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Don’t Judge a Panel Box by Its Cover

We could give whoever did this the benefit of the doubt, and say the original cover fell off and got misplaced. We could. But whatever the circumstances, someone has put a newer GE cover on a Federal Pacific panel box (FPE), which is a no-no for two reasons.

First, FPEs are an outdated brand of panel box that is no longer in use and are considered dangerous. They were popular in midcentury homes but were banned in the 1980s because the breakers they use can cause fires. Federal Pacific panel boxes cause about 2,800 fires each year. Because of this, electricians recommend they are replaced ASAP.

Second, the panel cover should technically be the same brand as the panel itself to be up to code. Another brand or just a random piece of metal won’t do because the cover was manufactured with a specific type of metal at a specific thickness and fit for a purpose.”

Read more electrical no-no’s here.

If you’re in the market for a new home you absolutely should have a qualified home inspection performed. This is especially true when it comes to older homes. People will try all kinds of tricks to pass inspection and a panel cover that doesn’t match what’s in the box is just one of them. If such an issue is found you’ll need to determine the final cost and worth it is continuing to close on the house.

The team at MJ Electric provides service upgrades to residents in the Twin Cities area. Call us at 612-598-0793 to schedule an appointment!