Recently, we have been asked to bid on replacing Federal Pacific Electric “Stab-Lock” panels. In the course of the preparing the bid, the homeowners have asked for our opinion as to the degree of danger presented by FPE panels. I know that these panels are a hazard and we strongly recommend replacing them. Does anyone have any source data say from UL that we could provide homeowners so they have accurate up to date information so they can make an informed decision re replacement?
I'm getting a little weary of the anti-FPE hysteria.
The study so freely circulated on the internet was NOT supported by further CPSC studies. There was never a recall, and they never lost their UL listing. All breakers submitted to UL have to pass the same exact tests. Some may be eaasier to use, or be of better design- but they pass the same standard tests as regard "safety."
Replacement breakers are another issue. "Unique Breakkers," sold in the US, are not UL listed, and it's anyone's guess as to the meaning of the "ETL" tag on them. The ones manufactureed by Schneider for the Canadian market are, in fact, listed by UL-Canada.
For an opposing point of view regarding FPE, I suggest a search of back issues of "IAEI News." IAEI is the electrical inspectors' association- and they are no where near as concerned as some other groups.
FPE panels may not be my favcorite, but their presence is no reason to panic.
Re: Data on Hazard of FPE Panels#157705 12/25/0501:31 PM12/25/0501:31 PM
renosteinke. When I was a new helper I watched as a journeyman held a hot to ground from an FPE panel without the breaker tripping. I personally have turned them on and heard them humm and not trip till I was compelled by fear to turn the breaker off. Reciently a co-worker of my had a relay blow apart because of a short in the circuit when the FPE breaker did not clear the fault. I have held an amprobe on a circuit drawing 23 amps all day long, and the breaker never got hot enough to trip. (that one I might give you)
It is not just from reading stuff on the internet that I conclude that FPE breakers are a hazzard. It is also from experience.
Re: Data on Hazard of FPE Panels#157706 01/01/0610:47 PM01/01/0610:47 PM
I think that FPE breakers manufactured in the U.S for U.S installations are different internally ... I have NEVER heard of an FPE breaker not tripping here in Canada.. I will be the first to admit they are SLOW to trip but they do trip and no damage results... I have heard the same story from a neighbour and electrician regarding other manufacturers whereby they have had dead shorts and the breaker did no more than hum! " Fires caused because the breaker didnt trip"??? Maybe there was not enough current to actually trip the breaker?? Maybe there was arcing ( hence the manufacture and use of arc fault breakers!)...
I have seen piles of these breakers installed and I have seen them trip when required under short circuits or overloads ( at least they do here in Canada!) A.D
Re: Data on Hazard of FPE Panels#157708 01/16/0608:32 PM01/16/0608:32 PM