1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Federal Pacific Circuit Breaker Hazards

Discussion in 'The OT' started by jimmyv2000, May 10, 2012.

  1. jimmyv2000

    jimmyv2000 Hall Of Fame

    1,015
    0
    Feb 15, 2007
    Manchester NH
  2. runner861

    runner861 Icon

    859
    0
    Mar 20, 2010
    This is exactly what I have heard about Federal Pacific. They do not shut the power off when they are supposed to.

    Can anyone give any information about Zinsco breakers? I have heard conflicting information.
     
  3. Cholly

    Cholly Old Guys Rule! DBSTalk Club

    4,936
    54
    Mar 22, 2004
    Indian...
    Thanks for the post, Jimmy! My son in Texas has a Federal Pacific panel and breakers. He was advised by an electrician to replace it a few years ago since FPE is no longer in business and a few of the ganged breakers were ganged together using wire since no bridges were available. I sent him a link to the article.
     
  4. harsh

    harsh Beware the Attack Basset

    21,192
    183
    Jun 14, 2003
    Salem, OR
    It is surely easier to go with a brand that you can readily get parts for. I'd suggest Siemens or SquareD as they stock both brands at the popular nationwide home stores.
     
  5. photostudent

    photostudent Godfather

    298
    2
    Nov 8, 2007
    I went to change the plug on my daughter's dryer. The breaker was tripped but luckily I checked and the plug was still live. When I looked online I found out about these. It ended up costing $700 for a new breaker box.
     
  6. Mark Holtz

    Mark Holtz Day Sleeper DBSTalk Club

    10,514
    88
    Mar 23, 2002
    Sacramento, CA
  7. Cholly

    Cholly Old Guys Rule! DBSTalk Club

    4,936
    54
    Mar 22, 2004
    Indian...
    The problem with the All About Homes article is that it's dated 2002 and the article in the OP is from this year. The first home I owned had Federal Pacific breaker, as did all the homes in the subdivision -- all built by the same builder and using the same electrical contractor.. I hadn't heard about any problems with those installations.
    As I said, I emailed the link to my son. He wrote me back saying the main reason he hadn't done anything to replace the breakers and box was the estimate that was given at the time -- $5000.:eek2:
     
  8. scooper

    scooper Hall Of Fame

    6,320
    38
    Apr 22, 2002
    Youngsville NC
    That's crazy out of line - what were they planning on doing - rewiring the whole house ?
     
  9. Wire Nut

    Wire Nut Legend

    171
    0
    Apr 6, 2012
    The high cost of breaker panel replacement is mostly due to insurance/frivolous lawsuits. So many things to look for, such as aluminum branch circuit conductors, overloaded knob and tube systems, absence of grounding conductors, etc. If a licensed contractor touches your electrical system for whatever reason, and there is a fire afterwards, the installing electrician and the contractor are responsible for all damages including manslaughter charges if someone dies.
    This is serious stuff, and comes with a serious price tag for a reason. Electricians are revered like doctors in some parts of the world and considering this the cost of a service call is minimal. 4 years of OTJ training and school are required to get an electrician's license in most states. FPE breakers and aluminum branch circuit conductors should never have been installed in the first place and now we're starting to see the consequences. Can you put a price tag on safety?
    Federal Pacific breakers have been a known issue for some years, a competent professional will warn you of the danger if they are found. Please hire only licensed contractors.
     
  10. Nick

    Nick Retired, part-time PITA DBSTalk Club

    21,881
    196
    Apr 23, 2002
    The...
    New home (2008), Cutler-Hammer service entrance.
     
  11. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

    3,789
    108
    Nov 20, 2004
    College...
    We have Wadsworth circuit breakers, which are no longer available new since they went bankrupt in 1990, and the landlord is too cheap to upgrade the system. I can wedge Connecticut Electric breakers onto their buss blades, but then I can't re-install the panel cover because they are a little larger.

    I did a slick job of steering the town inspector away from the box for the last two annual inspections, but I think it is time for me to reconsider the issue of to whom I owe my loyalty.
     
  12. Nick

    Nick Retired, part-time PITA DBSTalk Club

    21,881
    196
    Apr 23, 2002
    The...
    Mike, "To thine own self be true."
     
  13. Cholly

    Cholly Old Guys Rule! DBSTalk Club

    4,936
    54
    Mar 22, 2004
    Indian...
    The house has two breaker boxes - one inside with what seems like 30 to 40 branches and one outside with main breaker and breakers for two A/C units and an inground pool (light and filter). Both boxes have FPE breakers, so would have to be replaced.
     
  14. scooper

    scooper Hall Of Fame

    6,320
    38
    Apr 22, 2002
    Youngsville NC
    Quite right - from another board I hang out on with pro electricians, their "normal" for a panel swap out should be around $750 - $1000 / panel - and at least one of them is in NYC. I think you're getting quoted such a high figure because they simply don't want to do it. Even at that - I'd consider $1500 per panel pretty reasonable (compared to "burning down the house").

    Good luck.
     
  15. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

    27,292
    556
    Feb 22, 2007
    Piscataway, NJ
    You should never force circuit breakers into panels. That's just asking for trouble. The one truly reliable CB, in my opinion, is Square D. You can do just about anything to stop them from tripping and they always trip or fail "open". Expensive, but really reliable.

    For larger breakers or MCCs, Allen Bradley is the preferred vendor, if you can afford their products.

    You'll note both manufacturer's products are not cheap, but are worth the money. If money's tight, GE makes decent breakers.

    Rich
     
  16. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

    27,292
    556
    Feb 22, 2007
    Piscataway, NJ
    I just had a 200A CH panel installed. Replaced an old CH panel that was way too small. Don't really need a 200A service, but it's a good selling point when it's time to sell the house. Same ugly color scheme as the old panel, tho.

    Rich
     
  17. AntAltMike

    AntAltMike Hall Of Fame

    3,789
    108
    Nov 20, 2004
    College...
    But the problem with these new fangled "breakers" is that there's no good place to put the penny...
     
  18. Wire Nut

    Wire Nut Legend

    171
    0
    Apr 6, 2012
    Lol pennies in plug fuse bases- Been there seen that. Also copper plumbing pipe or pieces of buss bar jammed into utility meter sockets, some people are extra anxious to meet their maker...
     
  19. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

    27,292
    556
    Feb 22, 2007
    Piscataway, NJ
    Yeah, remember that? Always wondered how many homes burned down because of that.

    Seriously, you should do something about that breaker panel. There must be CBs that will fit. Must be a conversion chart on the Net somewhere.

    Rich
     
  20. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

    27,292
    556
    Feb 22, 2007
    Piscataway, NJ
    You ought to see what industrial shift electricians do to get thru the night. Anything to keep the processes running. Damn near got killed a few times because of their practices.

    Rich
     

Share This Page