Jump to content

FPE - F Type Breakers


Steve Knight
 Share

Recommended Posts

I inspected a Town House a back in July with an FPE panel. The panel contained FPE - F type breakers. I included my standard language about FPE panels and attached a fact sheet to my report which provides additional details concerning the panels.

The seller had an electrician inspect the panel. The electrician's report state:

"Found FPE panel had full size breakers in good condition, connections to buss in panel good conection, wire connection to breaker is good.

I have seen problems with FPE breakers that have loose connections to buss in panel, but that problem is with 1/2 size breakers and this panel has full size breakers. This panel is OK"

Buyer asked me to review electrician's report. Assuming the electrician pulled the breakers, his findings concerning the connections are appropriate. However, I question his statement regarding "full size breakers". To my knowledge, the problem with 2-pole Type F breakers is the same as Double E type breaker.

I was just wondering how Forum members view the electricians statements.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If the Electrician says it is OK then that is what I go by. I don't attempt to overrule them if they have put a statement like that on their company letterhead. It's the licensed electricians butt on the line not yours, unless you say that the electrician is correct.

When this comes up and it does a few times a year I simply say, the electrician overrides me as he is the licensed professional in that field and he has backed up his opinion by a written statement.

Now if it is not in writing I tell my customer to get it in writing or replace the panel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Steve,

If a professional tradesman proves me wrong, I admit and humbly thank him for the education. If he simply disagrees with me, and can't show me how and why I'm wrong, then I tell my client: "We disagree, as professionals and gentlemen occasionally do." In the case you described, I'd add something like: "-but I wouldn't let a member of my family live in a house with an FPE panel."

You can lead a client to knowledge, but you can't make them think.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Jim Morrison

Steve,

If a professional tradesman proves me wrong, I admit and humbly thank him for the education. If he simply disagrees with me, and can't show me how and why I'm wrong, then I tell my client: "We disagree, as professionals and gentlemen occasionally do." In the case you described, I'd add something like: "-but I wouldn't let a member of my family live in a house with an FPE panel."

You can lead a client to knowledge, but you can't make them think.

Ditto, his butt is on the line, in writing, but he is wrong. When a client informs me a tradesperson disagrees I always tell them to ask the specific question and get the answer in writing. Any one on the face of this earth that guarantees any FPE breaker to trip the next time a trip is called for is a fool and this electrician wisely failed to address the undependable tripping aspect of the issue.

I would respectfully and pointedly disagree like Jim indicated but would go a step further and have the client point blank address the undependable fire causing tripping issue with said questionably qualified screw turning wire stripper with a license and get that answer in writing too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is the first time I've heard of anyone making that claim, and I don't buy it. FPE was having those problems before they ever made 1/2 size breakers, years before.

I don't like to question what a specialist says about my generalist opinions, but when they're saying something I simply cannot agree with I hold my ground. If at all possible I back it up with an independent source, like the FPE article Douglas Hansen has at the Code Check website. I don't think it addresses this issue specifically, but that fact alone speaks loudly. The article does address the problems with FPE, and (if I recall correctly) some of the illustrations clearly show full size breakers. Sparky is wrong.

I would ask the client if he was willing to gamble the replacement costs against the potential of a tragic house fire in the middle of the night. If you put those two things on a scale, they don't balance.

Brian G.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone.

As a general rule I don't disagree with licensed electricians. But in this instance I think it is important to point out to my client that the electrician did not address a major concern with FPE panels. I had never heard someone claim there is a difference between full and half size breakers and wanted to make sure I hadn't missed something.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you ever attend one of Douglas' presentations ask him to relate the story of the house he was called out to for testing of a typical FPE installation. They threw a dead short across a circuit. The breaker in the sub panel did not trip. The breaker in the main panel in front of the sub feed did not trip. The main did not trip. As Douglas relates, it was quite a show watching the fire follow the SE cable to the transformer. But then your clients' sparky did not see that one. I have run into a lot of licensed people in the electrical field whose expertise does not extend much past the ability to strip wire and turn screws. Sad but true. When you're right, your right. Stand your ground. Educate your clients and sleep well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Fresh out of my digital camera.

Not only is it a Federal Pacific (FPE) Main Panel, but the original cover was nowhere to be found. Check out this genius's combustible cover and the 1 foot height off the dining area floor for children to stick fingers and forks into.

Not to mention, if you look closely at the bottom left corner of the pic, you'll notice the white top surface of the electric baseboard heater.

I would like to see a sparky say this FPE is O.K. My luck, he'll have an original cover in his truck next to the spare FPE breakers. [:-banghea

Download Attachment: icon_photo.gif PA130001.JPG

61.67 KB

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was horse whipped by Douglas recently when I took this same approach. Electricians, like most tradesman, are not big on continuing education. Granting them elevated status because they know how to wire a house is nice of everyone, but it is dreamland. He's just a wireman.

You could inform the electrician that FPE admitted to falsifying the testing data submitted to UL regarding tripping; any UL listing they once had was obtained fraudulently. The breakers are garbage. There is also damning evidence that the breakers get worse w/ age, not better.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...