Skip to Content
chevron-left chevron-right chevron-up chevron-right chevron-left arrow-back star phone quote checkbox-checked search wrench info shield play connection mobile coin-dollar spoon-knife ticket pushpin location gift fire feed bubbles home heart calendar price-tag credit-card clock envelop facebook instagram twitter youtube pinterest yelp google reddit linkedin envelope bbb pinterest homeadvisor angies

Federal Pacific Breakers


B&K Electric is a family-owned and operated electrical business based in Warwick, Rhode Island, just a short drive from zip code 02903 Downtown Providence. We have been proudly serving the residents of Cranston, Warwick, and all of Rhode Island for over seventeen years, specializing in electrical repair, panel maintenance, and installation. Our team of experienced electricians knows the ins and outs of all types of electrical systems, including the problematic Federal Pacific breakers.

The use of Federal Pacific breakers was widespread throughout the United States, and it is estimated that millions of them are still in use today. These breakers were manufactured by the Federal Pacific Electric Company (FPE), which was known for producing affordable and accessible electrical equipment. However, their popularity has since been overshadowed by the discovery of serious safety hazards in their products.

One of the main issues with Federal Pacific breakers is that they have a high risk of failing to trip during an overload or short circuit. This means that when these breakers are put under excessive or dangerous amounts of electricity, they do not shut off the power as they are designed to do. This can lead to overheating and ultimately result in an electrical fire, putting homeowners and their property at risk. In fact, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that these breakers may have caused up to 2,800 electrical fires, resulting in 13 deaths and over $40 million in property damage.

What makes these faulty breakers even more dangerous is that they can appear to be working properly. Unlike other brands of breakers that may trip and shut off the power when overloaded, Federal Pacific breakers may continue to operate even when they are not functioning correctly. This can give homeowners a false sense of security, making it even more difficult to detect potential hazards.

So why were these breakers so popular in the first place? For one, they were significantly cheaper than other brands of breakers on the market. In addition, they were readily available and easily accessible to both electricians and homeowners. However, the low cost and ease of access came at a steep price in terms of safety.

Furthermore, there have been allegations that FPE knew about the flaws in their breakers as early as the 1960s, but ignored or downplayed these concerns. In a study conducted by the CPSC in the 1980s, it was found that one in four tested breakers did not meet the standard requirements for safety, and up to 60% had potential safety issues. Despite these alarming findings, FPE continued to sell their breakers until the company went bankrupt in 1982.

So, what can homeowners with Federal Pacific breakers do to ensure the safety of their homes and families? The first step is to have a licensed electrician, such as the team at B&K Electric, inspect the electrical system and determine the type of breakers in use. If Federal Pacific breakers are found, it is highly recommended to have them replaced as soon as possible with a more reliable and up-to-date brand.

However, simply replacing the breakers may not be enough. The entire electrical system may need to be updated and brought up to current safety standards. This can include replacing outdated wiring and ensuring proper grounding and bonding of electrical circuits. In some cases, it may be necessary to replace the entire electrical panel, especially if it is an older model that may not be equipped to handle the electrical load of modern-day appliances and technology.

It is also important for homeowners to be proactive and stay informed about the safety of their electrical systems. Regular maintenance and inspections by a licensed electrician can help catch any potential hazards before they become major safety concerns. Additionally, keeping an eye out for warning signs such as flickering lights, tripped breakers, and burning smells can help identify potential issues with the electrical system.

While Federal Pacific breakers may have been a popular and affordable option in the past, they have proven to have serious safety concerns that should not be taken lightly. Homeowners in the 02903 zip code, as well as the wider Providence area, should take steps to have their electrical systems inspected and, if necessary, upgraded to ensure the safety and well-being of their homes and families. At B&K Electric, we are dedicated to providing top-quality electrical services and keeping our community safe from the dangers of faulty Federal Pacific breakers. Trust us to be your go-to electrician for all your residential and commercial needs in the Warwick area and beyond.


Federal Pacific breakers,

electrical safety,

residential electrical systems.