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I was told I might have a Federal Pacific electrical panel, and if so I may need to replace it. It’s hard to read, but it looks to me like it says Trumbull Electric (see photo). Is this panel something I need to worry about? My house was built in the 1950s.

electrical panelclose up of logo

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  • Can you carefully remove the cover and get a picture of the breakers inside. From an oblique angle rather than straight on would be best, and be careful of energized wires/busses of course. Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 20:51
  • Can you tell us more about the house? How large is it? Is there other electrical work you might want to do (ex. 2-prong to 3-prong outlets)? Do you intend to upgrade any appliances to electric? @RetiredMasterElectrician has an answer below, but you may want to replace the panel to modernize your electrical and give yourself some future-proofing.
    – Hari
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 21:21
  • I think this might be worth contacting GE tech support over -- see if this panel can use modern THQL breakers safely... Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 22:55
  • Also, can you get a photo of the listing label on the loadcenter? Commented Apr 21, 2018 at 17:54
  • Last but not least, what do you have for a main panel or main disconnect? Commented Apr 22, 2018 at 20:09

2 Answers 2

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I have good news...

Your panel is not one of the dreaded FPE firestarters. Trumbull panels appear to be ancestors of the modern-day GE loadcenter line, although I have not yet been able to ascertain if your panel is forward-compatible with modern GE (THQL) breakers.

and bad news

However, these old Trumbull Electric panels do have a design defect: the upper row of breakers is "upside down"! In other words, you have to flip breaker handles in the upper row down to turn them on and up to turn them off, which violates NEC 240.81:

240.81 Indicating. Circuit breakers shall clearly indicate whether they are in the open "off" or closed "on" position.

Where circuit breaker handles are operated vertically rather than rotationally or horizontally, the "up" position of the handle shall be the "on" position.

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It's not a Federal Panel. It is a Trumble Panel built in the 1940's bought buy GE. Some say that's the reason GE breakers start with a T (TED THQ etc.)

Should you replace it? Yes, its a 1940's panel, but beware there could be a whole lot of things wrong with your service than just that panel. For example do you have a main fuse or breaker ahead of your panel? How is it grounded? ETC.

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