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Stab-Lok Breakers: Home Buyer Beware

As a prospective home buyer, it’s crucial to be aware of potential electrical hazards in the house you’re considering purchasing. One common issue that has been a cause of concern in the real estate industry is the Federal Pacific Stab-Lok breaker. They were widely installed in homes throughout North America from the 1950s to the 1980s. These breakers are notorious for their tendency to fail to trip, which can cause fires and other serious electrical hazards. As a prospective home buyer, it’s crucial to know if the house you’re considering has Federal Pacific Stab-Lok breakers, and if so, how easily they can be replaced.

What is a Federal Pacific Stab-Lok Circuit Breaker?

Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) is a now-defunct manufacturer of circuit breakers. One of the products that the company was known for was its Stab-Lok line of circuit breakers. However, these circuit breakers have since become a source of controversy, as many experts have raised concerns about their safety and reliability. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what the Federal Pacific Stab-Lok circuit breaker is, and why it has become a source of concern for homeowners and professionals in the electrical industry.

Why are Federal Pacific Stab-Lok breakers an issue?

So, why are Federal Pacific Stab-Lok breakers an issue? The problem lies in their design and performance. The issue with these breakers is that they have a high rate of failure to trip when they should, which means they don’t shut off power to a circuit when there’s an overload or a short circuit. This can cause the circuit to overheat and ignite a fire, putting the occupants of the home at risk. Another concern with Stab-Lok circuit breakers is that they tend to “nuisance trip.” This means that the breaker will trip even when there is not a real problem with the electrical circuit. This can be frustrating for homeowners, as it can lead to frequent power outages and the need to constantly reset the breaker.

Identifying Federal Pacific Stab-Lok Breakers?

If you’re considering purchasing a home, it’s important to know if it has Federal Pacific Stab-Lok breakers installed. You can start by looking at the electrical panel. If it has the FPE logo on it, then there’s a good chance that the home has these circuit breakers installed. However, not all FPE panels have Stab-Lok breakers, so it’s important to take a closer look. You can also look at the individual circuit breakers themselves. Federal Pacific Stab-Lok breakers have a unique design that sets them apart from other circuit breakers. They have a red strip across the toggle switch, and they’re typically thicker than other breakers. If you’re unsure whether a home has these breakers installed, you can hire a licensed electrician to conduct an inspection.

How can Federal Pacific Stab-Lok breakers be replaced?

If you’ve determined that a home has Federal Pacific Stab-Lok breakers installed, you may be wondering how easily they can be replaced. The answer is that it depends on a few factors. Replacing these circuit breakers can be a complex and time-consuming process, and it’s not something that should be attempted by a DIYer. You’ll need to hire a licensed electrician to remove the old breakers and install new ones. Additionally, you’ll need to ensure that the electrical panel is compatible with the new circuit breakers. In some cases, it may be necessary to replace the entire electrical panel. The cost of replacing Federal Pacific Stab-Lok breakers can vary depending on the size of the home and the complexity of the electrical system. However, it’s important to remember that the cost of replacing these breakers is a small price to pay for the safety of your family and your home.

Bringing it All Together

In conclusion, it cannot be overstated how important it is to be aware of Federal Pacific Stab-Lok breaker switches when considering purchasing or living in a home. These breakers, which were widely used in homes from the 1950s to the 1980s, have been shown to be unreliable and hazardous. As a responsible homeowner, it’s important to identify if these breakers are present in your electrical panel and hire a licensed electrician to replace them. Ensuring the safety of your home and family should be your top priority, and replacing any faulty or potentially dangerous electrical components is a critical step in achieving that goal.

HomeGuard Inspections™ offers home inspection and commercial property inspection services in the Salt Lake City metropolitan area from Ogden to Spanish Fork and Heber to Tooele. Contact us to request an inspection.