The Dangers of a Federal Pacific Electrical Panel

May 02, 2023

Millions of American homes have circuit breaker panels from Federal Pacific. If your home was built from 1950 to 1990, it likely has something from this company in its electrical system. While it’s not illegal to have products from this company in your home, you should know about the dangers of a Federal Pacific electrical panel so you can make the proper adjustments for your safety.

What Is Federal Pacific?

The Federal Pacific Electrical Company was once a go-to name in home construction. Their products were affordable and seemingly reliable. Federal Pacific made a name for itself with the classic Stab-Lok breakers, which are still in millions of homes to this day.

However, people eventually discovered that Stab-Lok breakers and other Federal Pacific products were unreliable and dangerous. Federal Pacific took a heavy hit when it was involved in a class-action lawsuit in 2005, when courts revealed it was willingly selling unsafe products. While the company is no longer around, its breakers and electrical panels exist in millions of homes.

What Are the Dangers?

One of the most prominent dangers of a Federal Pacific electrical panel is that the Stab-Lok breakers are prone to overheating and malfunctions. Current estimates predict that faulty circuits from a Federal Pacific panel are responsible for nearly 3,000 residential electrical fires every year.

How To Know if You Have a Federal Pacific Panel

There are multiple ways to check if your home has an electrical panel from Federal Pacific. First, determine if your home was built between 1950 and 1990. If so, inspect your circuit breaker for any of the following signs:

  • An FPE logo
  • The words “Federal Pacific”
  • A sticker indicating it's from the Federal Pacific Electrical Company
  • The words "Stab-Lok" on the breakers

If you don't see any indicator of the panel type, it may be a good idea to have an electrician confirm it for you.

What if I Have a Federal Pacific Panel?

If you have a Federal Pacific electrical panel in your home, the best move is to hire an electrician and have them replace it. You may save some money by only replacing the breakers, but that may not mitigate the safety hazard entirely. Speak with a certified professional and determine the best course of action for keeping your home safe.

If you need a residential electrician in the San Diego area, Anson Electric is here for you. With over 10 years of experience, we offer safe, reliable, and affordable home electrical work. Contact us anytime to discuss possible services or to schedule an appointment.

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