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Federal Pacific Breakers


As a homeowner in zip code 02905, located in the lively community of Washington Park, Providence, Rhode Island, you likely take great pride in maintaining your home. A well-cared for house not only provides shelter for you and your loved ones, but it also serves as a secure and comfortable space to build cherished memories. As a family-owned and operated electrical business based in nearby Warwick, RI, B&K Electric understands the importance of a safe and functional home. That’s why we have been proudly serving the residents of Cranston, Warwick, and all of Rhode Island for over seventeen years.

At B&K Electric, we specialize in electrical repair, panel maintenance, and installation. We understand that your home is likely your biggest investment, and we are dedicated to ensuring that your electrical system is operating at its best. Our goal is to be your go-to electrician for all your needs in the Warwick area and the greater Providence area. In this article, we will provide an in-depth guide to Federal Pacific Breakers, an essential component of a home’s electrical panel. Whether you are a new homeowner, or simply looking to educate yourself on the subject, this article will provide all the necessary information to help you understand and maintain your electrical panel.

What are Federal Pacific Breakers?

Federal Pacific Breakers, also known as FPE breakers, were once widely used in residential and commercial buildings between the 1950s and 1980s. These circuit breakers were manufactured by the Federal Pacific Electric Company and were popular due to their low cost and easy installation process. They were found in millions of homes across the United States, and even the U.S. Navy once approved them for use in their buildings and ships.

However, over the years, it was discovered that these breakers had several flaws, making them potentially dangerous and hazardous. In this article, we will discuss these issues in detail, and also provide solutions and recommendations for homeowners with Federal Pacific Breakers.

The Flaws of Federal Pacific Breakers

One of the main issues with Federal Pacific Breakers is their tendency to not trip when they should. A circuit breaker is designed to trip when there is an overload or a fault in the electrical system, thus cutting off the flow of electricity. However, FPE breakers had a tendency to not trip when there was an overload, which can put a strain on the system and ultimately lead to a dangerous situation.

Another problem with these breakers is their inability to shut off during a direct short circuit, which can potentially cause an electrical fire. According to a study by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), FPE breakers were responsible for thousands of house fires in the 1980s. Furthermore, FPE breakers also have a higher rate of arcing, which can cause significant damage to the breaker and also increases the risk of fire.

What Can You Do If You Have Federal Pacific Breakers?

If your home was built between the 1950s and 1980s, there is a chance that you have a Federal Pacific Breaker in your electrical panel. If this is the case, the best course of action is to have a licensed electrician inspect your electrical panel and determine if there are any issues. In many cases, it is recommended to replace the FPE breakers with ones from a different manufacturer.

However, it is important to note that replacing the breakers does not necessarily solve all the potential issues with FPE breakers. The underlying issues with their design and construction still remain, and there is still a risk of fire or other hazards. Therefore, it is important to have regular electrical panel maintenance and inspections to ensure the safety and functionality of your electrical system.

In addition to hiring a licensed electrician for regular inspections and maintenance, here are some other steps you can take to ensure the safety of your home’s electrical panel:

1. Be aware of the signs of a faulty breaker – If you notice flickering lights, frequently tripped breakers, or strange buzzing noises coming from your electrical panel, it could be a sign that your breakers are faulty. It is important to address these issues promptly to avoid potential hazards.

2. Do not overload your electrical system – It is important to ensure that your electrical system is not being overloaded by plugging in too many devices or appliances. This can put a strain on your breakers and increase the risk of them not tripping when needed.

3. Invest in a newer electrical panel – If you have an older home or an outdated electrical panel, it may be in your best interest to invest in a newer and safer panel. Newer panels are designed to handle the demands of modern technology and come with updated safety features.

4. Educate yourself on electrical safety – By understanding the basic principles of electrical safety, you can identify potential hazards and take steps to prevent them. B&K Electric offers educational resources for homeowners to help you understand and maintain your electrical panel.

In the end

Federal Pacific Breakers, though once popular in homes across the United States, are now known for their safety flaws and potential hazards. As a homeowner in the Warwick area and the greater Providence area, it is important to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and functionality of your home’s electrical panel. By being aware of the flaws of FPE breakers and investing in regular maintenance and inspections, you can ensure the safety and well-being of your family and your home.

B&K Electric is dedicated to providing high-quality electrical services to the residents of Rhode Island. As a family-owned and operated business, we understand the importance of a safe and comfortable home. Contact us today for all of your electrical needs, and let us help you maintain and protect your home’s electrical panel.


Federal Pacific Breakers,

Electrical Panel Maintenance,

Fire Hazards