More Blog Posts on Similar Subjects:

  1. How come my generator hookup got tagged as defective by the home inspector?

  2. Is the electric panel big enough for this house?

  3. What are the most common homeowner wiring mistakes?

  4. Why does the electric company want my house electric system inspected before turning the power back on?

  5. My GFCI reset button is hard to push and won’t reset. What’s wrong?

  6. The electric panel is marked “Trilliant” and it’s all grey plastic. Is it alright?

  7. Is this old home a Sears Catalog house?

  8. My circuit breaker won’t reset. What’s wrong?

  9. When should I replace my smoke alarms?

  10. What is a split bus electric panel?

  11. Why does that wall plug have push-buttons in the middle?

  12. Do you check the wall plugs?

  13. I heard that aluminum wiring is bad. Do you check for it?

  14. What is a three-way switch?

  15. What is a “missing twistout” at an electric panel?

  16. What is an “open junction box”?

  17. How far apart should kitchen counter receptacles be placed?

  18. What are those strange looking wall switches in houses from the 1950s and 1960s?

  19. Will the electric company remove branches rubbing against the overhead service lines to my home?

  20. Can multiple neutral or ground wires be secured under the same terminal in an electric panel?

  21. What is a false ground, bootleg ground, or cheated ground receptacle?

  22. What are the most common electrical defects found in a home inspection?

  23. What is an open electrical splice?

  24. What does it mean when a wire is “overstripped” at a circuit breaker?

  25. What is the difference between “grounded” and “grounding” electrical conductors?

  26. What is the difference between a Combination Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (CAFCI) and an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) circuit breaker?

  27. How can I tell if a receptacle/outlet is tamper resistant?

  28. What is a Dual Function Circuit Interrupter (DFCI)?

  29. Will a GFCI receptacle that is not grounded still function properly?

  30. Does a home inspector remove the electric panel cover plate and examine the inside of the panel?

  31. What are the code requirements for NM-cable (nonmetallic-sheathed cable or Romex®) in an attic?

  32. Can old electrical wiring go bad inside a wall?

  33. Why does painting an electric receptacle (outlet) make it unsafe?

  34. What causes flickering or blinking lights in a house?

  35. What electrical hazards does a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) not protect against?

  36. What is the building code requirement for receptacle outlets at stairs and stair landings?

  37. Can a home surge protector be installed loose in the bottom of an electric panel box?

  38. When did arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) breakers first become required?

  39. Should I buy a house near a high-voltage power line?

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Welcome to our blog!
We want you to be an informed homebuyer, and each blog post is a question that we have answered for our friends and customers over the years. Hope they help you make a good choice for your next home.

     To view a report by about the history and hazards of Federal Pacific panels by J. Aronstein, a consulting engineer that specializes in mechanical and materials testing, click on this link: http://www.inspect-ny.com/fpe/FPE-Hazards-Revised-070525.pdf. Aronstein’s evaluation of the panels is that they represent a “safety defect,” and that replacement is the only practical and safe solution.

     If you open the door of an electric panel in a house you are considering buying and find the words “STAB-LOK” or “FPE”—like in the two photos below—it’s reasonable to expect that the panel poses a potential safety risk and will likely decrease the value of the home in the current marketplace. Also, some insurance companies will not write a homeowner’s policy on a house with a Federal Pacific Stab-Lok panel.

    Another electric panel from the same era that has a checkered history is Zinsco, although the standard recommendation for this panel is evaluation by an electrician. It was also sold under the names Sylvania-Zinsco and Kearney. To read more about the Zinsco panel, see our blog post “Why are Zinsco and Sylvania-Zinsco electric panels a problem?”


While we hope you find this series of articles about home inspection helpful, they should not be considered an alternative to an actual home inspection by a local inspector. Also, construction standards vary in different parts of the country and it is possible that important issues related to your area may not be covered here.
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