Electrical panels literally fade into the wallpaper in many
homes. They are rarely noticed until there is an electrical problem,
such as a tripped breaker, or when an inspector or electrician needs
to visit the home. An electrical panel is basically the point where
all of the wiring for homes or businesses comes together at one single
point. This allows for the electricity coming from the outside to be
discontinued, via breakers, to one room or the entire dwelling. Also,
the electrical panel holds the breakers that will ‘trip’ in the case of
an overload, automatically cutting off the areas that caused the
overload. An example of this is like not being able to use your
microwave and hair dryer at the same time, because they will cause a
breaker to trip. This means that somewhere in the electrical lines
there is a problem. The breaker tripping is in effect an effort to stop
an overload of electricity, and possible fire.
Federal Pacific Electrical Company was the top manufacturer of electrical panels for 30 years, starting in the 1950s.
Panels they produced were installed in homes and businesses
all over the States, and no one knew the sleeping dragon they had
introduced into their home or place of business. Even electricians did
not understand the full dangers of the FPE panels until problems
started cropping up in spectacularly dangerous ways. Malfunctions in
FPE breakers were extremely common, and lucky home owners would catch
this problem just as it was occurring at the panel.
Rumors About FPE Panels Spread
Many rumors laced with a large grain of truth started to
circulate in the inspecting and electrician community. Some inspectors
were told not to touch an FPE panel because they were notorious for
arcing, causing electrocution that many were lucky enough to walk away
from. On the downside, the arcing also caused painful injuries, and
even death, as well. The panels would smoke, and in some cases, catch
fire. This was another deadly, frightening aspect. Home owners would go
to sleep, blissfully unaware that they may or may not wake up with
their home burning down around their ears. For home owners aware of the
dangers, but not quite willing to believe them fully, these panels
often became no touch zones, better for their electrician to tinker
with. A point of fact is that it is always safer to allow an electrician
to work on a panel box of any brand or type.
FPE Panel Dangers Still Exist in Many Older Homes
FPE dangers still exist for the homes they remain installed
in. An FPE panel may work well for years with no complications
whatsoever, but when they malfunction, the results can be terrifying.
Unchecked, with FPE breakers not doing their job, a massive surge of
electricity could infiltrate a home, until electrical wires short or
melt, generally in the walls or at the panel. What is the response time
for your fire department?
If You Have One of These Panels Have it Inspected
As stated before, while many FPE Panels continue to work with
no problem for years, it may be a good idea to talk with an electrician
about possibly changing this panel out to one that is safer, or about
inspecting its current safety. It is never wrong to overestimate the
safety of loved ones and possessions where electricity is a concern.
The dangers associated with the panels are not an event isolated to one
or two cases. Replacing an FPE Panel or having it thoroughly inspected
should be a real priority on your list. Get an opinion on yours from a
professional, licensed electrician and listen to what he or she has to
say. Do not underestimate the dangers of these panels. It may just
save your home, your possessions, and your life.
Federal Pacific Panels are hazardous
The danger is real. If you have one of these panels in your
home you need to put the safety of your family first and have it
replaced. They are a known fire hazard. They work just fine-right up
to the point where they burn your house down. We are not trying to
scare you, you just need to know the facts.
Don't take our word for it, visit the link below and see for yourself.
Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) Electrical Hazards Website:
If you would like more information about your FPE electrical
panel call and speak with our master electrician or call to schedule
an appointment to see about replacing your FPE panel.
Panel estimates are always free.
Call Nick Electric
3640 Flagstone Circle Middleton, WI 53562