Well, maybe not. Yeah, this would have been a difficult issue for a home inspector to see I suspect. I would imagine the panel had experienced a complete failure, i. Seriously I feel vindicated not opening my Zinsco sub-panel the other day. I just provide the Inspectny link. I recommend a Licensed Electrician examine and evaluate. A few years back way before digital cameras I was called to a small store because the smelled burning in the panel when I took the cove off I could see the gap between breakers glowing I shut off the main and pulled the breakers out and found one that nearly the entire middle of the breaker had melted but the breaker had failed to trip and was still supplying the v circuit.
I wish I had a camera back then, this was a Zinsco. You have to keep in mind that we have no way to test the breakers to verify tripping under loads etc but generally they seem to work that way just the bussing will get to burning and obviously the expensive UBI breakers can cut into your wallet pretty fast.
In general I will recommend at a minimum pulling the breakers, checking the panel for breakage etc, the neutral bars and bussing are usually small and funky. Zinsco used a real junky bar for a lot of their panels that causes the neutral wiring to be sort of pinched. This can cause issues where the wire looks like it is under the set screw but in reality it is going off into left field and you can have an open neutral or burning.
Another nasty little problem is the bakelite that holds in the bussing on either side can come free from the metal clips and when you go to pull the breakers the bussing can come a long with it. This will surely get your attention. I will almost always pull out the meter before attempting to service a Zinsco panel. Some of the panels also have a bar above the breakers that I think was used to lock in the breakers.
I have found this to be a real pain in the butt since you have to be aware it is there. Usually I will remove that if possible to help make removal and replacement of breakers easier. One other tip is to work the breakers side to side to remove them if possible. If there is burning on the bussing this will assist with breaker removal as the bussing can form large aluminum oxide deposits and lock in the breakers.
Prying on the breaker will sometimes break them or in some cases the breaker case is already busted. Not sure if anyone has noticed too but the mini Zinsco breakers will sometimes have a tab on them which can prove almost impossible to release the wire from the breaker.
My best advice is to pull the breakers including the main with the meter out. You can then run your fingers lightly along the buss bars on the top and bottom and feel for burrs or divots in the bussing.
If the burning is severe it will be obvious. I then recommend filing of bad spots or in the case of full size Zinsco breakers you can remove the screw on the bottom of the breaker and switch the buss clip from an A phase to a B phase.
If they are on a split circuit you would just want to make sure that you keep the A B phasing to prevent overloads on the neutral wire. I will then install Nolox grease on the bussing top and bottom. Zinsco panel problems are myth Specific Inspection Topics. Electrical Inspections. Just add AFCI upsteam of the breakers.It was a very popular product and installed throughout North America.
Production was halted when design flaws were discovered. However, previously purchased panels were still being installed for a time after that.
The deficiencies that became evident were serious enough to be considered both a fire and electrical shock risk. Panels were known to fail, while still conducting power.
The overall design of the panel includes aluminum bus bars, which are subject to corrosion and overheating as energy demands increase. Once a breaker becomes taxed, subsequently melting to the bus bar, there is an inability of the breaker to adequately trip, and power continues to surge into the panel and associated downline circuits.
At this point, the panel is not able to be shut off manually and power is continuing to be supplied to the panel until the service can be terminated or wires melted.
4 Outdated and Unsafe Electrical Panels That Could be Hiding in Your Home
It has also been suggested that a listing by Underwriters Laboratories UL would never have been allowed had they been given correct data in testing. Even if an electrician tells you, he can replace parts, it would be wise to still opt for total panel replacement.
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InMartin bought the company from his father and renamed it Zinsco Electric. Almost immediately, Zinsco began development of new panel and circuit breaker designs, with patent applications dating back to The first Zinsco panels contained copper bus-bars and copper breaker clips. These early breakers employed copper bus-clips, which matched the copper bus-bars in these panels.
Prior to World War IIthe only permissible electrical conductors were copper, gold, and silver. A copper shortage during the war promoted code changes. Although aluminum was initially expensive to manufacture, advancements in the processing and production of aluminum wire made it available by and it was added to the National Electrical Code. Inthe Korean War would cause another major copper shortage in the U.
Although some companies, such as FPE and Square-D, continued to use an all-copper design, other manufacturers switched to an aluminum alloy for bus bars and breakers. Zinsco would remain with copper in both their panels and breakers until the third major copper shortage in the early s, when they would switch to an aluminum bus.
