Federal Pacific Circuit Breakers

FEDERAL PACIFIC CIRCUIT BREAKERS: Are your breakers defective? DAVID GURALCHUK, P.E., BEAP, CPMP- THE FALCON GROUP

Attention Property Managers:

Do you have electrical panels with circuit breakers made by Federal Pacific Electric? If so, you may have defective devices installed. Federal Pacific Electric was a major electrical manufacturer in the mid-20th century, with its products commonly used in many installations, especially residential applications. However a line of their circuit breakers were made with known defects, in which the company had put fraudulent UL listings on that indicated normal function.

What are Circuit Breakers?

Circuit Breakers are protective devices that protect electrical circuits, wires and equipment from high electrical currents and overloading conditions. Proper function of these devices is important for the protection of property and the safety of the occupants. The circuit breaker has three (3) positions: ON, OFF, and OPEN/TRIPPED. Under normal operation, a circuit breaker in the ON position allows electricity to flow to the respective equipment, while a circuit breaker in the OPEN/TRIPPED position automatically disconnects all electricity from the equipment it serves. This automatic operation occurs when the breaker senses an abnormal electrical condition. Once the abnormal condition is cleared, the breaker can be reset by manually operating it to the OFF position, and then placing it back on to the ON position as needed.

What is the potential risk?

The affected circuit breakers can potentially fail to properly operate when an abnormal electrical condition is present. By allowing this abnormal condition to continue, eventually the equipment, the circuit breaker, the wiring and/or the electrical panel will overheat and possibly cause a fire at any or all of these points.

Will you be affected?

If your building or community has electrical panels installed between the 1950s and the 1980s, you may have this specific product installed.

What is the next step if this is installed in your building?

If your building or community was built or had major electrical upgrades between the 1950s and the 1980s, you may want to have your electrical panels inspected. Let Falcon help identify whether or not your building has these types of breakers installed. Falcon can provide field inspections to identify all devices that may fall under this alert and advise on mitigation strategies for the affected devices. The Falcon Group can identify whether or not your building has these types of breakers installed. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment mep@falconengineering.com or 800-839-7740.

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