If your home was built between 1950 and 1990, it could have a hidden hazard you may not even be aware of. Federal Pacific Electric was a manufacturer of electrical breaker panels that are in many homes built during that time period. The problem with them is that the breakers designed for use in the boxes have a high fail rate, which has led to hundreds of house fires nationwide. The problem is, they may appear to work fine for years, but can fail at any given time without warning.
There is a long, sorted history of the failings, litigation and multiple groups’ attempts at recalling, testing and letting the public know of the dangers. As far back as 1980, there was a known problem the company was addressing regarding the breakers. In 1983, the Consumer Product Safety Commission finished a two year investigation into the matter, concluding that a recall was nearly impossible since the boxes had been installed over decades in hundreds of thousands of homes. A New Jersey class action lawsuit even determined that FPE had falsified testing for years. Facing a huge recall, the company instead filed for bankruptcy. Unfortunately, many builders continued to install the faulty systems that were still in stock.
Local building codes have outlawed installing the panels in new homes. Most codes do not even allow adding breakers to the existing boxes, instead requiring an additional breaker box for higher amperage circuits such as appliances.
In the past few years, many insurance carriers have begun declining coverage of homes with Federal Pacific panels. Many title companies are even requiring that they be replaced prior to sale. There is even talk about the legalities of dropping existing insurance policies or declining renewals where FPE boxes are still in use.
The solution for years had been to replace the entire breaker panel. This can be expensive, intrusive and create additional expenses related to wiring that is no longer up to code. Many full panel switchovers will require drywall, or additional work after the main wiring is done, adding to the expense.
Today, we now have a simple solution that is cheaper, quicker and less hassle than before. We can now replace the breakers and internal components in the panel without ripping up the wall, or exposing any of the original wiring. It can be done in just a few hours and for hundreds less than before.
Contact us for more information about replacing your Federal Pacific breaker panel.