Federal Pacific Electric
Circuit Breaker Panels
Pre-Purchase Home, Building, Condo, and Co-op Inspections in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Putnam, and Westchester
from Heimer Engineering℠.
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Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok circuit breakers received a lot of bad press because of their failure to meet certain Underwriter's Laboratories (UL) test requirements. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) investigated the claims, and determined that it had insufficient data to make a determination. Federal Pacific Electric (which is now out of business) acknowledged that the circuit breakers do not meet all of the UL standards, but stated that the circuit breakers would only fail under conditions considered abusive.
There are a lot of websites that talk about serious hazards associated with Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok circuit breaker panels. Many are alarmists who exaggerate the CPSC's findings. Some of the websites appear to be electricians trying to create work, while others are home inspectors who exaggerate the claims.
There has been renewed interest in the risks of Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok circuit breaker panels because of recent news reports of fires. What is not included in the news stories is a comparison with electrical fires caused by non-Federal Pacific Electric circuit breakers. Electrical fires happen every day, and they are not all caused by Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok circuit breakers. It is the history of false test reports that condemns Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok circuit breakers.
As Licensed Engineers, it is our responsibility to help protect the public. In addition, a Licensed Engineer has the responsibility not to be an alarmist or overstate a hazard. Given this need for balance, it is our recommendation that an old Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok circuit breaker panel be treated as old electric wiring.
Old circuit breaker panels in homes, buildings, condos, and co-ops are outdated by today's standards. Circuit breakers can deteriorate over time. The fact that the panel was manufactured by a Federal Pacific Electric, along with other aspects of the electrical system, should be taken into account when deciding if a circuit breaker panel needs to be replaced.
Old circuit breaker panels are
outdated by today's standards
Unfortunately, some home inspectors have decided that all Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok circuit breaker panel needs to be replaced, and have ignored other old circuit breaker panels. These home inspectors accuse the now-defunct manufacturer of these panels of wrongdoing, and recommend panel replacement based only on that accusation.
Many home inspectors fail to look at the age of the circuit breaker panel as the cause of recent fires attributed to Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok circuit breaker panels. It is vital that the age and not just the manufacturer of the circuit breaker panels be assessed in determining the risk. Be careful of any home inspector who only looks only at the manufacturer when assessing a circuit breaker panel. A hazardous condition could be missed.
Only a Licensed Electrician should open a circuit breaker panel. A Licensed Electrician can correct hazards created by opening electrical panels. A responsible Home Inspector will not open electrical panels.
Communities require electricians to be licensed, and prohibit anyone other than a Licensed Electrician from performing electrical work. (Exceptions are made for homeowners wiring their own home.)
Our Engineers determine the condition of the wiring by visual examination. The question is why do some Home Inspectors insist on opening the circuit breaker panel when it creates a hazard.
Contact Heimer Engineering℠
Heimer Engineering℠ is happy to help you. Senior Staff members are available Monday through Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM. After 5 PM, please leave a message. Messages are checked during the day on Sunday, and Sunday evening through Thursday evening. Inspections are performed seven days a week.
Heimer Engineering's℠ inspection fees are competitive with non-Engineer's fees, especially when you consider that many non-Engineers charge extra for termite inspections, swimming pools, etc.
Inspection orders are taken by senior staff members. A real estate purchase is complex and you should be able to speak with someone who can answer your inspection questions.
To set up an appointment for a pre-purchase inspection or to find out about Engineering services or expert court testimony email Info@heimer.com, text 888.769.6910, or call 800.605.1500. If no staff member is in the office, leave a message.
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Heimer Engineering℠ serves the Metro New York area, including New York City (Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Staten Island), Long Island (Nassau County, Suffolk County, and Upstate New York (Rockland County, Putnam County, and Westchester County).
In the event of a life-threatening emergency call 911. Emergency situations need to be handled by first-responders who can evacuate buildings, shut utilities off, and take other steps necessary to preserve life.
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and Code of Ethics
Our Licensed Engineers substantially adhere to the InterNACHI® Code of Ethics, to Subpart 197-4 of the State of New York Code of Ethics and Regulations for Home Inspectors, the ASHI® Standards of Practice, and the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE®) Code of Ethics. In the event of a conflict, the Licensed Engineer uses Engineering judgment to decide what standard or Engineering principle takes precedence. All State of New York Licensed Engineers are bound by New York State Education Law Article 145.
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Heimer Engineering℠ performs home inspections, building inspections, condo inspections, and co-op inspections in the State of New York. Expert witness services are provided regarding playground injuries, parking lot, walkway, and stairway slip, trip, and fall.
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