The Federal Pacific Panel, or otherwise named FPE (Federal Pacific Electric), is no stranger to insurance companies. All home insurance companies are going to require you to replace this panel box, but why? What is the source of the problem? And how much is it to replace the electrical panel?
The FPE panel, or also known as Stab-Lok, was installed between the 1950’s and the 1980’s. A typical electrical panel functions by providing electricity to the bus bars (metal bars of electricity), the circuit breakers are attached to these bus bars, and the circuit breakers are responsible for shutting off power to parts of the home during overloading or maintenance.
Issues with Federal Pacific Panels
The issues of FPE panels are as follows:
- Breakers could still have electricity flowing when turned off
- Loose connections between breakers & bus bars
- Poor Design & Materials
- Do not meet today’s standards
- Caught cheating on Underwriter Laboratories (UL testing).
FPE or Stab-Lok panels were investigated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. During the investigation, they concluded that the materials used for the panels were inadequate and could lead to fire hazards. Unfortunately, the commission ran out of funds to continue the investigation which would have ended in a recall.
Take a look at this photo below of an FPE panel with a scorch mark in the middle
Federal Pacific Electric Company (Stab-Lok) Today
Today there are still millions of active FPE electrical panels in use. They are typically only replaced during the inspection period of a home sale due to the limited consumer awareness. Therefore, it is quite common for a home inspector to call out these panels as needing replacement.
Due to the several hazards mentioned above, it is practically impossible to receive homeowner’s insurance with an FPE panel. In Florida, homes older than 30 years old are required to get a four-point inspection for insurance which will report the FPE panels.
Identifying an FPE or Stab-Lok panel
You can identify a Federal Pacific Panel by looking for the following:
- Red Tipped Breakers
- The lettering “FPE”
- The wordage “Federal Pacific Electric Company”
- The wordage “Stab-Lok”
In most cases, they will look the same as the picture for this blog.
Cost of Replacement
To replace an electrical panel in Florida is typically around $1,500. Be sure to talk with an inspector or electrician to ensure your other electrical panels do not need replacement, repairs, or updating.
Here is a great PDF document to learn more about FPE panels and also another blog post on FPE.
Have more questions? Leave a reply below!