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  1. #1
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    Default Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    Good morning everyone,

    My wife and I just purchased a home in Central Florida and the home inspector says that the electrical main panel is a Sylvania. When I called around for home insurance I was told that this is a fire hazard and will need to be replaced and/or our yearly premium will be significantly higher.

    Can anyone shed some light on the manufacturer of this panel from the pictures I'm attaching? The manufacturer's label is really faded, but I enhanced it a bit in Photoshop. I can't make out the manufacturer's name at the top, but it looks like it says catalog # WEQ12.

    It is fitted with Bryant (type BR, BRD, and BARD) and ITE (type QP and QT) breakers.

    Thanks, Ed

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    Last edited by Edward Sloan; 08-03-2013 at 09:00 AM. Reason: Left out information
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    Edward, the label looks like it is a "FPE" Federal Pacific, which has the same problems as Zinsco and Sylvania panels. Here is a blurb that I sometimes use to explain the problem with these panels:

    “Most breakers in a home are never called upon to trip, and the homeowner's perception is that ‘the breakers work fine.’ The same observation could generally be made if there were no breakers (or fuses) at all, just a hardwired system. In the event of an electrical malfunction, however, our safety may depend on proper operation of the circuit breakers.”

    “The presence of a Federal Pacific panel in a home should be classified as a ‘Safety Defect.’ The Federal Pacific breakers are primary safety devices of questionable operating reliability. The breaker's function is to stop certain electrical sequences that could, if allowed to proceed, lead to fire in the building. If an electrical fire hazard develops somewhere in the building, the breaker is supposed to trip and minimize the possibility of fire ignition. If the breaker is defective, fire is more likely to result.”

    “There is no question but that the Federal Pacific Stab-Lok® panels should be replaced. There is no practical and safe alternative.”
    Dr. Jesse Aronstein, BME, MSME, PhD
    Consulting Engineer Specializing in Mechanical and Materials Engineering
    In a class-action lawsuit, The New Jersey State Court confirmed that the Federal Pacific Electric Company (FPE) “violated the Consumer Fraud Act because FPE knowingly and purposefully distributed circuit breakers that were not tested to meet UL standards”

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    Based on the colored handles of the breakers I would not say that is an FPE panel or breakers.

    The label looks like it says ITE.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    Based on the colored handles of the breakers I would not say that is an FPE panel or breakers.

    The label looks like it says ITE.
    Kerning of the letters would suggest "FPE" but you might be right.

    The beatings will continue until morale has improved. mgt.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    It is a ITE Imperial Corp. model WEQ 12*, of mid 1970's vintage, since it was manufactured the company has changed names/ownership a few times, but is now Siemens.


    After Zinsco became Sylvania, they did sell panels that use the common 1" residential breakers, a lot of folks call them (the 1" style of all makes) "interchangible" ,while most do physically, one has to have the paperwork that UL has classified them to do so.

    *WEQ 12, W = 3R enclosure, EQ loadcenter, 12 spaces, main lug panel. LIST price in 1971, $38.00.


    There are issues w/ that installation, lack of a main breaker / disconnect is one.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    I'd like to thank everyone for thier insight regarding this panel. You have helped me out greatly!

    My next question: Knowing this is an ITE panel, were they ever associated with Zinsco, Sylvania, or Federal Pacific? Based on what our home inspector said on his official report, he said it was a Sylvania. Our insurance company is only going by what his report said and is charging us higher premiums or having us replace it within 30 days.

    Was this ITE panel considered a fire hazard? I am going to change it out, but don't want to be forced to do so immediately based on improper information in an inspection report.

    Thanks again. Ed


  7. #7
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    Default Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Sloan View Post
    I'd like to thank everyone for thier insight regarding this panel. You have helped me out greatly!

    My next question: Knowing this is an ITE panel, were they ever associated with Zinsco, Sylvania, or Federal Pacific? Based on what our home inspector said on his official report, he said it was a Sylvania. Our insurance company is only going by what his report said and is charging us higher premiums or having us replace it within 30 days.

    Was this ITE panel considered a fire hazard? I am going to change it out, but don't want to be forced to do so immediately based on improper information in an inspection report.

