Ever run across Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) circuit breakers???

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX By The Bay

I've read and heard lots of horror stories for years about these circuit breakers and electrical panels.

One electricial even went so far as to say he delibrately tried to trip one by grounding the service wire (14 gauge romex) and the wire started melting with the breaker still not tripping!!!

Heater circuit burnup, FPE breaker failed to trip - this is not the only one we

All the data I've read about these things say they work fine "most" of the time and the only problems occur when you need them to 'trip' like during a short circuit. The failure rate at those times can be as high as 60% or more.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has tested these breakers and found them defective and not able to pass their tests.

 

Failed electrical panel box 

Federal Pacific Electric got these breakers UL (Underwriters Laboratory) approved but was later found to have rigged the certification tests during a class action lawsuit in New Jersey.

Bottom line: lots of home inspectors call these electrical panel boxes and breakers "fires waiting to happen". If you have any in your listings or homes your selling you should have a licensed and qualified electrician examine these breaker boxes to determine if they're safe.

 

Posted by

Jim Lee , REALTOR®, Certified Residential Specialist (CRS)

http://JimLee.com  RE/MAX By The Bay

150 Mirona Road, Portsmouth, NH 03801 Phone: (603) 431-1111 x3801

Visit New Hampshire Maine Real Estate.com to search homes, get Seacoast area information, and find out how great living on the New Hampshire and southern Maine Seacoast really is.

 

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Rainmaker
563,667
Cheryl Johnson
Cheryl Johnson, Bob Taylor Properties, Inc., Los Angeles, CA - Highland Park, CA

Yeah, we've run across them a number of times.  The sellers are usually completely unaware of the problem.  We usually negotiate for the seller to have the electric panel replaced before closing, or credit the buyer the amount needed to make the replacement.

We've also run into Consolidate Horizontal Furnaces.

Here's a link to a home inspector's web site that has a handy list of hazardous stuff:  http://www.homeinspections-usa.com/article/98 

Our world is a dangerous place, all right.  

September 24, 2006 03:37 PM #1
Rainer
106,804
David Eiglarsh
Eiglarsh Realty - Weston, FL
CRS
A whole new meaning to the term "hot deal!"
September 24, 2006 04:00 PM #2
Rainmaker
1,369,040
Donna Harris
Regent Property Group - Austin, TX
Realtor, CDPE & ASP - Hill Country Lakeway Austin

Those are very common in my area.  Most of them are in older homes.  Most of the buyers always use the logic that if it hasn't failed yet, it's probably one of the good ones.  I tell them it's completely up to their comfort zone and if they are ok with it and don't have it changed out, it's going to come up again when they sell it.  I've only had one seller actually replace the panel and he was able to do it for only $700 since he knew a guy.

I've had electricians look at them many times for buyers and they give their opinion so I'm not part of that decision in case something happens later.  Just like everything else, disclose disclose disclose and get paperwork to support the decision made so memories don't fail later.

September 24, 2006 04:12 PM #3
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous
Never seen one.  Just showed a house that still had a fuse box.  I'm surprised it could still get hmoeowners insurance.
September 25, 2006 04:50 PM #4
Rainer
131,525
Susan Trombley
Trombley Real Estate - Raleigh, NC
Broker/Realtor, Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, Youngsville

It is amazing how the codes change from year to year and then you can still get your CO. How does everyone in the electrical side keep up with all the new codes. Let alone the home inspection part. And then comes the opinion of how it is done right or not. Yes, this is a HOT topic.

September 25, 2006 09:09 PM #6
Rainer
131,525
Susan Trombley
Trombley Real Estate - Raleigh, NC
Broker/Realtor, Raleigh, Cary, Wake Forest, Youngsville

It is amazing how the codes change from year to year and then you can still get your CO. How does everyone in the electrical side keep up with all the new codes. Let alone the home inspection part. And then comes the opinion of how it is done right or not. Yes, this is a HOT topic.

September 25, 2006 09:09 PM #5
Ambassador
527,847
Rich Jacobson
Keller Williams West Sound Realty - Poulsbo, WA
Your Kitsap County WA Real Estate Broker

I call them "Deal Breakers!"

Rich Jacobson, www.KitsapLife.com

September 26, 2006 02:24 AM #7
Rainmaker
563,667
Cheryl Johnson
Cheryl Johnson, Bob Taylor Properties, Inc., Los Angeles, CA - Highland Park, CA
An amusing thought crossed my mind:  I'm in Los Angeles, California; and we usually negotiate for replacement of the panel.  Donna is in Texas and it sounds like there buyers usually accept the existing panel.  I wonder if that has something to do with the number of litagition lawyers in each of our respective areas?  :-)
September 26, 2006 06:28 AM #8
Rainmaker
28,349
John Anello, Stamford Area Electrician
Safe and Sound Electric LLC - Greenwich, CT
Call Safe and Sound Electric at 203-340-1149

I just replaced three Federal Pacific panels in one house in Norwalk, CT.

January 06, 2014 02:44 PM #9
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Rainmaker
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Jim Lee

Portsmouth NH Realtor, Portsmouth, NH
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