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jodil
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Reading the entire post of the "hard lesson learned" I am more convinced than ever that most of the electricians in my state (and others) are not as well educated as they should be. (**Electricians on this site dont get offended and feel you need to insult my comments.)

So that leads me to my dillema. There are ALOT of Fed Pac. panels in my town. I note them as a safety hazard each time. I have compiled a nice little package of info for buyers, Realtors, and even electricians who have no idea what I am talking about.

My problem? The electricians and the city inspector poopoo my findings and say "if nothing is broken, melted, etc. there's no problem."

So my questions are.. Have any of you came across an electirician that feels that a Fed Pac panel IS a safety issue?

And how do you approach the majority of "professionals" that are dismissing your safety notice as accusing you of being a "whistle blower?"

Jodi

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Originally posted by jodil

Reading the entire post of the "hard lesson learned" I am more convinced than ever that most of the electricians in my state (and others) are not as well educated as they should be. (**Electricians on this site dont get offended and feel you need to insult my comments.)

So that leads me to my dillema. There are ALOT of Fed Pac. panels in my town. I note them as a safety hazard each time. I have compiled a nice little package of info for buyers, Realtors, and even electricians who have no idea what I am talking about.

My problem? The electricians and the city inspector poopoo my findings and say "if nothing is broken, melted, etc. there's no problem."

So my questions are.. Have any of you came across an electirician that feels that a Fed Pac panel IS a safety issue?

And how do you approach the majority of "professionals" that are dismissing your safety notice as accusing you of being a "whistle blower?"

Jodi

Jodi, you are not alone. It is a common issue in many if not most parts of the country. Yes, I do know and have met several "qualified"electricians who know about FPE's and their problems. Many of the trade professionals are like lemmings; they do what they have always done and only know what they have learned from whoever taught them their trade. Add in the fact that they have little if no CE requirements so they are not privy to much of the information we receive.

I don't worry about what the other folks are saying, all I do is inspect and then report what I have found. I don't make things up as I have nothing to benefit and everything to loose if I under report my findings.

I don't get into pissing matches with anyone over what I have reported or found. I back up my findings with the proper documentation. If whoever wants to try and discredit my findings then so be it. Let them be the ones to say that everything is OK with the FPE as I will not be the one doing that.

I know that this is difficult to do when you depend on a real estate agents for business, but this should give you only more reason as to why you need to work harder at reducing the percent of Realtor referrals you depend on.

Next time this happens just ask whoever to write a letter on the city letterhead or their company letterhead saying that "Nothing is wrong with this FPE panel". I bet that they will not do it!

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I've run into that too. If you're already providing the clients with documentation that backs your position, there's not a heck of a lot else to be done. If they choose to take the sparky's word over your documentation, so be it. You've done your job. That's all you can do, unless you want to mount a campaign to educate the local electricians.

Brian G.

Tell 'em "Fine, but add one extra smoke detector; right above that FPE panel." [:-mischie

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Originally posted by jodil

So what are your ideas on obtaining business from other sources than Realtors?

A good website that pulls up good in the search engines (Google)should be your number one priority. Do you have a website now? If so you should be posting the address in your profile as it will show up when folks look at this thread.

Next, would be past clients. Every time you do an inspection you should hand your client a few cards and tell them to tell their friends and neighbors about you. Let them know that you get your business by "word of mouth" and they will help you. I have never had a client turn away from me when I gave them my cards.

Next would be to visit local insurance agents, start with your own agent! They are always looking for ways to network.

Market to new construction homeowners and sell 1st year warranty inspections. This is one of the easiest types of inspections to market.

Plenty of ways to market yourself without dumping cards and brochures in the real estate offices.

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Ditto Scott.

Have you tried a networking group. Try several to find a group that has members who what the level of service you provide. I'm in a BNI group but went through several before finding one with members who sent me biz. The insurance agents, mort brokers and of course the RE lady are the primary people.

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I direct my clients to do a simple web search for stab loks. I let them gather their own info - it doesn't take long. Now the naysayers have to dispute their misguided beliefs with the client - the one that's got the money that everyone wants a part of.

I've been Jodi's route - it got real old real fast. Much easier to transfer burden off my shoulders.

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One thing that realtors, clients and a lot of electricians tend to forget is that 'problems sometimes only show up during a ground fault, surge or other overcurrent situation".

Sure, the panel looks fine, the poor connections on those equipment grounds look fine, the FP panel looks OK, etc. That's because 'there hasn't been an accident... YET"

I use the air-bag analogy with electrical issues. "The air bags are here, but they are known to sometimes fail in an accident" (FPE). "You have the airbags, but they are not connected properly according to the manufacturer's specs" (Poor equipment ground connections). "You have a Toyota airbag in this Ford panel" (wrong-brand breakers in panels that don't accommodate them...the extreme cases..).

Use the airbag and they get it. Go on and on into the world of invisible electricity, they glaze-over and defer to the 'master electrician' locally or the local AHJ inspector.

I also tell them that the panel manufacturers and equipment manufacturers employ electrical engineers... Electricians are the 'plumbers' of the electrical distribution world.. Not to beat them up, but that is the way it goes.

IMO, this country carps about the lack of white-collar education out there.. Forget that... Let's get the blue-collar trades people up a notch. Junky work is going in all the time now..

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For as long as we were aware of problems with FP this is basically what we wrote about them. We updated it as new information was available. At one point I received a letter from an attorney telling me we were at risk if we did not tone down our statements. In most cases electricians in my area were aware of problems with FP and enjoyed putting in a new service.

The Federal Pacific circuit breaker panel used in this house is no longer manufactured and some safety problems have been discovered with the performance of the circuit breakers. This problem has been investigated by the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Specifically, it has been found in testing that if a breaker trips on overload and is reset, it may not trip the next time it overloads causing overheating. Additionally, the failure of these breakers to trip the first time is also higher than is acceptable. The problem is with “Stab-Lokâ€

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I can only say that the particular panel that we're looking at, looks ok or not. I look for signs of overheating, burnt spots, smells, etc. I could test every breaker and trips as it should but that's no guarantee that it will the next time. How would that look if we were to say "oh yeah, we need to replace this right away or your house is gonna burn down and BTW it's gonna be $1500. We can only look at what's at hand and advise on that. We can't guarantee that a breaker will trip when it's supposed regardless of the manufacturer. I would suggest that a customer be given the information and do their own research and make their own "informed" decision.

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I just tell them there have been serious problems associated with these types of panels and that they should have it replaced. I hyper link to a pdf that has all the supporting documentation.

I'm done at that point. Any arguments will be referred back to said documentation. I don't care if they replace it or not. I've done my job by making them aware of the potential problem.

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I simply tell the client about the issues that have been documented and provide the client and agent with info from Dan Friedman and others. I have never met an electrician in my area that didn't think FPE panels were OK. All that I've talked to think they are junk. I recommend every FPE panel be inspected and evaluated by a licensed electrician.

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