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  1. #1
    Chris Skoczylas's Avatar
    Chris Skoczylas Guest

    Default FPE Stab-Lok Panel and Aluminum Wire

    I did an inspection today on a 1969 mobile home with a FPE Stab-Loc electrical panel with aluminum wiring. As I entered one of the bedrooms, I turned on the light switch by the door. It controlled one of the wall outlets. After inspecting the room, I turned the switch off and noticed it was hot to the touch. The cover screws were almost hot enough to burn you. I shut the breaker off to this room.
    I guess this is a perfect example of why we should write these panels up.

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  2. #2
    Chris Skoczylas's Avatar
    Chris Skoczylas Guest

    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok Panel and Aluminum Wire

    The home owner was there and when I showed her the hot switch she suggested that I turn off the breaker.
    What bothers me is if my client backs out of the sale, this short still needs to be fixed. The owner was moving out of state tomorrow.


  3. #3
    Joseph P. Hagarty's Avatar
    Joseph P. Hagarty Guest

    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok Panel and Aluminum Wire

    Chris,

    You are not responsible for "advice not taken".


  4. #4
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok Panel and Aluminum Wire

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Skoczylas View Post
    I guess this is a perfect example of why we should write these panels up.
    I think it has a lot more to do with the aluminum wire than the panel box.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok Panel and Aluminum Wire

    Wow, aluminum wiring, an FPE panel and a mobil home.... what a trifecta!


  6. #6
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok Panel and Aluminum Wire

    Chris,

    I hope this image don't keep you up all night worrying.

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok Panel and Aluminum Wire

    Rick,

    Usually, with mobile homes, by the time the fire department can get there, there is nothing left to spray water on ... except for smoldering embers.

    Those suckers go up FAST.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok Panel and Aluminum Wire

    Sometimes, in discussion forums, the hair-splitting gets rather silly. Other times - and this is one - it seems everyone focuses on the "mote" and misses the 'beam."

    As far as this thread is concerned, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the panel; and the brand of manufacture is irrelevant trivia.

    The switch was hot, and the breaker didn't trip? So? 20 amps will make a lot of heat. Just look at any toaster, hair dryer, or space heater. We have no reason to infer that the breaker was not operating properly.

    Nor was there any sort of 'short circuit.'

    What did exist was a high resistance connection. This could have been everything from a loose wire to a switch wearing out from old age. Perhaps the cause was the aluminum wiring; or. perhaps, the switch was not approved for use with aluminum wire. Or, again, just ordinary wear and tear.

    If it was simply an old switch, the replacing the panel and completely re-wiring the house will not make the slightest difference in the temperature of the switch.

    I'm also assuming this was an ordinary switch; a heavily loaded dimmer switch can feel 'hot' in normal operation. ("hot" and "warm" being rather subjective terms}.


  9. #9
    Frank C. Carter's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Re: FPE Stab-Lok Panel and Aluminum Wire

    I agree with your Reply!
    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    Sometimes, in discussion forums, the hair-splitting gets rather silly. Other times - and this is one - it seems everyone focuses on the "mote" and misses the 'beam."

    As far as this thread is concerned, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the panel; and the brand of manufacture is irrelevant trivia.

    The switch was hot, and the breaker didn't trip? So? 20 amps will make a lot of heat. Just look at any toaster, hair dryer, or space heater. We have no reason to infer that the breaker was not operating properly.

    Nor was there any sort of 'short circuit.'

    What did exist was a high resistance connection. This could have been everything from a loose wire to a switch wearing out from old age. Perhaps the cause was the aluminum wiring; or. perhaps, the switch was not approved for use with aluminum wire. Or, again, just ordinary wear and tear.

    If it was simply an old switch, the replacing the panel and completely re-wiring the house will not make the slightest difference in the temperature of the switch.

    I'm also assuming this was an ordinary switch; a heavily loaded dimmer switch can feel 'hot' in normal operation. ("hot" and "warm" being rather subjective terms}.