InZinsco introduced the R twin breaker, which was the only twin circuit breaker that also made contact on both bus-bars for volts in a single breaker space. This made the Zinsco brand hugely popular with contractors and millions of Zinsco service panels and load centers were installed through the 60s and 70s.
Inthe line changed names again, and was re-labeled Challenger. ByGTE-Sylvania divested itself of the electrical distribution business and sold off its product lines and manufacturing facilities. The Challenger line, mostly manufactured at the time in Jackson, Mississippi, was sold to a former officer of GTE, who used the Challenger name as the name of his new company, Challenger Electrical Equipment Corporation.
The new Challenger Brand immediately ceased production of any new Zinsco frame panels and load-centers, but still produced the re-branded Zinsco circuit breaker line. Challenger concentrated on a new line of panel equipment using the same bus configuration proven with Murray, Crouse-Hinds, and others. But, from untilthe amp service panels used a Zinsco frame main breaker. Challenger flourished through the 80s, and was eventually received by Westinghouse in a multi-asset deal, in order for Westinghouse to sell its remaining electrical manufacturing facilities to Eaton Corporation in Today, Connecticut Electric continues making Zinsco replacement aluminum bus kits and breakers.
The copper shortage of the s was primarily caused by the US government, which had huge contracts out, many of which were for air-conditioning, requiring over a million new copper coils. This action depressed the market of available copper for other manufacturing needs and promoted the first real demand for aluminum NM cable. When Zinsco changed to an aluminum bus, the aluminum selected was Alloy First developed inAlloy is a good conductor, a hard aluminum, and still a popular alloy for welding today.
But inanother aluminum alloy was developed: InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website. This Zinsco electrical panel article discusses the electrical, fire, and shock hazards associated with Zinsco electrical components, circuit breakers, electrical panels, including certain Sylvania electrical panels and breakers which are in fact of the same product design and origin. We include advice on how to identify Zinsco, Sylvania Zinsco, and Kearney electrical panels and circuit breakers, and repair or replacement advice for those products.
Independent testing of Zinsco breakers confirms failures. How should Zinsco panels be repaired: electrical panel replacement alternatives, What are the typical costs to replace a Zinsco or Zinsco-Sylvania Electrical Panel? Zinsco and Zinsco-Sylvania circuit breakers of the design described here do not offer the level of overcurrent and fire protection provided by most other electrical panels and circuit breakers.
Watch out : OPINION: we do not recommend installing "replacement" Zinsco circuit breakers as there some indications that the performance and safety of those devices may be poor. Limited test results reported by Dr. A circuit breaker whose bus connection burns can lead to overheating damage to the circuit breaker itself, rendering it non-functional.
A very small sample of UBI-brand replacement circuit breakers for Zinsco panels also failed to trip. Photo at page top of a burned and failed Zinsco main circuit breaker, courtesy of J.
Simmons - Mr. Simmons adds: "In this case the failure damaged the main wire to a mobile home also you can see the melted wire to the left of the main. This is a good example of why I do not like to see anyone remove these breakers.
You can not tell how bad they are damaged by looking at them. With the exception of the more seriously failing FPE Stab-Lok electrical panels, we have not received any significant number of field failure reports concerning other electrical panel brands that also use aluminum parts and that are or were priced in the same range as Zinsco.
Where Zinsco electrical panels and Zinsco circuit breakers are in use, arcing, contact-point burn, and even circuit breaker case blow-out have been observed in the field. We do not have statistically solid data that supports an unequivocal argument to replace Zinsco electrical panels. However, based on field reports to-date and preliminary tests, where Zinsco and Zinsco-Sylvania electrical panels are discovered in buildings a homeowner should consider replacing the panel to reduce fire and shock hazards and owners should be careful to avoid overloading their electrical circuits where this equipment is installed.
Building owners or electricians encountering problems with this equipment are asked to contact us to add that information to our electrical failure data base in an effort to develop accurate safety information which is then shared with appropriate federal and state agencies. Thanks to Mr. James Simmons, a licensed electrician with extensive field experience and the contributor of most of the photos and case reports at this web page.
Our photo above left illustrates a burned-up electrical receptacle whose circuit was protected by a Zinsco circuit breaker that failed to trip and in fact had burned itself in the panel.Electrical Service Change For Zinsco Panel, NEC Code & City Permit Requirements- Part 1
This document includes field reports of failures and additional anecdotal evidence. Lots of other licensed electricians are also qualified to replace electrical panels; it's best if your electrician is one who is familiar with this issue.Both Zinsco and Sylvania electric panels have been recalled and deemed obsolete. To better protect you and your family, inspect your electric panel today to ensure it is not one that is known to catch fire and threaten the well-being of those you care about the most.
