What’s Wrong With This Circuit Breaker Panel?

J Philip Faranda February 7, 2011

I seldom discuss inspection matters, but this is an important issue that is especially common in Westchester, where we have so many older homes.

There is a problem with this circuit panel. It isn't the age or amperage. But it is a problem and it will need to be replaced. Can you see what it is? 

What is wrong with this circuit box?

Here is another picture of the electric service. Do you have any idea how I knew that it would need to be replaced as one of the first projects my buyer clients would need to do once they closed? 

Federal Pacific Circuit Panel

The panel was not flagged by the inspector for having double tapped breakers, poor wires or any do it yourself-sourced problem. 

Here's the problem:

Federal Pacific Stab Lok Breaker

Federal Pacific Stab-Lok breakers are a fire hazard. They don't trip the way breakers are supposed to, and that can cause overheating and fire. They have been recalled, but there are still millions out there. If you have an older home, you should check to see if your breaker panel is a Federal pacific Stab-Lok and then call an electrician if it is. 

Don't take my word for it, ask your electrician. I'm a broker only, but I have heard this too many times to ignore it. Check your breakers and make the call to make sure you are OK. 

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