How to Identify your Residential Federal Pacific Circuit Breakers with Pictures
What is a Stablok Circuit Breaker
Stab-Lok is a brand name of electrical circuit breakers that were manufactured primarily by Federal Pacific Electric between 1950-1980. In June 1980, Reliance Electric, which had purchased FPE, reported to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission that “many FPE circuit breakers did not fully comply with Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) requirements. Commission testing confirmed that these breakers fail certain UL calibration test requirements. Professional home inspectors now routinely recommend removing and replacing Stab-Lok breakers and panels that remain in service, as they may pose a fire hazard. The original Federal Pacific Stablok Circuit Breakers came in Full Size and Half Size they were 1 Inch wide per Pole. The Half Size was ½ inch per pole
Here is an Image of the 1 Pole FPE Half Size Residential Circuit Breaker. The Type is called NC. As you can see the copper stab on the rear has a different configuration where it plugs onto the Busbar.
Half Size Federal Pacific Circuit Breakers were manufactured in 1 and 2 Poles only. The Maximum Amperage was 50 Amp for the 2 poles. The width is 1/2 Inch per pole.
Here is an Image of the 1 and 2 Pole FPE Full Size Residential Circuit Breaker. The Type is called NA. As you can see the copper stab on the rear has a different configuration than the Half Size where it plugs onto the Busbar.
Full Size Federal Pacific Circuit Breakers were manufactured in 1 and 2 Poles only. The Maximum Amperage was 50 Amp for the 2 poles. The width is 1 Inch per pole.
It has been widely reported in news media and online that Stab-Lok circuit breakers, and panels, do not meet the requirements of the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70) and Underwriters Laboratories, and should be replaced.
According to a 2012 news report by NBC Bay Area (KNTV):
The “Stab-Lok” circuit breaker and panel produced by Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) installed in hundreds of thousands of homes in the Bay Area may cause house fires, according decades of documentation and electrical experts interviewed by the NBC Bay Area Investigative Unit. Stab-Lok circuit breakers are most commonly found in houses built before 1990.
— Federal Pacific Circuit Breakers: Investigation Finds Decades of Danger
According to an independent analysis performed by Jesse Aronson, P.E.:
FPE and replacement brands of Stab-Lok® circuit breakers have a high defect rate. They do not provide the level of circuit protection required by the NEC (National Electrical Code). Homeowners should be alerted to this safety defect and advised to have it corrected. FPE Stab-Lok® circuit breaker panels should be replaced unless the occupants are informed and willing to live with the resulting increased risk of fire and injury.
— ”HAZARDOUS FPE CIRCUIT BREAKERS AND PANELS: Information for Homeowners, Inspectors, and Electricians”
According to ANGI Homeservices, formerly known as Angie’s List,
If your home has a Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) circuit breaker panel with Stab-Lok circuit breakers, you run a significant risk of breaker malfunction and fire. While these types of circuit breakers were once commonly installed in houses across the country, many are defective. To be on the safe side, it’s a good idea to replace any Federal Pacific breakers in your home.
Angie’s List and NBC Bay Area both highlighted an October 2002 ruling in a New Jersey Superior Court, which found that FPE (Federal Pacific Electric), the manufacturer of the Stab-Lok breakers and panels, “knowingly and purposefully [sic] distributed circuit breakers which were not tested to meet UL standards as indicated on their label”.
Replacements are being made if used as a plug-in Replacements are being made if used as a plug-in
The Stablok Circuit Breaker are being re-manufactured by Unique and meets today’s standards meeting UL specifications with it’s ETL Certification