breaker box update?

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  #1  
Old 06-11-15, 04:29 PM
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breaker box update?

a neighbor just bought a house to resell next to ours . he had the electric company inspect his home before purchase and all seemed okay. Then 2 months later he got a letter stating his breaker box was out of code. The home is a little older than ours, his breaker box is the same manufacturer as mine. He claims that the breakers might not trip properly and could cause a fire so he had it replaced. It cost him $2000 for this repair. Because mine is only about 5 years newer (built in 1983) might mine need replacing as well? Is this common to need replacing? and $2000!!! that sounds extreme.
 
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Old 06-11-15, 04:35 PM
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Because mine is only about 5 years newer (built in 1983) might mine need replacing as well? Is this common to need replacing? and $2000!!! that sounds extreme.
Sounds as if the entire service was replaced including the meter socket and service entrance wiring. The grounding was probably also brought up to current code. No, that price doesn't sound excessive, but it all depends on the difficulty of the installation. You never mentioned the manufacturer of your electric panel. If you have a Federal Pacific Electric (aka FPE) you need to consider replacing it, they have a reputation for some of their breakers not tripping. If you have a Zinsco, Sylvania or some Challenger panels with the Zinsco style circuit breakers it would need to be replaced as it is a known fire hazard.
 
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Old 06-11-15, 06:10 PM
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Was this inspection by the power company or a home inspector?
 
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Old 06-12-15, 06:45 AM
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Or possibly even an insurance company? Many home insurance companies will give something like 90 days after closing to replace obsolete panels in order to maintain coverage. Sounds about the right time frame.
 
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Old 06-12-15, 07:29 AM
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I have never heard of a power company inspection.
 
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Old 06-12-15, 03:08 PM
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I do have a fedral pacific electric box as did my neighbor. So it seems that to be safe this would need to be replaced? How much should that cost?
 
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Old 06-12-15, 03:27 PM
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That brand of panel does not have a good reputation.

Replacement costs are too hard to judge without seeing the job and knowing local labor and permit prices. Call some reputable contractors for estimates.
 
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Old 06-12-15, 08:10 PM
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To give you a rather broad range of prices, $1200 at the very low end and $3000 would be at the high end unless you have some really special requirements.
 
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Old 06-12-15, 08:16 PM
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There is no code requirement that ANY panel must be replaced. An insurance company can require it for them to insure a house, but nothing in the NEC requires it. It met code when it was installed and therefor grandfathered in.

As others have mentioned FPE does not have the best reputation in the US for the reasons your neighbor mentioned, however many are still in use today. Do not let fear cloud your judgement. Do your own research (Google federal pacific electric panel) and make an informed decision if replacing the panel is right for you. If it is, get at least 3 bids from licensed electrical contractors. Make sure it includes permits (which they pull) and proper inspections.
 
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