If you are in the market to buy a home in the greater Portland area, conducting a thorough inspection of the electrical panel and electrical system to ensure there is not a Zinsco and Sylvania electric panel is crucial in making a sound property investment. Zinsco panels are also known as Magnetrip panels as well.
If you are unsure of the type of electrical panel your prospective home has, give us a call and we would be happy to conduct a pre-purchase electrical inspection to give you peace of mind. Zinsco electrical equipment is extremely dangerous because of its tendency for overheating. There are structural issues with the breaker contact points that cause Zinsco electrical panels to overheat resulting in fire.
These electrical panels have been abandoned by the industry, and it is difficult to find an electrician that will service this panel.
Any reputable electrician will insist on its removal and replacement because of the huge risk of keeping it within your property.
Zinsco and Sylvania Electrical Panels
One sure sign that your electrical panel is dangerous is by the presence of soot outside of the panel. The presence of soot indicates a breaker blow out which could have easily started a fire. If you notice blown out breakers, or soot present in or around your breaker box, call a licensed electrician to remove the hazard promptly. Zinsco, Sylvania and Magnetrip panels are highly dangerous and should only be removed and replaced by an experienced electrician.
Failure to remove one of these hazardous electrical panels could result in fire and major catastrophe. Call Now Call now for a free estimate! Zinsco and Sylvania Electrical Panels. Inspect Your Sylvania Electrical Panel If you are in the market to buy a home in the greater Portland area, conducting a thorough inspection of the electrical panel and electrical system to ensure there is not a Zinsco and Sylvania electric panel is crucial in making a sound property investment.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Financing by:.Key: AdminGlobal ModMod. Print Thread. A friend had a house inspection done on a house she bought. She asked me to review the results. I noticed that the inspector recommended that the electrical panel be replaced because it's a Zinsco from and has been recalled. Anybody have any info on this? How can I check this out?
Thanks, Bob. Bob there was never an official recall on them, but there's plenty of documented problems with them. I've had breakers fall right out at me when taking off the panel, not a good thing.
I'd suggest she follow the inspectors advice and have it replaced. Here's a link to a previous thread that has another link to a previous thread in it. This should provide you will plenty of info about them.
I followed Dora's thread links and started to get that sinking feeling. I knew I had heard of Zinsco somewhere. I just took a look and sure enough I have a Zinsco outdoor panel on the back wall of my house. The only marking I found was a metal label that said Zinsco What does that mean? Should I be worried? This house was built in Sorry, I don't mean to kidnap this thread but I think I might have a parallel issue. Sounds like a 60 amp panel housing 22 breakers.
FEDERAL PACIFIC AND ZINSCO PANEL RECALL ALERTS. ARE YOU AT RISK?
Don't know what types of loads this panel supplies but to know whether it's safe or not would require testing. Like anything there's never a problem until there is. Just not worth the risk in my opinion. In case you need more evidence take a look.
Guess you need to weigh the consequences.InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website. Here we provide contact information for Zinsco and Zinsco Sylvania electrical panels. This website discusses the electrical, fire, and shock hazards associated with Zinsco electrical components, circuit breakers, electrical panels, including certain Sylvania electrical panels and breakers which are in fact of the same product design and origin.
Zinsco warranty claims Contact : we are unaware of any recall or warranty coverage that is available for Zinsco electrical equipment.
For Zinsco Electrical Panel replacement and replacement options that may save you some money, see. Zinsco Electric is not a going concern and it is unlikely that readers will find direct contact information for "the Zinsco Corporation".
As Zinsco products were later marketed through the Osram Sylvania Electric Corporation, and GTE-Sylvania and because we've had occasional requests from prior employees of Zinsco Corporation or their families for assistance in contacting their prior employer or for employment records, we provide, below, contact information for the Sylvania Corporation.
Readers should be aware that information and photographs describing failures of GTE-Sylvania-Zinsco equipment pertain only to that product line and not to other GTE or Sylvania products. Corporate Website for Sylvania Corporation: www. Zinsco or Sylvania Employment Records, Pensions, or other employment records: most companies keep employee records indefinitely.
Even if you or a family member worked for Zinsco Corp. You should contact Sylvania with any such requests for employment information. Try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
Just ask us! Share this article. Search the InspectApedia website. Tel: Email: info carsondunlop. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.