Federal Pacific Panels are electrical panels that were designed and assembled by the Federal Pacific Electrical Company. You might also hear one referred to as a Federal Pacific Electrical breaker box in some circles. Millions of homes still have these panels, most of them installed at some point between 1950 and 1980.
You can find a Federal Pacific breaker for sale easily enough if you feel the need to replace one you already have. How might you know for sure when the time has come to replace your panel, though?
We will discuss that in detail right now.
When is a Federal Pacific Electrical Panel Unsafe?
The Federal Pacific Panel, in particular, is one that has definitely been the subject of debate over the years. Specifically, there’s been talk about how safe they are.
There is a kind of circuit breaker called a Stab-Lok that came with many of the original panels. In some cases, these breakers have failed to trip, even in situations where they very clearly should have.
That’s a fire hazard. Since the primary purpose of a circuit breaker is to trip if too much power triggers it, having one in your home that fails to do that can put your entire family in danger.
The Other Name You Might See in Your Home
You may also have a Federal Pacific Panel in your home, but you might not even realize it, even if you go down into your basement and look at the panel right now. That is because there was another subsidiary of the same company that made panels under a different name.
That name was Federal Pioneer. The Federal Pioneer Panel sold almost as well as the Federal Pacific one. It also has a Stab-Lok style of breaker that can be just as problematic, particularly if it has been in your home for many years.
Contact an Electrician and Ask Them
Most homeowners are not exactly experts on the subject of circuit breakers, fuse boxes, or electricity in general. You probably know where the fuse box is and what it’s supposed to do, but the finer points of its operation might escape you.
That’s okay. The most vital thing is that if you have an older fuse box, you should look it over and see if it has the name Federal Pacific on it. You may also check and see if it says Federal Pioneer since those ones have the same potentially problematic Stab-Lok breakers.
If you see either of those names, you can contact a qualified electrician and get them to come take a look at your fuse box. They can see how old all of the components are, and they can run some tests on them.
If they find that you have an outdated style of fuse box that might not be as effective as you’d like in an emergency, they might recommend that you make some updates or switch it out entirely. It’s well worth the price to protect your family.