Federal Pacific Stab-Lok Breakers
If you have pretty red circuit breakers in your home, you may not be as safe as you should be. Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) went out of business after their breaker panel lost their Underwriters Laboratory (UL) approval. These breakers have a much higher than normal failure rate. They tend to fail in the worst way, that is they don’t trip at high current. The circuit becomes overloaded, the breaker does not trip at it’s rated amperage. This leads to catastrophic failures: wires overheating, insulation melting, smoke and fire.
FPE Stab-Lok panels are fairly easy to identify. They have bright red tops on the breaker levers and they trip to the middle of the panel instead of to the outside. If these are found in your home during a four-point inspection, your insurance company may not insure the home until this panel is changed out.
The good news is the panel can be changed out by a licensed electrical contractor. For your records and safety, make sure this work is permitted by the local agency (county or city building department).