best replacement for Federal Pac panel?

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by gmc, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. Sep 5, 2011 #1

    gmc

    gmc

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    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
     
  2. Sep 6, 2011 #2

    kok328

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    Square D is a popular brand.
     
  3. Sep 6, 2011 #3

    inspectorD

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    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.
     
  4. Sep 6, 2011 #4

    JTGP

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    Square D, Siemens, GE, Cutler hammer.....

    Interesting in how your meter base it set in the wall!
     
  5. Sep 6, 2011 #5

    gmc

    gmc

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    ------ 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?
     
  6. Sep 9, 2011 #6

    speedy petey

    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.
     
  7. Sep 13, 2011 #7

    BridgeMan

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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.
     
  8. Sep 14, 2011 #8

    speedy petey

    speedy petey

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    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.
     
  9. Sep 14, 2011 #9

    BridgeMan

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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).
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2011
  10. Sep 15, 2011 #10

    speedy petey

    speedy petey

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    OK, I can see where this is going to go :rolleyes: so I will only make a few comments and leave it at that.

    You are putting words in my mouth. That was NOT what I asked.

    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. :)
     
  11. Sep 16, 2011 #11

    BridgeMan

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    Thanx, petey, I'll sleep much better tonight. However, I stand by what I've stated.

    In today's litigious society, I really don't enjoy paying out my hard-earned dollars to lawyers for defending me from people who insist I have not adequately warned them (with strong enough terms) about possible hazards in their future home. Been there, done that, no thank you.

    Oh, and for the record--I have never told any Buyer to have the Seller do anything. I've only pointed out potential hazards, and leave it up to the two parties to determine who pays for what. Pointing out deficiencies in properties can make things difficult for the Inspector, and I've been called a "deal-breaker" by Realtors who blamed me (instead of the house's condition) for giving a Buyer cold feet.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2011
  12. Sep 16, 2011 #12

    speedy petey

    speedy petey

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    It is all in the way the buyer takes it. And more often than not the buyer takes it that things MUST be done.
    I can't tell you how many times I hear "The inspector said this HAS to be done, or that HAS to be replaced", only to find of that it was a home inspector that said it.
     
  13. Sep 23, 2011 #13

    ohmy

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    Siemens is the brand we prefer. They make a good panel with copper bus bars and are a good company. Square D is also a quality panel but is a little pricey. I would steer clear of GE...IMO.
     

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