I'm often asked "What is the most-costly defect in a home?" That's a tough call because there are several areas of concern that could lead to expensive repairs, but just a few that might result in loss of life and limb. One of those is a particular electric panel manufactured by Federal Pacific Electric, and is known as their Stab-Lok model.
Millions of these were installed between the 1950-1980. Subsequent to numerous in-the-field failures, they were removed from the market, but tens of thousands still exist in homes.
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, these circuit breakers may fail to trip properly with overload and short-circuiting, making them ineligible to be listed as acceptable by Underwriters Laboratory (UL). And since the National Electric Code (NEC) requires all electrical components to be listed by UL or other registered testing agency, they are deemed unacceptable for installation and use.
Studies suggests that FPE Stab-Lok breakers may be responsible for as many as 2,800 fires, 13 deaths and $40 million in property damage every year.” Even if the circuit is in the ‘off’ position, FPE Stab-Lok has been known to still power the circuit causing an electrocution hazard.
Considering these statistics, we recommend replacement of this panel in all instances. In this case, an ounce of prevention is certainly worth it!