In the process of updating your residential electrical system? If so, an important component you will soon encounter is the Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) Panel. This component plays a major role in keeping a home safe when utilizing electricity. When the FPE panel reaches 20 years old, it is time to start contemplating an update. Fortunately, these components are not very complex or expensive. But, they must be replaced by a licensed electrician. How much does an FPE panel replacement cost? Find the answer to this question and more in the article below.
When Is The Right Time To Replace FPE Panel?
No homeowner wants to make unnecessary updates to their properties. Fortunately, it is easy to avoid these updates, especially when it involves electricity. Since the FPE panel plays a significant role in delivering electricity in a building safely, it must be replaced accordingly.
Most certified electricians agree that 20 years of service life is significant for the FPE panel. This is the ideal time to start planning the update. This will give you ample time to purchase the FPE panel, electrical breakers, and electrical wiring.
Somewhere in the 20th century, electricians began to believe older versions of the FPE panel no longer provided enough safety for homes and businesses. At this time, electricians all across the country began to prepare for future updates.
The main purpose of an FPE panel is to deliver electricity into a building safety. An FPE panel distributes electricity generated by solar panels, fossil fuels, other sources across various circuits. It also plays a role in tripping circuit breakers related to power surges and circuit overloads.
Outdated FPE Breaker Risks
Like outdated FPE panels, worn-out FPE breakers pose risks for the home’s occupants. Over the past decades, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has collected data that shows FPE breakers failing to trip during power surges, short-circuiting, and circuit overloads. The reports revealed a high number of malfunctions with FPE breakers.
The problem has been linked to a lock-up that occurs during the overload and power surge. A lock-up is described as a one-time tripping breaker. Electrical breakers are supposed to offer endless tripping capability. Unfortunately, FPE breakers have failed in this regard in the past.
Evidence collected from various studies linked FPE breaker tripping failures to more than 2,800 residential and commercial electrical fires.
Due to manufacturing defects caused by “cheap materials”, FPE breakers have failed to trip when they were supposed to.
Other issues liked to FPE breaker malfunctions include:
- Overcrowding of electrical wiring
- Arcing near or at the bus
- Malfunction in both On and Off positions
- Unexpected tripping when the front cover of the panel is lifted up or detached
- Loose connections between breaker and bus bar
Certified electricians and inspectors in the industry are recommending FPE panel and breaker updates in older buildings and homes 20 years and older.
How To Identify A FPE Panel?
FPE panels are extremely easy to identify. Regardless of your electrical experience level, you should be able to determine if your electrical panel manufacturer is Federal Pacific. FPE panels are no longer available because the Westinghouse Electric Corporation bought the company out years ago.
The easiest and quickest way to find this information is to closely example your electrical panel. FPE should be located on one of the interior or exterior panels. The company was notorious for putting its logo on the outside of the front panel.
You may also find the word “Stab-Lok” on one of the panels as well.
How Much To Replace FPE Panel?
An FPE replacement will cost anywhere between $1500 and $2000, depending on the size of your home and other factors. Requesting a free quote from a licensed electrician is the only way to get an actual price.