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gdoucette 06-25-2010 07:19 AM

Panel cleanup
Some of you may have seen my last thread and know that my panel is a mess. I am trying to figure out whether I should clean it up or replace it. The current panel is a 200a Federal Pacific Stab-Lok. The house originally had electric heat, which has since been replaced so half of the panel contains a bunch of empty double pole 15a breakers. While the previous owners had the electric heating, they built a sunroom onto the house. It looks like, in order to add circuits for the addition, they ran a 4 fuse sub-panel off a double pole 60a breaker and placed it right beside the main panel. This subpanel handles the basement outlets and the lights and outlets in the sunroom. My first thought was, since there is lots of capacity in the main panel, I should get rid of the sub-panel (it's in terrible shape and is rusting out) and run those circuits into the main panel on new breakers. Then I starting researching and found concerns about my panel as a latent fire hazard and reports of failed breaker trips. So I'm wondering if I should just replace the whole panel. The house is going to be put on the market very soon, and I certainly don't want a deal to fall through because an inspector doesn't like the panel.

Any thoughts on which way to go? Any thought on the concerns about my panel?

bobelectric 06-25-2010 07:23 AM

A new upgraded,inspected electrical service is always a good selling point.

joed 06-25-2010 10:28 AM

It's probably a Federal Pioneer, not Federal Pacific. Federal Pacific was USA and has not been made for many years. No reason to replace it unless it is damaged. They are still making and selling those panels. A new one would probably look almost the same.

Clean up up all the wires and make it look neat. Fix any code issues and leave it. Unused breakers are not a problem. It give you spares and is the easiest way to fill the holes that would be left if you removed them.

gdoucette 06-25-2010 10:54 AM

I will double-check tonight, but I'm quite certain it is Federal Pacific. It is an older panel, maybe 30 years. I'll take a pic and post it tonight, then it will be easier for you guys to answer the barrage of questions I'm likely to have. It looks like the previous owners did some creative stuff.

Old College Try 06-25-2010 09:50 PM

10 Attachment(s)
Previous owners apparantly love to do "creative things". I'm in the process of upgrading my panel. How 'bout a little duct tape over that pinched wire... or 14 gauge wire on 20 amp brakers. How about 5 double taps when the breakers arent' rated for it. How about feeding a network of abandoned knob and tube with exposed hot wires with a feed that has 3 junction boxes buried in a wall. Hey, how about wiring a subpanel in the garage with grounds and neutrals bonded. Oh, that 40 amp double pole breaker broke? Why not just stick a screw through it? I'm sick of it. Sick I tell you! :furious:

gdoucette 06-26-2010 02:01 PM

joed, I double checked and can confirm that my panel is in fact Federal Pacific, unfortunately I forgot my camera. So does your advice remain the same.

Old College Try, I've seen some of those things ... but the knob and tube one sounds absolutely scary ... and the screw in the breaker ... OMG!

My previous owners had some black wires on the neutral bar, and white wires on the breakers, glad I didn't find out about that the hard way. When they removed the electric heat they disconnected everything at the panel but left all the wire runs intact. Anytime I go to change something, I have to figure out which wires are live and which are garbage ... I take them out as I find them, but they're everywhere.

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