Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Splashy Splashy

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Spring City/Surrounding Philadelphia area
    Posts
    3,473

    Default Splashy Splashy

    As if being a Federal Pacific panel with Stab-Loc breakers isn't bad enough, let's see what else we can do to really ramp up the hazard meter.

    Bzzzt!!!! Bzzzzzzzztt!!!!

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images
    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    richmond b.c
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: Splashy Splashy

    And the thing is right at where you get your paper towels.

    maybe this was installed before the kitchen ?


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    1,828

    Default Re: Splashy Splashy

    In the late 40's and 50's it was considered a convenience to have the panel within easy reach of a good wife washing the dishes.
    How do you think they learned to throw the toaster into the tub when Hubby was taking a bath.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,243

    Default Re: Splashy Splashy

    Don't forget, those breakers are also 'ON' in the down position ... not that it matters, it is an FPE ... needs to go anyway.

    Of course, unless the other side of that wall is suitable for installing the replacement panel flipped around and facing the other way, that is going to take some re-wiring to use that as a junction box only.

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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Burleson, Texas
    Posts
    90

    Default Re: Splashy Splashy

    Jerry could you or anyone give some info or link as to why the FPE should be replaced if it is still working as designed? Just wanting to understand. Thanks

    Dylan Whitehead

  6. #6
    Brian Thomas's Avatar
    Brian Thomas Guest

    Default Re: Splashy Splashy

    Quote Originally Posted by Dylan Whitehead View Post
    Jerry could you or anyone give some info or link as to why the FPE should be replaced if it is still working as designed? Just wanting to understand. Thanks
    Alot of things are working as designed until they fail. Unfortunately stab lok panels are known to fail more often than not deeming them very unsafe. The reason that some of them havent had any problems is they likely havent experienced any overloading and thus havent had a reason to fail.

    If an overload happens, the breakers that are designed to trip, wont trip on an FPE! This can cause overheating to the point of a possible fire. Thats why they need to be replaced. Just google federal pacific stab lok and you will find all the info you need on it.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Burleson, Texas
    Posts
    90

    Default Re: Splashy Splashy

    thank you for the referance.

    Dylan Whitehead

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,243

    Default Re: Splashy Splashy

    Quote Originally Posted by Dylan Whitehead View Post
    Jerry could you or anyone give some info or link as to why the FPE should be replaced if it is still working as designed?

    Dylan,

    First, understand that you do not know "if it is still working as designed". That takes testing beyond what most home inspectors do.

    No, I could take my voltage drop testing set up, crank up the amp draw on the circuit, and test whether or not the breaker trips, but, with FPE, the likelihood of the breaker tripping is small.

    That said, there are other problems inherent with FPE panels, first and foremost being that on many occasions the breakers fall out when you remove the cover, which means the connection of the breakers into the bus bar *is not working as designed*.

    I am sure you found this link ( Federal Pacific Electric FPE Stab-Lok Panel Circuit Breaker Hazard, Repairs, Electrical Panel Replacement Electricians Directory for Stab-Lok Repairs ) in your Google search, but here is a great link for FPE panels anyway (just in case you did not find it).

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

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Vancouver - Canada
    Posts
    221

    Default Re: Splashy Splashy

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Dylan,

    on many occasions the breakers fall out when you remove the cover, which means the connection of the breakers into the bus bar *is not working as designed*.
    .

    I have opened hundreds of FPE panels over the years, both as an electrician and then as a home inspector, and in all honesty, while I do agree that entire line is pretty low-end, only a few times have I ever seen breakers fall out of the centre buss-bar connection (and found a few more loose) and not held in tightly but I have never seen a burnt or scorched buss bar from over heating, not like the old CEB panels with the screw-down breakers becoming loose and arching / scorching the buss-bar.

    Both FPE and the local electrical authority, up here anyway, have not issued a disconnect order or a recall on these. As far as tripping as designed, I know during our electrical school classes when we did load testing on these breakers and slowly increased load over a controlled time-frame, the FPE breakers performed the worst (then anyway) and FPE did rework / replace their stab-lok breakers with a new improved version.

    So when I see an FPE panel, I include a blurb of how these panels are known to have had problems etc, but I do not write it up as a MUST remove / replace item, as long as the AHJ's are still ok with it.


  10. #10
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Splashy Splashy

    I removed a panel cover from an FPE panel about a year ago. The brekers were tight (sort off) While I was doing my inspection I kept hearing something in the home like something trying to on but kept kicking back off again. While in the front of the living room I heard a serious short happening coming from behind me. The panel was arcing in several places. That was the first and only sign of these bad panels
    I never before and have not since seen the concerns but it certainly implanted in my mind to forever on be a little more direct and blunt of the concerns with these panels.


