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Old 04-14-2013, 07:55 PM   #1
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Federal Pacific panel box

I have read a good deal of posts on fire pacific panels boxes. I have talked to a few local Licensed electricians and I can not seem to get a clear yes or no answer. My brother- in- law is currently a licensed electrician in another state, I called him up and said, I have a federal pacific breaker panel, should I replace it. I had to keep looking back at the screen on my phone because it got so quite I thought the call dropped. His answer was basically that I will never sell the place with it, but could leave it if I wanted to. He went on for 45 minutes about all the updates my house would need, what is required in my area. He told me I am looking at 2500 dollars to have a local guy do all the work. My question is, can I live with this panel? Should I pull the cover and post a picture? No, not going to pull a breaker to check for arcing. Also, it has the red breakers, and they are loss when you touch them. Thanks for taking the time to read a post discussed so many times before.


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Old 04-14-2013, 08:05 PM   #2
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"and they are loss when you touch them"
Is this a typo that was suppost to be the word hot?
Breakers should never be hot.


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Old 04-14-2013, 08:23 PM   #3
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I have never been in a FPE panel (I've seen 100's) that didn't have loose breakers. Is it a problem? It isn't good, that's for sure. There are MANY documented cases of these panels causing fires. I haven't seen it first hand.

If you have the money, replace it. I wouldn't want to take the chance that something MIGHT or MIGHT NOT happen.

If you don't have the money, I guess you are going to have to decide what is more important.
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Last edited by k_buz; 04-14-2013 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 04-14-2013, 08:24 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply, to be honest, I do not even want to go near this panel, I get a bad feeling around it. I had to move a fridge and wanted to hit the breaker before touching it. So I go downstairs and the breaker seems to wiggle back and forth when I flip it to the off position. Any breaker I have ever flipped was tight in the box. Not sure if they are hot to the touch.
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Old 04-14-2013, 09:12 PM   #5
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Back in the late 70's I worked in a hardware store that sold FPE panels. I was going to vocational school at the time for commercial and residential wiring. I couldn't believe the breakers were that loose. I asked the salesman at a hardware show about how loose they were and he said they were designed that was so when the heated up they got tighter on the buss.needless to say I have never installed one in 35years and have replaced a few FPE panels in my time.
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Old 04-15-2013, 09:16 AM   #6
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If you had a car that had been known to randomly explode while driving down the highway at 65mph would you put your family in it and keep driving at 63 only?

Better question, is your life, family, house and belongings worth more than the cost to replace?
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Old 04-15-2013, 09:20 AM   #7
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hows that ??
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Old 04-16-2013, 11:15 AM   #8
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About 15 years ago, the home I was renting in the San Francisco Bay Area nearly caught fire due to failure-to-trip on an F-P-E protected circuit. The primary cause of failure was a crimp splice used to join wiring in a bedroom that got loose, which then led to a greater short current once things started melting.

I'm guessing that within an hour something would have ignited and burned the house down if I wasn't at home.

My advice is to find the funds to replace it.
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Old 04-16-2013, 12:48 PM   #9
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2500 sounds a bit high.... I had a 200 amp upgrade done for just over 1000 but that varies greatly depending on your location and specific circumstances. Regardless of cost I would replace the Federal Pacific box asap. Even if that means taking a loan, make this a top priority.
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:52 PM   #10
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You need to replace this panel. DO NOT remove the cover... if the bus is damaged and breakers are loose, removing the cover could cause an arc flash. The double-pole breakers, including the mains, are known to jam internally. Once they become jammed, they not only won't trip, but they also cannot be shut off manually -- you can move the handle to the off position but the breaker is still on. Save your pennies, do whatever you have to do to raise the money to replace this panel.
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Old 04-21-2013, 07:48 PM   #11
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I vote for replacement... I got lucky...
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