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Federal Pacific Circuit Breaker Panel


Homeownership comes with numerous responsibilities, one of which is ensuring the safety and functionality of your home’s electrical system. A vital component of this system is the circuit breaker panel, which is responsible for controlling the flow of electricity throughout your home. For homeowners in East Providence, Rhode Island, a common type of circuit breaker panel found in many homes is the Federal Pacific panel.

At B&K Electric, a family-owned and operated electrical business in Warwick, Rhode Island, we have been providing expert electrical services to residents and businesses in the Warwick area and greater Providence area for over seventeen years. As experienced electricians, we have encountered many different types of circuit breaker panels, including the Federal Pacific panel. In this article, we will provide a comprehensive guide on what homeowners in East Providence need to know about the Federal Pacific circuit breaker panel.

Understanding the Federal Pacific Circuit Breaker Panel

The Federal Pacific Electric Company was a manufacturer of circuit breaker panels that were widely used in residential homes from the 1950s to the 1980s. Based in New Jersey, the company produced millions of these panels, making them a popular choice among builders and contractors. However, over time, these panels have gained a questionable reputation due to safety concerns.

The main issue with Federal Pacific panels is that they have been found to have faulty breakers, which may fail to trip in the event of an overload or short circuit. This can lead to a potential fire hazard as the circuit continues to carry more electricity than it can handle.

While the exact numbers are up for debate, some studies suggest that Federal Pacific panels may have a failure rate of up to 25%. This means that one out of every four breakers in these panels may fail to function properly, putting homeowners at risk.

What to Look For in a Federal Pacific Panel

Identifying if you have a Federal Pacific panel in your home can be challenging since they can be found under various brand names. Look for the manufacturer name on the panel cover, or check the breakers for the name Federal Pacific or FPE. These panels were also often labeled as Stab-Lok or Federal Noark.

The panel itself may have a distinctive appearance, with a vertical row of breakers on the left side and a horizontal row on the right. Another identifying feature is a black and red flip switch, which is not a standard feature on most modern panels.

If you are unsure about your panel’s brand, it is best to have a licensed electrician inspect it for you. B&K Electric is a fully licensed and insured electrical company in Rhode Island, and we can help you determine if your panel is a Federal Pacific brand.

Recommendations for Homeowners With a Federal Pacific Panel

If you have a Federal Pacific panel in your home, the most recommended course of action is to have it replaced. It is not worth taking any chances with a panel that has a high failure rate and may put your home and family at risk.

However, if replacing the panel is not an option, there are some recommended steps that you can take to mitigate any potential risks:

1. Regular Maintenance

Proper maintenance can help prolong the life of your Federal Pacific panel and minimize the risk of failure. Have a licensed and experienced electrician, like B&K Electric, check the panel periodically for signs of wear and tear, loose connections, and faulty breakers.

2. Avoid Overloading the Circuits

Pay attention to how many appliances and devices you are plugging into each circuit in your home. Too many high-powered appliances and electronics connected to one circuit can cause it to overload, potentially causing the breaker to fail.

3. Upgrade to Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs)

An AFCI is a new type of circuit breaker that can detect dangerous arc faults and shut off the electricity to protect your home from fires. Installing AFCIs can add an extra level of safety to your home’s electrical system and may help mitigate any potential risks associated with a Federal Pacific panel.

At B&K Electric, we highly recommend replacing your Federal Pacific panel as soon as possible. Our team of expert electricians can help you with panel maintenance, installation, and replacement services to ensure the safety and functionality of your home’s electrical system.

To summarize

As a homeowner in East Providence, Rhode Island, it is crucial to understand the potential risks associated with a Federal Pacific circuit breaker panel. If you have one in your home, it is recommended to replace it with a modern, safer panel or take steps to minimize any potential risks. Do not delay in addressing this issue, as the safety and well-being of your home and family depend on it.


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