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Federal Pacific Stab-Lok Electrical Panel

Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) is a now-defunct company that made and sold electrical panels from the 1950's through 1986. FPE was the main producer of the now-infamous Stab-Lok electrical panel. These Stab-Lok panels have been shown to be a fire hazard and they should always be replaced.


Each home should have a main electrical panel that encloses the circuit breakers (or fuses in older homes). Some houses also have subpanels. Electrical panels can be made and sold by a variety of different manufacturers. The manufacturer name is usually printed on a label on the inside of the door.


Circuit breakers are a very important part of the electrical system of the house. In the event of an overload current, the circuit breaker is designed to disconnect. Without that layer of protection, the excessive voltage could damage the appliance that is being powered. The bigger danger of not having a circuit breaker is that the branch wiring could catch fire.


Branch wiring inside the home is designed to carry a certain amount of voltage, depending on its intended use. Larger appliances require a thicker gauge (measured in AWG). Branch wiring also needs insulation to keep the electrical current contained within the wiring. When the insulation breaks down or too much current is sent through the wire, it is at risk of catching fire.


Stab-Lok breakers have had a history, since the 1980's, of failing to trip when they should. This has resulted in house fires! Three primary issues with FPE / Stab-Lok breakers are: 1. They are old and built to lesser standards and codes than more modern panels. 2. They were poorly engineered, with many unique problems not found in other panels. 3. Many of their breakers are defective, and should not have been allowed on the market. (https://codecheck.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/FPE_2012.pdf)


If your home has an electrical panel that has the Stab-Lok logo, you should contact a qualified electrician to replace the panel immediately. The cost may not be as much as you expect, but no matter what it costs it will be worth it to have a safer home. For additional information, please check the below sources or discuss with a trusted electrician.



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