a Licensed Electrician

If you own a home with an FPE panel, it is crucial to have it inspected by a licensed electrician to determine if it is functioning properly and safely. This is not a task that can be done by someone without the proper training and expertise, as dealing with electricity is extremely dangerous and should only be handled by a professional.

Signs that your FPE panel is not functioning properly include flickering lights, frequently tripped circuit breakers, and a burning smell coming from the panel. If you notice any of these signs, it is crucial to call a licensed electrician immediately to come and inspect the panel and make any necessary repairs or replacements.

While it may be tempting to try and save money by not calling a professional, the safety of your family and your home should always be the top priority. Skilled and experienced electricians, like those at B&K Electric, have the knowledge and training needed to properly assess and fix any issues with FPE panels.

Replacing Federal Pacific Panels

In most cases, if it is discovered that you have an FPE panel in your home, it is highly recommended to have it replaced entirely. This may seem like a costly endeavor, but the danger of keeping an FPE panel far outweighs the cost of installation.

At B&K Electric, we specialize in electrical panel maintenance and installations, and can safely and efficiently replace your FPE panel with a newer and safer model. We will also make sure that all wiring and connections are up to current safety codes, giving you peace of mind knowing that your home is properly protected from electrical hazards.

When it comes to something as critical as the safety of your home and family, it is essential to have a licensed and reputable electrician perform the necessary repairs or replacements. Trust in B&K Electric to provide quality and reliable services for all your electrical needs in the Warwick and greater Providence area.

If you live in a home built between the 1950s and 1980s in East Providence, Rhode Island, there is a high chance that you have a Federal Pacific panel installed. These panels have been found to be highly dangerous and pose a serious fire hazard due to their poor design and manufacturing flaws. It is important to have your FPE panel inspected by a licensed electrician and replaced if necessary to ensure the safety of your home and family.


Federal Pacific Panels,

Electrical Hazards,

Licensed Electrician