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  1. #1
    Bob Lynett's Avatar
    Bob Lynett Guest

    Default FPE and Zinsco Panels

    Hi guys,

    I read some of the threads about Zinsco and FPE panels and I am just looking for some general comments which some of you use or don't use. I would appreciate your comments so I can add some to my canned comments. I figured this would be easier than searching all the old threads and create some new discussion about these manufacturers.


    Similar Threads:
    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
    David Banks's Avatar
    David Banks Guest

    Default Re: FPE and Zinsco Panels

    FEDERAL PACIFIC SERVICE PANEL: I have observed a Federal Pacific Stab Lok service panel in the house. This panel is a latent fire hazard. It's circuit breakers may fail to trip in response to an over current or short circuit. Failure of a circuit breaker to trip can result in fire, property damage or personal injury. The panel should be replaced, and significant expense may be involved. Federal Pacific Panels: Out of fairness to all parties, it's proper to describe this as a latent hazard. The panel does not "initiate" an unsafe condition. Rather, when an unsafe condition such as a short circuit or current overload on a circuit occurs, the equipment may not provide the protection expected. The result can be an overheated wire and an electrical fire and/or personal injury. For more information go to this web site, Federal Pacific Electric FPE Stab-Lok Panel Circuit Breaker Hazard, Repairs, Electrical Panel Replacement Electricians Directory for Stab-Lok Repairs

    : A Zinsco TM or SylvaniaTM-Zinsco electrical panel is installed in this building. Serious electrical hazards may be present in the electrical panel, which could result in overheating, fire, or inability to turn off the electrical power in the home.
    : A licensed electrician who is familiar with this equipment should be called to inspect the panel for immediate fire and shock hazards, and regardless of its visually-apparent condition, this equipment should be replaced.
    : Significant expense may be involved. Additional information about these hazards is available at an independent building failures research website: Zinsco Electrical Panel and Circuit Breaker Hazards, Failures, Inspection, Detection, Repair, Replacement - Sylvania Zinsco circuit breakers and panel hazards

  3. #3
    Jon Randolph's Avatar
    Jon Randolph Guest

    Default Re: FPE and Zinsco Panels

    · Monitor, Possible Major Concern: You have a Federal Pacific electric service panel which, historically, has a possibility that the circuit breakers may not trip when their amperage rating has been greatly exceeded. Opinions about this panel vary among licensed electricians. I recommend you consult a licensed electrician for an in depth evaluation, load testing and correction if necessary.
    · Monitor, Possible Major Concern: You have a Zinsco electric service panel. This is an older panel and it is hard to find replacement breakers. This panel does however have a history of electrical arcing inside the panel. Arcing will be evident by the presence of “soot” and burned areas inside the panel. Replacement is not needed if no problem currently exists, but if a buzzing noise or smoke is ever noticed at this panel, DO NOT touch the panel but contact a licensed electrician immediately.

  4. #4
    Nolan Kienitz's Avatar
    Nolan Kienitz Guest

    Default Re: FPE and Zinsco Panels

    It would serve you well to spend some time researching and reading the historical threads that relate to FPE and Zinsco panels.

    A lot can be learned from data noted therein.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Rockwall Texas

    Default Re: FPE and Zinsco Panels

    FPE and Zinsco panels should not be "monitored". They should be replaced.

    Homeowners (most) don't monitor anything.



  6. #6
    Jeff Spencer's Avatar
    Jeff Spencer Guest

    Default Re: FPE and Zinsco Panels

    Ditto Rick's response.

    I used to recommend that breakers be removed by an electrician for a full inspection, but the quality inspectors I know (there's only 2 of them) won't touch the panels due to the liability involved in being the last one to work on them.

    If they won't work on them, and homeowners won't "monitor", there's no good alternative but to replace them.


  7. #7
    Richard Abrams's Avatar
    Richard Abrams Guest

    Cool Re: FPE and Zinsco Panels

    The best reason I know of for changing these panels is I have found that insurance companies surcharge when they know these panels are in homes that they insure.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Ormond Beach, Florida

    Default Re: FPE and Zinsco Panels

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Hurst View Post
    FPE and Zinsco panels should not be "monitored". They should be replaced.

    Homeowners (most) don't monitor anything.
    Not only that, but you just don't (should not) recommend "monitoring" a 'fire starter', not unless you are the fire department on a training drill, in which case, you monitor the test area, then see how fast you can put it out before it spreads.

    The only way to do that with those panels is to have a firefighter standing by "monitoring" the panel 24/7, with a response truck parked out front of the house. But, then, I've said similar things to clients before ...

    Not a real encouraging thought.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( )

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Tyler, TX

    Default Re: FPE and Zinsco Panels

    I agree. I don't think monitoring is a good choice here. Bruce

    Here is my FPE panel remark.

    This panel is a Federal Pacific with "Stab-Lok" breakers. These breakers have a history that includes working improperly in overloaded or fault conditions. There are some differing opinions in the information concerning these breakers. While I am not able to determine the condition of this particular system during this inspection, I would recommend the evaluation of the system by a licensed electrical contractor who has experience in older electrical equipment. With systems that are more than 30 years old it is always a good idea to have it evaluated by a licensed electrician. Please see the following websites for further information:
    Commission Closes Investigation Of FPE Circuit Breakers And Provides Safety Information For Consumers
    Federal Pacific Electric FPE Stab-Lok Panel Circuit Breaker Hazard, Repairs, Electrical Panel Replacement Electricians Directory for Stab-Lok Repairs

    Bruce Thompson, Lic. #9199
    Home Inspections in the Tyler and East Texas area

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Houston, Texas

    Default Re: FPE and Zinsco Panels

    I always recommend they be replaced. Had one Wednesday and the agent called me and said that there was nothing wrong with the panel. I just replied, I would not live in that house for fear of it burning down and am surprised it has not burned by now. Then I referred her to the web site. Her reply was if the deal goes south we will call you to inspect the next house. Some people just don't think home inspectors know what we are talking about, you have to draw them a picture.



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