October 2007 (Palm Springs, Calif.) - The certified, professional members of the California Real Estate Inspection Association (CREIA) are warning homeowners, buyers, and real estate professionals against the dangers of Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) “Stab-Lok” electrical panels. These panels have been known to present latent hazards by malfunctioning under certain conditions resulting in inoperative circuit breakers. The breakers may not trip (disconnect) under imposed load conditions. Failure can also occur at the connection to the bus bars due to inadequate bending space for the service entrance conductors or “feeder conductors”.
Although one of the most popular electrical panels in new and remodeled residential construction through the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s, there are a significant number of documented cases of overheating, malfunctions, and fires nationwide, as well a class-action lawsuit settled in New Jersey and a recall in Canada.Although most panels show no visible signs of malfunction or overheating, the most knowledgeable inspectors recommend further review immediately and regularly by a qualified electrician (at the very least), and consideration of replacement of these panels entirely.
Homebuyers and sellers are urged to retain the services of qualified inspectors trained and experienced in home inspection. It is also very important that the inspector be a member of a well-founded professional association such as CREIA. Established in 1976, CREIA is the largest and oldest state inspection association in the country. CREIA inspectors must adhere to CREIA's Code of Ethics and follow the Standards of Practice developed and maintained by the Association. Recognized by the State of California, these Standards of Practice are considered the source for Home Inspector Standard of Care by the real estate and legal communities.
CREIA is dedicated to consumer protection and education. To locate a qualified CREIA inspector near you click here or call CREIA at (800) 388-8443.
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