    Thanks again. Ed

    ITE was ITE Circuit Breaker Co., ITE Imperial Corp., Gould/ITE, ITE Electrical Products Div. of Siemens-Allis, Siemens ITE, & now just Siemens. ITE was & still is a one of my 2 preferred manufacturers. Siemens also bought Crouse-Hinds' loadcenter line & restored it to it's former name "Murray".

    Prior to being "Sylvania" they were Zinsco Electrical Products, after GTE bought them in 1973 they became Sylvania, then GTE sold them in the early 1980's & they became Challenger Electrical Equipment Corp., who did later buy FPE, Federal Pacific Electric, Westinghouse later bought Challenger & rebranded their breakers as Challenger, in the early 1990's Westinghouse bought the CBS TV network & decided to sell off their industrial lines, Eaton bought their electrical div. & merged it into their Cutler-Hammer subsidiary, they did sell Challenger & the Westinghouse safety switch line to T&B, Thomas & Betts, who did market it as T&B, it later went "poof" & have no idea what happened.

    The only FPE products that have a bad reputation is their StabLok loadcenters & circuit breakers, the rest seems to be fine.


    That home inspector gives ammunition to electricians who think HI's are idiots, good thing not all are. That HI needs to see a eye specialist also.


  8. #8
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    Red face Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    To me a more important question is how old is the panel? Breakers have a life expectancy like anything else and when they get old like most things they break down and are less likely to work as designed. If its more then say 20 or 25 years old in my mind, since electricity is something that is used every single day pretty much 24/7/365, why on earth would I risk saving a few thousand bucks not replacing an old outdated panel and breakers when my loved ones lives depend on it 24/7/365? I think we can all answer this question regardless to what the insurance company or anyone else says or thinks. I'm assuming its over 30 years old by the pictures and I would not think twice about updating it and all the rest of the electrical in the house that is not up to current standards but that is me and how I roll your mileage may vary!


  9. #9
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    St. Louis, Mo. area.
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    Default Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    Seeing those colored breaker handles is going to raise a red flag for most home inspectors. Sylvania did make the Zinsco panels, and they also used the Zinsco breakers in some of their other panels, so it's not just the Zinsco panels that could be suspect. Rather than trying to find some loophole that might indicate your inspector may have erred, you should consider and appreciate the fact that if he wasn't absolutely sure, he at least made the decision to try to protect you and your family by erring on the side of caution.

    If that is a 30+ year old panel, then I'd bet that some of those breakers may not have been exercised more than once or twice in those 30+ years. I'm not sure how prices compare in Florida, but depending on the size service you want installed, you can get a new service in my area for somewhere between $700 and $1,200, not the thousands of dollars someone else suggested. I would recommend that you err on the side of caution, and get that old turkey replaced with something that you know will be safe.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Starkey View Post
    To me a more important question is how old is the panel? and when they get old like most things they break down and are less likely to work as designed. If its more then say 20 or 25 years old in my mind, since electricity is something that is used every single day pretty much 24/7/365, why on earth would I risk saving a few thousand bucks not replacing an old outdated panel and breakers when my loved ones lives depend on it 24/7/365? I think we can all answer this question regardless to what the insurance company or anyone else says or thinks. I'm assuming its over 30 years old by the pictures and I would not think twice about updating it and all the rest of the electrical in the house that is not up to current standards but that is me and how I roll your mileage may vary!

    Jim,
    Since you brought up "Breakers have a life expectancy like anything else...." , do you have any source (manufacture, UL) that states a product service life for circuit breakers in residential use?

    There is testing for meeting use standards. But, I do not know of any factual statement made by a manufacture, ANSI or UL on Useful Product Life for a residential breaker.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    Thanks again folks for your responses.

    Just to clarify: I have every intention of changing out the panel ASAP. I just don't want to be forced to do so immediately based on incorrect information in an inspection report. My delemia is that I need to do this by the end of the month or my premiums go up and/or the company drops us and I have to find other coverage. We live in PA and won't move in until around the beginning of 2014. I'm making regular trips down to take care of these things.

    I appreciate the fact that someone errs on the side of safety, but to make a judgment call on a product's manufacturer when not sure isn't right. If not sure, just say so. Again, I want to change this panel out in a timely manner, upgrade it to our needs, and do so when our finances allow.

