Circuit Breakers Defined
FPE Circuit Breakers
The problem with FPE Stab-Lok circuit breakers is that when an unsafe condition, such as an overload or short circuit occurs, the FPE breakers fails to “trip” which is what a circuit breaker is designed to do in an electrical system.
Federal Pacific Hazards
This hazard worsens for double pole breakers. Double pole breakers are used on higher load circuits, such as for a clothes dryer. Under certain conditions it is possible for one leg of these circuits to attempt to trip the breaker, resulting in a jammed breaker which at minimum will afterward not trip under any load condition, or worse yet cause a high risk failure.
The FPE Dilemma
Although documentation of persistent hazards, and real life loss exist, there are still individuals that chose to ignore the warning signs. For example, some people try assuming a position that the “since the home has not burned to the ground in the last 25 years, how could someone predict that it will”. Well, despite what some people postulate even with proof of the contrary, that FPE panels are hazards, this still can be a bone of contention. At Cooper Electric, we want our customers to be aware of any existing hazards.
FPE panels were popularly used in home construction in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has deemed them prone to failures, but has not recalled them. However, FPE had their UL Listings revoked in the 1980s.
Information on FPE Stab-Lok Panels
For additional information on Federal Pacific FPE Hazards
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