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You should know about Federal Pacific Breakers

A Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) circuit breaker panel with Stab-Lok circuit breakers in your home increases the likelihood that the circuit will malfunction and catch fire. You might have a Federal Pacific circuit breaker if your house was constructed between 1950 and 1990. These breakers pose a safety risk.

According to The Washington Post (5/9/2018), Federal Pacific panel breaker malfunctions are the cause of an estimated 13 deaths and 2,800 fires each year. In 1983, The Consumer Product Safety Commission investigated the Federal Pacific Panels with Stab-Lok breakers and found 51% of the breakers failed to trip when the electrical wires were moderately overloaded.

“Working in commercial electrical contracting, we don’t encounter many Federal Pacific breakers – which are far more prevalent in older residential buildings. However, when we have run across FP breakers, the defective rate is very high. These breakers do not trip at the rated amperage, which are a significant hazard and could result in damage to persons or property.  Whenever feasible, we recommend that customers make the choice to replace them with more reliable components.”

—Jimmy D. Robertson III, P.E. Director, Electrical Solutions of Oklahoma, Inc.

A class action lawsuit in 2002 developed when a New Jersey court ruled that Federal Pacific Electric falsely claimed that their breakers met specific National Electrical codes and UL safety standards (UL489) but were in fact defective. Up to one in four Stab-Lok breakers have flaws and are susceptible to electrical fire or malfunction.

 It’s crucial to replace your Federal Pacific panel or Stab-Lok breakers with a circuit breaker that complies with current safety standards. Your circuit breaker may not trip even if it has been in good working order for many years.

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