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Could You Possibly Have a Fire Hazard in Your Home?

Updated on May 18, 2012
Morgue File
Morgue File | Source

There may be a fire hazard lurking in your home. The circuit breaker panel in your home could be faulty. Some years ago, in the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s, circuit breaker panels manufactured by Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) Stab-Lok panels were installed in millions of homes across the country. Since these FPE panels have been installed, many people have had fires in their homes resulting in the loss of their homes.

The purpose of the circuit breakers in your home is to trip or shut off when a circuit breaker is overloaded. The problem with these particular panels is that when the circuit breaker becomes overloaded, it may not trip/shut off potentially causing a fire in your home or worse, possible loss of life.

Many electrical companies and home inspection companies have advised homeowners who have these FPE panels installed in their homes to have them replaced as a precaution because they believe they are a fire hazard. There are also some insurance companies that will require these FPE panels to be replaced before they will insure your home.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission began an investigation regarding these FPE panels in 1980 when Reliance Electric Company, a subsidiary of Exxon Corporation and the parent to FPE notified the Commission that some of their circuit breakers did not meet the (UL) calibration test requirements, but assured the Commission that the circuit breakers were still capable of functioning properly under normal residential use. The investigation was not completed because the Commission indicated that they had a limited budget, and therefore could not complete the investigation. The Commission stated “it currently has insufficient data to accept or refute Reliance’s position.” Many companies took their own precautions by making consumers aware of the possibility of the hazard and recommending these FPE panels be replaced by homeowners. Homeowners and potential home buyers who have these panels in their homes have had to replace them at their own expense. Federal Pacific Electric is no longer in business so this leaves consumers with no recourse.

Some people may not be aware of the potential hazard they have in their home until it is too late. This is why it is advised that you should have an electrician check your circuit breaker panel to be sure your circuit breaker panel is safe and operating properly.



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