What Is A Stab-Lok Circuit Breaker?
Stab-Lok is a brand of circuit breaker which was manufactured by Federal Pacific Electric, as well as a few other companies. These circuit breakers were manufactured and sold in the 1950s and 1960s, and they have been used in millions of homes.
Despite how widespread they are, Stab-Lok circuit breakers – particularly those manufactured by Federal Pacific Electric – have been noted as a serious safety hazard in homes, and professional home inspectors and electricians almost always recommend replacement when they are found during a home inspection or electrical inspection.
What Are Stab-Lok Circuit Breakers Used For?
Stab-Lok circuit breakers are used as the primary circuit breaker in residential homes. Circuit breakers are responsible for preventing damage to your electrical systems by interrupting the flow of electrical current when an overload, short circuit, or other such fault is detected.
This protects your electrical systems from damage, and assists in tracking electrical faults. Stab-Lok circuit breakers were widely sold and used in this capacity for decades.
Why Are Stab-Lok Circuit Breakers Dangerous?
Stab-Lok circuit breakers are dangerous because they do not function properly as circuit breakers. Testing by the Consumer Product Safety Commission has shown that these panels have an unacceptably high failure rate – and that 1 out of 3 breakers are defective.
Essentially, the circuit “breaker,” which is the switch that is supposed to flip and interrupt current flow when an issue is detected, does not function properly in these panels. In other words, they are not effective for addressing issues like overloaded circuits and short circuits. Because the breakers may not trip when an issue is detected, this can damage home electrical systems, and even increase the risk of an electrical fire.
Why Should A Stab-Lok Circuit Breaker Be Replaced?
Because no Federal Pacific Electric Stab-Lok breakers meet CPSC UL standards. Most panels contain faulty circuit breakers, and even those that don’t would need to have each breaker individually tested to confirm that they all function properly. The process of having an electrician test each circuit breaker individually would be more expensive than simply replacing the circuit breaker panel with a new, modern model.
Stab-Lok circuit breakers are a serious hazard to you, your property, and your family. A study by the Washington Post suggests that they are responsible for up to 2,800 fires, 13 deaths, and more than $40 million in property damage each and every year. If you own a home with a Stab-Lok circuit breaker, or a home inspection of a home you are interested in buying shows a Stab-Lok, you need to replace it immediately.
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