Is My Electrical Panel Safe? A Look at Zinsco Panels

up close visual of rusty pipes

Zinsco or GTE-Sylvania panels are popular in homes made in the 70s. The brand has now become obsolete but many homes still have these panels. There are several risks associated with the use of panels in today’s age. What are those? Let’s discuss.

What makes them unsafe?

The circuit breaker in the Zinsco panels can melt and cling to the main bus bars which stop them from tripping even when there is a short circuit or an overload in the circuit. So, whenever there is a short circuit or a power surge, the power cables can melt and make the problem worse. This can even result in a house fire.

How to tell if you have one?

The name Zinsco on the panel is a clear sign that you need to change it. Moreover, many GTE-Sylvania or Sylvania panels are more or less like Zinsco panels, rebranded or having the same problems present in the Zinsco design. These need to be replaced too.

However, not all GTE and Sylvania-branded panels are problematic. Therefore, if you have one, you need to hire an electrician, who will inspect and tell you if there are problems with the design or not.

If you own a house that was built before 1990, there is a high chance that you have one of these outdated electrical panels somewhere inside the house.

According to an expert, Zinsco circuit breakers are prone to failing 25% of the time in response to a short circuit or a situation of a surge in the current.

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