FPE Stab-Lok (R) Circuit Breakers Fail to Trip!

High failure rate: the central safety defect in FPE Stab-Lok (R) electrical equipment is that FPE Stab-Lok(R) circuit breakers fail to trip under overload or short-circuit conditions, at a failure rate much higher than comparable equipment made by other producers. This failure to trip occurs up to 80% of the time when the breakers are called-on to trip, depending on the individual breaker type and ampacity. The usual industry rate of failure of a circuit breaker to trip in response to an over current or short circuit or short circuit is much less than 1%.

Risk of fire or injury: When an overload or short circuit occurs in an electrical device, say an electric clothes dryer, the circuit supplying electricity to the devise is supposed to be interrupted, electrical power cut off, by either a fuse or a circuit breaker This interruption of electrical power is intended to minimize the resulting fire hazard of electrical overloads or short circuits.

A circuit breaker that fails to trip is unsafe, fails to protect the electrical circuit and the
building.

An FPE Stab-Lok Electrical Panel Should Be Replaced, not “Inspected by an
Electrician” and not “Tested”

Having the FPE Stab-Lok panel evaluated by an electrician is unfortunately of absolutely of no value. A visual inspection can not predict whether a circuit breaker is going to jam on the next occurrence of an overcurrent or short circuit. While a visual might pick up evidence of a previously burned circuit breaker or panel bus connection, the absence of such evidence is not any assurance whatsoever that the panel is safe.

Having the FPE Stab-Lok panel “tested” by an electrician is dangerous. For example, placing an overcurrent on an electrical circuit in the building could cause a fire to occur. Further, placing an over current on a circuit “protected” by an FPE Stab-Lok circuit breaker may actually increase the chances that the circuit breaker will fail to trip in the future, even if it appears to work when tested. Aronsteinʼs research showed a dramatic increase in the jam-up and failure rate in these circuit breakers after they had been exposed to a first “event” such as an over-current.

HOW DID THESE UNSAFE FPE STAB-LOK(R) CIRCUIT BREAKERS GET INTO HOMES?

“In a class-action lawsuit against FPE/Reliance in new Jersey, the Court found that Federal Pacific Electric Co. (FPE) committed fraud by representing that their FPE Stab-Lok(R) circuit breakers met the applicable (UL) standard test requirements when in fact they did not. The Court’s finding of fraud, published in 2005, indicates that FPE cheated
on the test that were required to obtain UL listings.

ELECTRICAL PANEL REPLACEMENT COST TYPICAL COST OF THE TRADITIONAL FPE ELECTRICAL PANEL REPLACEMENT

Quotes From Electrical Contractors on Electric Panel Replacement.
Quotes from electrical contractors on panel replacement by installing a complete, new, electrical panel, can be expected to vary by area of the country, hardware needed, replacement panel size in ampacity and number of circuits, accessibility to perform the work, and other factors that affect labor or materials. That said, weʼve heard panel replacement costs ranging from $1,200 to $4,000.

We have provided replacement panels in the central FL area for over 10 years. In most Residence the cost has ranged from $1100 to $1500 for residential panel replacement. The main service upgrade to the Residence. On the outside of the house is around $1500 price range. These prices are inclusive of parts, labor and permitting.

In most cases the inside panel is the problem! Besides FPE panels, Zinsco panels and Breakers are also considered a problem in reliability. It has also been recommended these panels be changed.

Factors Affecting the Cost of an Electrical Panel Replacement:

  • Area of the country: prevailing wages and other costs for electricians vary by area of the country as well as city, town or rual rates.
  • Electrical Work Permits and Electrician Licensing Fees required vary by municipality as do the fees that must be paid for those permissions to install an new electrical panel.
  • Amount of labor required to remove the old panel: this may vary widely depending on where and how the old electrical panel was installed, the amount of demolition, the necessity to perform cosmetic repairs to a surrounding wall or other surface, and even the working space to access the old panel.
  • Condition of the existing electrical wiring or its insulation: may affect panel replacement cost. Copper in electrical wiring does not deteriorate with mere age (contrary to what a New Paltz NY contractor told one of our clients). But the wire insulation may be damaged and unsafe from age, or from overheating. (Overheating a wire, unlike mere age, can also damage the copper wire itself). Damaged electrical wires may have to be replaced. Replacement does not necessarily mean that the entire circuit needs to be replaced. Often overheating occurs locally, such as close to a connection or in a light fixture. The electrician may be able to cut back the damaged wiring, install a junction box, and extend the old circuit to a new electrical panel.
  • Obsolete electrical wiring such as knob and tube wiring does not necessarily have to be replaced (by code) buy may be damaged, modified, or otherwise unsafe. Since a traditional knob and tube electrical circuit lacks a ground wire, these circuits should be upgraded to new wire whenever possible.
  • Physical size of the old electrical panel may be too small to preclude its re-use with a panel retrofit kit, so the entire box needs to be replaced.
  • Short electrical wires in the old panel may make it difficult or impossible to connect the existing wires to breakers in a new, physically larger electrical panel. Extensions, junction boxes, or a retrofit panel kit may be needed. We discussed this concern.
  • Other new electrical work: may end up being part of your project. Since itʼs going to cost just to have your electrician walk in the door to do any job, it is often more economical to batch together multiple electrical tasks into one larger project. Discuss with your electrician other electrical improvements such as adding circuits, installing grounded electrical receptacles, adding a switch youʼve always wanted, and other improvements that may be less costly when added to the electrical panel replacement project.
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