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Federal Pacific Circuit Breaker Panel


Are you a homeowner in North Providence, Rhode Island, looking for a reliable electrician for your residential needs? Look no further than B&K Electric, a family-owned and operated electrical business based in Warwick, RI. With over 17 years of experience, we take pride in providing quality services to the residents of Cranston, Warwick, and all of Rhode Island. Our team of experienced electricians specializes in electrical repair, panel maintenance, and installation, making us your go-to option for all your electrical needs.

But today, we want to talk about an important aspect of your home’s electrical system – the Federal Pacific circuit breaker panel. You may have heard of this type of panel and its potential risks, but do you understand what it is and why you should consider upgrading? Let’s delve deeper into this topic and explore all the important details you need to know.

What is a Federal Pacific Circuit Breaker Panel?

A Federal Pacific circuit breaker panel, also known as FPE panel, is an electrical panel manufactured by the company Federal Pacific Electric between the 1950s and 1980s. These panels were widely used in residential homes, primarily in the US, due to their affordable price compared to other brands at that time.

The panel is the main distribution point for the electricity in your home, controlling the flow of electricity from the main line to the different circuits in your house. The Federal Pacific panels can typically be identified by their distinctive red and black labeling and the Federal Pacific Electric name on the front cover.

What Are the Potential Risks?

Though widely used in the past, Federal Pacific circuit breaker panels have since been identified as having potential hazards, making them unsafe for homes and businesses. Here are some of the major risks associated with these panels:

1. Faulty Breakers

One of the main concerns with Federal Pacific panels is their faulty breakers. The breakers are designed to trip and shut off the electricity flow when a circuit is overloaded, preventing potential fire hazards. However, studies have shown that the breakers in FPE panels may fail to trip, leaving overloaded circuits live and posing a serious risk of electrical fires.

2. Inaccurate Rating Labels

Another significant risk with these panels is the inaccurate rating labels. The National Electric Code requires that an electrical panel’s capacity should match the overall capacity of the circuits connected to it. However, it has been found that the Federal Pacific panels were inaccurately labeled, indicating a higher capacity than they can actually handle. This can result in overloaded circuits, leading to potential electrical hazards.

3. Poor Quality Components

Federal Pacific panels were also found to have poor quality components and materials, which can lead to overheating, melting, or burning of components, resulting in electrical fires. These panels were manufactured using thin and low-quality aluminum bus bars that can easily overheat when overloaded.

Why Should You Consider Upgrading?

Given the potential hazards associated with Federal Pacific circuit breaker panels, it’s advisable to consider upgrading to a safer and more reliable panel. Here are some of the reasons why you should consider upgrading:

1. Safety of Your Home

The safety of your home and your loved ones should be a top priority. By upgrading to a newer panel, you can eliminate the potential risks associated with the FPE panels, providing you with peace of mind and ensuring the safety of your home.

2. Compliance with Electrical Codes

According to the National Electric Code, all electrical components in a home must meet certain safety standards. Since Federal Pacific panels have been deemed unsafe, they do not meet these codes, and upgrading to a newer panel will ensure that your home is up-to-code.

3. Prevent Costly Repairs

Upgrading to a new panel can also save you from costly repairs in the future. In case of an electrical fire or damage to your home’s wiring due to overloaded circuits, you may have to incur significant expenses to repair the damages. Upgrading to a safer panel can prevent such incidents from occurring, saving you from potential expenses.


Federal Pacific circuit breaker panels can pose significant safety risks and should be replaced with newer, safer options. B&K Electric can help you with the upgrade process through our panel maintenance and installation services. Contact us today to ensure the safety of your home and loved ones.


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