    The inspector's report clearly states that "Overall, the workmanship and layout of the breakers and wires within the circuit panel appear to be good." On the initial report submitted to us, there is no mention of a panel manufacturer. It wasn't until I requested a four-point inspection report that "Sylvania" showed up. With that said, he still stated on the 4-point, "Good overall condition at time of inspection."

    Thanks again for all your insight regarding this matter. Ed


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Chambers View Post
    Seeing those colored breaker handles is going to raise a red flag for most home inspectors. Sylvania did make the Zinsco panels, and they also used the Zinsco breakers in some of their other panels, so it's not just the Zinsco panels that could be suspect. Rather than trying to find some loophole that might indicate your inspector may have erred, you should consider and appreciate the fact that if he wasn't absolutely sure, he at least made the decision to try to protect you and your family by erring on the side of caution.
    A few manufactures have made colored breaker handles over the years that are not StabLok breakers. The inspector made a mistake.

    StabLok breakers look nothing like the breakers pictured, the have a unique flat looking handle and their handles splay out in such a manner that it is almost impossible to remove the dead front without tripping a breaker.

    Folks need to know what they are looking at before they engage their mouth or hand to write a report.

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

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Patterson View Post
    A few manufactures have made colored breaker handles over the years that are not StabLok breakers. The inspector made a mistake.
    ....
    Folks need to know what they are looking at before they engage their mouth or hand to write a report.
    Amen Scott - I recently had an inspection for a couple who had looked at another home with a different inspector. We have a lot of new "Cowboys" running around doing cheap home inspections. The joke was that the other inspector was looking at a walk-under deck and said, "Hey - want to see what termite tubes look like?" and pointed to mud dauber nests! Fortunately, the a dad was along with the kids looking at the house and new the difference.

    The above statements are expressed solely as my opinion and in all probability will conflict with someone else's.
    Stu, Fredericksburg VA

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Brooks View Post
    Amen Scott - I recently had an inspection for a couple who had looked at another home with a different inspector. We have a lot of new "Cowboys" running around doing cheap home inspections. The joke was that the other inspector was looking at a walk-under deck and said, "Hey - want to see what termite tubes look like?" and pointed to mud dauber nests! Fortunately, the a dad was along with the kids looking at the house and new the difference.

    I agree there are a lot of guys that are so clueless they are a danager to themselves not to mention the people paying for their service that is non existent.

    back to the original topic.

    It almost sounds to me like the guy hit the wrong thing when he was data filling with canned info and called it the wrong name by accident. Did he talk to you about it or did you just read it in his second report and assume it was fact?


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    Identifying stab-loc breakers is easy.... they are as ugly as their funtion.
    Unless you need more circuits and/or more capacity at this time: I would inspect the buss bars and general condition of the service conductors, and if satisfactory, install new 'correct' breakers.


  16. #16
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    Default Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    Quote Originally Posted by bob smit View Post
    Identifying stab-loc breakers is easy.... they are as ugly as their funtion.
    Unless you need more circuits and/or more capacity at this time: I would inspect the buss bars and general condition of the service conductors, and if satisfactory, install new 'correct' breakers.
    My status right now is that the inspector won't return my phone calls and my insurance agent says that any changes to his report must come from him. I can now pay an electrician to certify that the panel is an ITE, but there goes my money and he just heads on to another inspection. I'm not looking for any loophole to get around changing the panel out, I'm just looking for him to correct his report so I can do this on my own time and in my budget.

    Certified letter tomorrow to hopefully get a response in a professional manner. Thanks again, Ed


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Sloan View Post
    My status right now is that the inspector won't return my phone calls and my insurance agent says that any changes to his report must come from him. I can now pay an electrician to certify that the panel is an ITE, but there goes my money and he just heads on to another inspection. I'm not looking for any loophole to get around changing the panel out, I'm just looking for him to correct his report so I can do this on my own time and in my budget.

