Federal Pacific Panels – What’s the deal?

We receive many questions from Realtors and clients alike about Federal Pacific Panels. Are they an issue for home buyers? What do we notate about them? Do they have a higher failure rate? Should they be replaced?

If you haven’t come across a Federal Pacific Brand breaker panel, above is a great example of what to look for. An orange or red tip on the breaker switch is the most obvious identification. In addition, somewhere on the panel cover it should state ‘Federal Pacific’ and ‘Stab-lock’. These panels are no longer in production and there are varying opinions on whether they are a safety concern or not.

Regardless of how an inspector feels about the safety and function of the panels, we must notate that they are thought to have higher failure rates for tripping under overload conditions. The main reason is because the Stab-lock design had lost its UL Safety Rating many years ago. We would not be doing our job if we didn’t bring that to a home buyers attention. At the end of the day, some electricians will insist they should be replaced while others feel they pose no greater threat than many other older panels. Hopefully this information helps in the education process of these panels and as always we are happy any questions you may have!

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