Many of the homes in the Marin County area, including Belvedere and Fairfax, were built between the 50s and 60s and some are even older. While this renders the homes charming and extremely unique, it also means they’re always in need of constant updates. On occasion, you may need to change out a sink, or a potentially dangerous electric breaker, and though it’s few and far between, you may have to check in about the possibility of being exposed to asbestos. As a homeowner, there are so many things that can go wrong at any one point, and you’ll have to be prepared to take action and protect your primary investment: Your home. Unfortunately, Federal Pacific has ensured that your electrical circuit breaker is another one of those things that you’re just going to have to take into account when considering the safety of your home.

The Purpose of Your Federal Pacific Breaker

The breaker in your home is solely meant to guard the structure from any potentially harmful electrical issues. It prevents circuit overloads, short circuits and power surges from meeting the panel and causing any permanent damage. If a breaker becomes defective or doesn’t operate properly anymore it’s no longer blocking those surges and shorts which, if not blocked don’t just destroy your home’s wiring, they cause a spark which literally leads to a fire.

Why Are Federal Pacific Breaker Boxes Bad?

There have been a number of studies, starting in the 1980s, that concluded that at least one in four Federal Pacific breakers were broken. Meaning that when the surge comes through, they won’t properly tip off at least 25 percent of the time. However, when the studies from the 1980s came out a federal judge deemed Federal Pacific guilty of performing faulty testing on their own products, which allowed them to release a new line of similar breakers that “met the standards set the UL,” though they did not, in fact, meet any safety standards.

The Results of Federal Pacific Breakers:

An estimated 2,800 house fires per year are supposedly caused by Federal Pacific breakers. The company has been out of business for years now, which is why they couldn’t afford to put forth a proper recall in 1983 when the two-year investigation finally concluded the breakers a hazard to homeowners.

The Electrician’s Job

Since Federal Pacific breakers have been deemed unsafe, there have been some skeptics, holding out hope because they hadn’t seen a bad version of the breaker, yet. Mostly that comes in the form of a bad electrician who doesn’t have your best interest at heart. The truth is, if you have a home that’s anywhere from 25 to 65 years old, you’re at risk. The worst part about Federal Pacific breakers is that they can certainly look like they’re working faithfully for years, until they just don’t. Then they start short circuiting, overheating and becoming extreme fire hazards. Your wires will melt and electricity will run unstopped until it burns itself out. This is what causes the panel to catch fire and, as we all know, electrical fires aren’t easy to put out.  

Contact Divine Electric Norcal

We’re passionate about the safety of all of the citizens in Marin County, which is why we’d be happy to give you a professional safety council about your breaker, even if you don’t intend for us to do the work to replace your electrical breaker. We care more about being the best community member than we do about being the most popular electrician in Fairfax, which is why we succeed at both.