Millions of American homes were built with defective circuit breakers that pose a fire hazard. The problem with Federal Pacific Electric “Stab-Lok” type circuit breakers has been known for decades, but the CPSC never issued a recall.
Now it turns out that Stab-Lok breakers made by other brands could also be defective. Circuit breakers are supposed to trip —or shut off— when electrical wires are overloaded, so those wires don’t heat up and cause a fire. But in tests of the FPE Stab-Lok breakers, more than half of them failed to trip and tests of other brands have shown similar fail-to-trip problems
The original FPE breakers were installed in homes from 1960 to about 1985 and the successor brands are still being installed today. What to do? Take a look at your breaker box TODAY and if it says “Federal pacific” or “FPE” or Stab-Lok” on it, home inspectors recommend getting the entire breaker box replaced.
I have linked you to more information —and photos of Stab-Lok breaker boxes below.
My Washington Post story about Stab-Lok breaker defects: www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/home/despite-previous-safety-concerns-this-circuit-breaker-is-still-in-homes/2018/05/08/8927af86-4ef9-11e8-b725-92c89fe3ca4c_story.html?utm_term=.ee06dd6fedfe
Instructions and Photos for identifying FPE and Stab-Lok breakers:
History of FPE Stab-Lok Breaker Problems by an independent researcher: www.fpe-info.org/Hazardous%20FPE%20171110.pdf