DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > Electrical and Wiring > best replacement for Federal Pac panel?




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Old 09-05-2011, 12:57 PM  
gmc
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Default best replacement for Federal Pac panel?

I was snooping around in my basement to replace my dryer vent pipe with something less scary when I came across a hot set of wires from a decommissioned 220V dryer socket. I put twist caps on the wires and tape as a temporary safety measure, and started looking into using the juice to power separate circuits for my washer and (gas) dryer - they are now on the same circuit as much of my kitchen - a bad set up I have been wanting to fix.

ANYWAY,
it got me searching on the net and I find all these references that simply having a Federal Pacific panel is a risk to my life and home! The panel is on my back patio (see pic), under a flap down door. It is small. Any suggestions as to how to best refit this thing? (I am definitely going to have someone do this, but I like to know what issues are involved before I start looking for a contractor.)

The box inside the back wall is 5" deep, 11" wide, and 16 " long.

Thanks,
Gil



panel 1.JPG   panel 2.JPG  
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Old 09-05-2011, 06:17 PM  
kok328
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Square D is a popular brand.



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Old 09-05-2011, 07:41 PM  
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Default Yup

Good call on getting it changed. They have had many issues in the past, as you found out.
And as KOK suggested, Square-d, or GE will be fine.

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Old 09-05-2011, 08:30 PM  
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Square D, Siemens, GE, Cutler hammer.....

Interesting in how your meter base it set in the wall!

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Old 09-05-2011, 09:03 PM  
gmc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JTGP View Post
Square D, Siemens, GE, Cutler hammer.....

Interesting in how your meter base it set in the wall!
------ I know, I like that. One question I have is how / or more exactly - where are they likely to put the replacement - I doubt it would fit in the little space this one has. But I do like it out of the way. Any suggestions?
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Old 09-09-2011, 04:32 PM  
speedy petey
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ANY major brand these days is good. It all comes down to personal preference.
Everyone loves SqD QO. I hate them.

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Old 09-13-2011, 02:50 AM  
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I'd suggest you have an electrician of your choice come out and take a look at your situation--don't wait too long, as Fed Pac (and Zinsco) panels have been known to cause fires. Back when I was inspecting homes, I always urged home buyers to insist on panel replacement of those 2 brands, if present, before buying the place (Colorado had more than a few of them).

The electrician will tell you what he will install, and can even (eventually) give you the new panel's dimensions, should you decide to enlarge the block-out in your wall for the new panel to fit. I suspect he'll want to mount the new unit on the outside of the wall. You'll probably want to upgrade the size of the new panel, too, if you live in an older place with just 60 amp service in it now.

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Old 09-13-2011, 07:36 PM  
speedy petey
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Quote:
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Back when I was inspecting homes, I always urged home buyers to insist on panel replacement of those 2 brands, if present, before buying the place (Colorado had more than a few of them).
Not to side track the thread, but what was your justification for "urging" this "insisting"??

I hear this a LOT and for the life of me I cannot understand how folks think it is the seller's responsibility to replace the panel/service. Let the buyer do it if they want after the sale.

This is VOLUNTARY replacement/upgrade. IMO all it is is a ploy to get something out of the seller really.
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Old 09-14-2011, 03:46 AM  
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Just doin' my job. And keeping secrets from the Buyer isn't in the Inspector's job description.

As a certified (NACHI) home inspector, my services are performed and paid for by the Buyer. It is my obligation to warn him/her of potential, pre-existing hazards in the property they are about to make a large investment in. In the case of Zinsco and Fed Pac panels, or aluminum wiring, or improperly-installed wood stoves (I've seen plenty), or a host of other proven fire hazards, not to do so would make me liable for (significant) damages when the place burns down.

Buyer always has the option of buying anything "as is," and pay for any/all repairs or replacements himself if he wants the place badly enough (and the Seller refuses to make any repairs or price adjustments).

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Old 09-15-2011, 05:54 AM  
speedy petey
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OK, I can see where this is going to go so I will only make a few comments and leave it at that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BridgeMan View Post
Just doin' my job. And keeping secrets from the Buyer isn't in the Inspector's job description.
You are putting words in my mouth. That was NOT what I asked.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BridgeMan View Post
As a certified (NACHI) home inspector, my services are performed and paid for by the Buyer. It is my obligation to warn him/her of potential, pre-existing hazards in the property they are about to make a large investment in. In the case of Zinsco and Fed Pac panels, or aluminum wiring, or improperly-installed wood stoves (I've seen plenty), or a host of other proven fire hazards, not to do so would make me liable for (significant) damages when the place burns down.
A VERY common sentiment from a NACHI member. I have never seen a group of professionals SO paranoid of being sued, and IMO for not much reason.
Your description here is what I would think a H-I's job would be. Thing is I see and hear different. In my experience most basically demand that things like this be done by the seller, or at least the buyers take it that way. It goes WAY beyond suggesting and "pointing things out". It's almost like HI's suggest to buyers that the house must be brought up to current code and be in up to date condition. I mean I have seen cases where a HI pointed out no AFCI breakers as a defect, on a 50 year old home. IMO this is absurd.

An FPE panel is still compliant, and NOT a "defect", but they have become a known potential problem.
When I see them I tell potential buyers "the first thing I would do is replace that panel." Not "Tell the seller to replace it for you before you close."



Please don't take any of this personally, it is just my general observations and not an opinion on you.


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