Federal Pacific Panels
Located in the quaint zip code of 02906 in East Providence, Rhode Island lives a homeowner who takes great pride in maintaining their residence. They have always been diligent in keeping their property in top condition, regularly inspecting their electrical systems and conducting necessary repairs. However, what many homeowners like this may not be aware of is the potential dangers posed by a specific type of electrical panel – the Federal Pacific Panel.
B&K Electric, a family-owned and operated business in Warwick, RI, has been serving the residents of Cranston, Warwick, and all of Rhode Island for over seventeen years. They specialize in electrical repairs, panel maintenance, and installation, making them the go-to electrician for the Warwick and Greater Providence area. In recent years, they have seen an increase in inquiries about the safety of Federal Pacific Panels, prompting them to share their expertise on the matter.
What are Federal Pacific Panels?
Federal Pacific Panels (FPE) were a popular brand of electrical panels installed in homes between the 1950s and 1980s. They were manufactured by Federal Pacific Electric, a now-defunct company, and were widely used in residential properties due to their affordable prices. FPE panels were also installed in commercial buildings, schools, and even military bases.
At the time, these panels were considered to be a safe and reliable option for powering homes and buildings. However, over the years, concerns have been raised about the quality and safety standards of these panels, leading to their eventual discontinuation and recall from the market.
Why are Federal Pacific Panels considered dangerous?
One of the main concerns about Federal Pacific Panels is their tendency to fail to trip a circuit breaker when overloaded, leading to a potential fire hazard. This is a result of poor manufacturing and substandard materials used to make the breakers. In fact, independent testing by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) found that up to 80% of FPE panels failed to trip during their tests.
Another issue with these panels is their design. FPE panels have a Stab-Lok design, where the circuit breakers connect to the panel through a series of connection points. These points can loosen over time, leading to a poor connection and increased risk of fire.
Furthermore, FPE panels have been known to overheat and melt, especially in properties with higher energy demands. This can cause extensive damage to the panel, wiring, and surrounding areas, resulting in costly repairs.
What are the potential risks for homeowners with Federal Pacific Panels?
The most significant risk for homeowners with FPE panels is the potential for an electrical fire. As mentioned earlier, these panels have a higher rate of failing to trip during an overload, which can lead to a fire that can quickly spread throughout the residence. This not only puts the property at risk but also the lives of the homeowners and their loved ones.
Additionally, the poor design and manufacturing of FPE panels can also lead to electrical shocks and electrocution. Loose connections and overheating can cause electricity to flow through the panel randomly, creating a shock hazard for anyone who comes into contact with it.
What should homeowners do if they have a Federal Pacific Panel?
If a homeowner suspects they have an FPE panel in their home, it is essential to have it inspected by a licensed electrician immediately. A professional electrician, like those at B&K Electric, can assess the panel’s condition and determine if it needs to be replaced.
Replacing an FPE panel is not a DIY task and should only be done by a licensed electrician. Attempting to do it yourself can result in further damage to the panel and potential electrical hazards for you and your family.
What are the alternatives to Federal Pacific Panels?
Fortunately, there are several safe and reliable alternatives to FPE panels. Many modern electrical panels, such as Square D, Siemens, and Eaton, are manufactured with higher safety standards and can handle higher energy demands. Upgrading to one of these panels can give homeowners peace of mind, knowing their electrical system is in good hands.
Ultimately, the safety of your home and family should be the top priority. If you suspect you have a Federal Pacific Panel in your home, do not wait to have it inspected and potentially replaced by a licensed electrician.
Avoid potential risks and safeguard your home and loved ones by ensuring your electrical system is up to current safety standards. Contact B&K Electric today for an inspection and upgrade to a safer electrical panel.