  10. #10
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok Panel and Aluminum Wire

    Frank,

    Welcome to the inspection board.

    I see you are in Orlando, and are a C. B. O., with a municipality or with a private company?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok Panel and Aluminum Wire

    If your client is buying a mobile home with aluinmum wiring and a FPE panel then they are buying a problem home. This is a bad combo in a mobile home. I hope you told them so!


  12. #12
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok Panel and Aluminum Wire

    Just being a 38 year old manufactured home and it is still standing is the amazing part. Add in the FPE and aluminum wire and Ripley's might want to talk with the owner!

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  13. #13
    Chip Nai's Avatar
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok Panel and Aluminum Wire

    Chris, I am just a little curious about your recommendations. Did you advise that the FPE panel be changed-out to a known reliable panel, and did you check the electrical devices to determine if they are Aluminum compatible (or advise that they be checked by an electrician for such)??? Just curious.


  14. #14
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok Panel and Aluminum Wire

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip Nai View Post
    Did you advise that the FPE panel be changed-out to a known reliable panel,
    I would change the wording of that from "to a know reliable panel" to "from a known problematic panel to a new panel'.

    I would hate to say "known reliable" than have the replacement panel be defective and cause problems.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 07-29-2007 at 07:55 AM.
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  15. #15
    Richard Rushing's Avatar
    Richard Rushing Guest

    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok Panel and Aluminum Wire

    Boy... now, you are talking the difference between an RCH and a regular old black one.

    RR


  16. #16
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok Panel and Aluminum Wire

    Tough call whether to turn a breaker off or not. Personally, I just tell the agents to tell seller to get electrician ASAP.

    BTW: Does anyone know or heard of if insurance companies have issues with FPEs? Do you tell your client they might?
    First off, just because a switch "feels" hot doesn't mean there is something wrong with it. This is another use for that laser thermometer! If the switch was say, 150 degrees, I would say you have a problem.

    Next up, the insurance issue. While at my wifes 20 year class reunion, I was talking to an Allstate agent. I asked her about aluminum wiring. She said "We don't insure any home with aluminum wiring or fuses". I also spoke with a State Farm agent a while back and they don't either. Of course, neither one of them had heard about FPE panels, but they know now!


    I would change the wording of that from "to a know reliable panel" to "from a known problematic panel to a new panel'.

    I would hate to say "known reliable" than have the replacement panel be defective and cause problems.
    I would just say "recommend replacement of the service panel" and leave it at that.

    Eric Van De Ven Magnum Inspections Inc. (772) 214-9929
    www.magnuminspections.com
    I still get paid to be suspicious when I got nothing to be suspicious about!

  17. #17
    Chris Skoczylas's Avatar
    Chris Skoczylas Guest

    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok Panel and Aluminum Wire

    I did a search of past posts on FPE panels and wrote a paragraph in my report about their high failure rate. I also explained the problems with aluminum wire. These were just a few of many problems with the homes electrical system. I recomended further evaluation with remedy as necessary by a licensed electrical contractor familiar with these issues.


  18. #18
    Frank C. Carter's Avatar
    Frank C. Carter Guest

    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok Panel and Aluminum Wire

    mr. peck,
    thanks for the welcome. working for a muni-support frim. sorry i missed your reply till now. do not know how to use this format well but am lernin.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok Panel and Aluminum Wire

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank C. Carter View Post
    do not know how to use this format well but am lernin.

    "but am lernin"?

    What Department in Orlando do you work for?


  20. #20
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok Panel and Aluminum Wire

    Hey, if there's a green tag it must be ok.

    This one is twice OK!

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  21. #21
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    Default Re: FPE Stab-Lok Panel and Aluminum Wire

    Quote Originally Posted by Frank C. Carter View Post
    working for a muni-support frim.
    Which one?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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