    Certified letter tomorrow to hopefully get a response in a professional manner. Thanks again, Ed
    The problem I see here is you paid for an inspection report for your own personal knowledge then handed it over to your insurance company at no cost to them, I will assume and now they are using it to charge you more money or make repairs. Have you considered changing insurance companies? I do it almost every year I feel no loyalty to any of them. I often warn my clients about handing their report over to anyone for free too! Seen this happen many times in the past.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Starkey View Post
    The problem I see here is you paid for an inspection report for your own personal knowledge then handed it over to your insurance company at no cost to them, I will assume and now they are using it to charge you more money or make repairs. Have you considered changing insurance companies? I do it almost every year I feel no loyalty to any of them. I often warn my clients about handing their report over to anyone for free too! Seen this happen many times in the past.
    I agree but even so, the ball is in the inspector's court. Return the call, correct the mistake, at the very least.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    I agree but even so, the ball is in the inspector's court. Return the call, correct the mistake, at the very least.
    Agreed, I would surely do it, its not that big of a deal really.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    Ed:
    Any chance there's another panel in the house?
    What part of Central Florida is the house located?

    Dom.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    Some Bryant breakers have that colored breaker handles. That what they look like to me.

    Also depending on what that is it may be missing a main disconnect (6 throw rule) and a bunch of other issues (double lugs) etc...

    I agree that most likely an ITE from the label.

    One thing I know it is not the Sylvania (Zinsco). So it was misidentified.

    Don Hester
    NCW Home Inspections, LLC
    Wa. St. Licensed H I #647, WSDA #80050, http://www.ncwhomeinspections.com

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Hester View Post
    Some Bryant breakers have that colored breaker handles. That what they look like to me.

    Also depending on what that is it may be missing a main disconnect (6 throw rule) and a bunch of other issues (double lugs) etc...

    I agree that most likely an ITE from the label.

    One thing I know it is not the Sylvania (Zinsco). So it was misidentified.
    Thanks for all the feedback guys.

    I sent my information and pictures to our insurance agent and she forwarded them to the underwriter. I'm waiting to hear their response which will be either: Don't have to change the panel at this time; drop our coverage; or raise our premiums.

    I gave up on the inspector. He texted our Real estate agent last week complaining that "I was harrassing him about this."

    FYI: The breakers in the box are all I-T-E and Bryant.

    Thanks, Ed


  23. #23
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    Default Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    I gave up on the inspector. He texted our Real estate agent last week complaining that "I was harassing him about this."


    Thanks, Ed[/QUOTE]

    Wow, that guy is a loser! You paid him for a service, he screwed up and wont step up and make it right? If your state regulates his license I would file a complaint with them. Maybe that will wake his inept butt up.

    I would also consider changing insurance companies, your not married to them right? If your a Costco member I highly recommend their insurance company, Ameriprise, they saved me a ton of money with the exact same coverage on my home and auto policy's. Good luck!


  24. #24
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    Default Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Sloan View Post
    Thanks for all the feedback guys.

    I sent my information and pictures to our insurance agent and she forwarded them to the underwriter. I'm waiting to hear their response which will be either: Don't have to change the panel at this time; drop our coverage; or raise our premiums.

    I gave up on the inspector. He texted our Real estate agent last week complaining that "I was harrassing him about this."

    FYI: The breakers in the box are all I-T-E and Bryant.

    Thanks, Ed
    Hi Ed,

    You need to file a formal complaint against this guy. You are in a licensed state(35 states license home inspectors) and he has a responsibility to you even if he thinks you are harassing him. He does not know what harassment is until the state gets involved. We need consumers like you to help clean up our profession by taking a little extra time to complain to the folks that control this persons ability to do business!
    REG - Complaint

    Last edited by Scott Patterson; 08-13-2013 at 06:42 AM.
    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Enclosed panel manufacturer???

    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Sloan View Post
    Thanks for all the feedback guys.

    I sent my information and pictures to our insurance agent and she forwarded them to the underwriter. I'm waiting to hear their response which will be either: Don't have to change the panel at this time; drop our coverage; or raise our premiums.

    I gave up on the inspector. He texted our Real estate agent last week complaining that "I was harrassing him about this."

    FYI: The breakers in the box are all I-T-E and Bryant.

    Thanks, Ed
    He deserved a bit of harassment.

    Like Scott said you should file a complaint. This is a good way for the consumer to help clean up the industry.

    I have talked to our licensing board (WA St) about these type of issues and they recommend that action (file a complaint) so they can investigate and proceed with corrective action.

    If no one says anything the inspector will get to do this to the next unsuspecting client.

    Don Hester
    NCW Home Inspections, LLC
    Wa. St. Licensed H I #647, WSDA #80050, http://www.ncwhomeinspections.com

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