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FPE Electrical Panels


Michael Brown
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Note: there are two ways for a breaker to trip. One is with a celinoid and the other is with a heat switch. The older Federal, Zinsco and Zinsco Sylvanya only used a heat switch. Many years ago the International Association of Electrical Inspectors, (IAEI) {THEY WRITE THE CODE BOOK} felt that the heat only breaker was unsafe and outlawed it for new applications. Unfotrunaly the code only applies to new work so there is no law requireing them to be removed. But home inspectors are not code inspectors. We only comment safe of unsafe. So if I find a railing with 8 inch spaces I say unsafe. If I find a heat only breaaker I say unsafe. I further advise that they get a Licensed Contractor to inpsect the box if they want further evaluation. I do not know of any contractor who will put his reputation on the line, and suffer futher libility for these antiquated boxes.

There is no reason why we should stick our neck out to keep the real estste industry happy. I have a one page flyer that I add to every such inspection I do. I gave it to a Electrical Contractor who is also using it. Contact me and I will make it avalable to all who are intrested.

For those with camerias we have a sight that is collecting pictures of bad Zinsco boxes. If you want to share any any you have please contact me at angevine@fidalgo.net.

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Great article in original post, bottom line is that nothing will change. The CPSC paper is full of junk information and has no bite because it ultimately states that they stopped the investigation due to lack of evidence.

I will continue to call these out as potentially unsafe and recommend review by an electrician and 100% of the electricians I know or am friends with always replace them or advise that they do.

Like the original article stated, home inspectors are reluctant to take on the liability. It does not make us look good at all when the people don't have it replaced or evaluated then can't find an electrician to work on the house wiring with that panel in place. Most RE agents are aware of the problems and don't make a fuss about it. I am not one to kiss their butts anyway.

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