  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,243

    Default Re: Splashy Splashy

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Klampfer View Post
    So when I see an FPE panel, I include a blurb of how these panels are known to have had problems etc, but I do not write it up as a MUST remove / replace item, as long as the AHJ's are still ok with it.
    Joe,

    As a Home Inspector, and I would think as an electrician, it is our job to advise our clients of what our knowledge is aware of, and there has been, personal experience or not, more than sufficient and adequate horror stories regarding FPE panels and breakers to warn you client of them and, *for their protection*, advise them that the panels are problematic and *should be replaced*.

    Whether or not they do replace the panels - that is up to them.

    Whether or not the AHJ still accepts them (they better, the panels have never been recalled - and I personally believe there are political reasons that never happened, can you imagine what would happen had FPE electrical panels been recalled, and houses damaged by ripping those panels out and installing new panels, which are typically larger and will not fit back in the same space, let alone all the other issues which frequently accompany FPE panels installed by the lower end electrical contractor), and whether or not some electricians still stand by them - many electricians do not, they KNOW that leaving an FPE panel could lead to fire, shock, or other problems and that they, as the last licensed man in ... will be the first name on the lawyers list of defendants. See, AHJ have a problem, they are limited by law to enforcing the code, the *minimum* code. Home inspectors do not have any law stating that they must enforce a *minimum* code, and, in fact, in states with licensing, those licensing laws simply give *minimum starting places* at which the HI must start from, and go has high as the HI wants to.

    Think of the AHJ laws as being a "maximum" speed limits and HI laws as being "minimum" speed limits.

    BIG difference.

    For an electrician, if is a personal choice, you are licensed and can replace them when you are sued. For home inspectors, though, it is the prudent choice for protecting your client, and thus you as the HI, to call for replacement.

    It is then up to your client to follow your advice, take the money and do something else, or whatever they want.

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

  12. #12
    John Steinke's Avatar
    John Steinke Guest

    Default Re: Splashy Splashy

    Opinions about good design aside, where's the violation?

    Keep in mind the time element ..... working space requirements weren't always what they are now. Many such panels were legally installed inside cabinets, and in other blocked locations.

    Ditto for the "down is off" requirement; I think that one's about 12 years old. FPE, you may notice, was also 'backwards' compared to everyone else .... their breakers were "on" when "out", where everyone else was "in."

    To illustrate the point, I have a Square D "all in one" panel that simply cannot be installed in a position where "down is off" for all the breakers. The panel was made that way. Since the code change, they have redesigned that panel.

    Even today, there is no code rule against having the panel next to a sink. (There would be working space issues with the counter, cabinet, and paper towel holder).

    Expect to see more panels in kitchens. With contemporary kitchens requiring as many as 20 circuits, it's very possible that contractors will start placing a sub-panel there.

    As for the FPE controversy .... we've been over this many times. I refuse to join the hysteria. The panels are still UL listed as to meeting minimal safety requirements; that some other designs are better is not the issue. Indeed, the same panels, and breakers, continue to be manufactured, and sold, in Canada - with their UL listing, and by a sister firm of Square D. If the brand of panel is the worst thing you found, consider the place blessed.

    Why? Because FPE means "old." Old enough that our lifestyle has changed, and we expect a lot more from the electrical in our homes. As a result, there are often all manner of expedient handyman 'improvement' made over the years. Those are the real hazards to look for.


  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,243

    Default Re: Splashy Splashy

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    Opinions about good design aside, where's the violation?

    Even today, there is no code rule against having the panel next to a sink. (There would be working space issues with the counter, cabinet, and paper towel holder).
    "where's the violation?"

    "(There would be working space issues with the counter, cabinet, and paper towel holder)"

    Right there.

    I guess you forget your other issues which are safety issues and need to be reported, WHETHER OR NOT they were acceptable at the time.

    ANY and EVERY *GOOD* and *PROFESSIONAL* electrician knows that.

    Are you a "good" and "professional" electrician?

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

  14. #14
    John Steinke's Avatar
    John Steinke Guest

    Default Re: Splashy Splashy

    I inferred, from the thread title, that the OP had a problem with the panel being close to the sink. If so ... well, his concern is misplaced. Panles are routinely, dare I say unavoidably, located near 'wet' stuff all the time. As long as you have the necessary working space, there's no code issue there. GFI requirements apply to receptacles, not panels.

    Otherwise, "safety" is a nice, fuzzy, feel-good idea that often has little substantiation. Often there are other crucial concepts in direct conflict with ones' desires .... such as the prohibition against applying todays' rules to yesterdays' actions. That I might do something different today is not relevant.

    There's another reason to make a distinction between fact and opinion: corruption. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Absent reference to a code, standard, etc .... what is there to protect one from tyranny? One cannot simply run about, pulling requirements out of thin air.


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •