Don't Get Caught Up in the Federal Pacific Debacle...
If you're involved in real estate, you probably had some dealings with the "dreaded" Federal Pacific Electric panels. Lord only knows I have. Having gone to several classes to get my CEU's, invariably the topic is brought up. Home inspectors and instructors parrot one another: fire hazard, arc welder in a box, and so on.
While there may be concerns about FPE "Stablok" breakers and panels, I have yet to see a failure. Having inspected over 5,000 electrical panels in my career, I have seen several failures in other manufacturers boxes so why aren't the tech schools and nay sayers beating the drum about the other guys?
I refuse to get caught up in the controversy. It is counter productive and a total waste of time.
First of all, Home inspectors are supposed to be non-biased. Their job is to raise red flags in a calm professional manner. I don't see how anyone can be calm and professional while clanging bell and reaching for a firehose.
Home inspectors are to educate. There are approximately 5+ million FPE panels in homes across the US and Canada. If they are so dangerous, why haven't 5+ million homes burned down? Most panel fires are caused either by loose breaker to buss connections or someone doing something stupid inside the box.
Finally, home inspectors are to recommend an action. The simple and the best solution is for the home inspector to inform your client that there is a lot of negative publicity/controversy about this product. It would be in their best interest to have a licensed electrician examine the panel. Period! This takes the monkey off everyone's back and puts it in the hands of a professional. Let the electrician make the decision not you, the agent or your home inspector...
Complete Home Inspections, Inc.
The Guys with the Hats...
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