Steven L. Smith, Bellingham, WA Home Inspector (King of the House)

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Federal Pacific Electric Panel (King of the House) Bellingham WA Home Inspector

The most frequently seen older electric panel of questionable merit, here in Bellingham WA and Whatcom County, would be Zinsco-Sylvania brand. More often than not, when I recommend replacing an electric panel, it will be Zinsco brand.

However, maybe once every two or three years, I run into a  "Federal Pacific Electric" service panel with "Stab-Lok" circuit breakers. These old panels are controversial: The manufacturer and the Consumer Product Safety Commission wrestled safety issues with this panel for 30 years. The manufacturer aggressively argued that the panels were safe. Then, only a few years back, the Consumer Product Safety Commission threw up their hands, gave up the investigation, because the agency claimed they could not determine the risk factor that these panels might present to consumers. So, in effect, they said that they do not know if the panels are unsafe or not. It took 30 years to come up with that pearl of wisdom for consumers.

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From the standpoint of a home inspector, and in light of many serious and documented problems that have been attributed to these panels over the years, including breakers that malfunction or fall out if covers are removed, I always recommend having an electrician further assess Federal Pacific panels as to safety and functionality. Usually, electricians replace the panels.

   

Steven L. Smith

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Comment balloon 6 commentsSteven L. Smith • July 27 2014 07:42AM
Federal Pacific Electric Panel (King of the House) Bellingham WA Home…
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The most frequently seen older electric panel of questionable merit, here in Bellingham WA and Whatcom County, would be Zinsco-Sylvania brand. More often than not, when I recommend replacing an electric panel, it will be Zinsco brand. However,… more
Bee-Ware Everyday
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I was out and about in Bellingham just the other day. A home inspector can run into unexpected surprises at unusual places. As a home inspector, diligent and all, I try to inform a prospective purchaser of the presence of a multiple layer roof. We… more