What is Zinsco Panel & Should I Replace It?

panel upgradeZinsco panel, also known as Zinsco-Sylvania, is a popular product/panel and was in use until the mid-1970s. It is the name of an electrical panel brand and was common, especially in North America. The production of Zinsco Panels stopped after a few design flaws were observed; unfortunately, many other zinsco panels had already been installed at the time.

What’s with the Zinsco Panels?

Home inspectors and electricians were the first ones to notice the Zinsco panel would often fail to work properly and could cause an electrical shock or fire to homeowners and homes, respectively.

The interesting thing about the Zinsco Panel is that it can work fine for years, but begin to overheat or melt if the energy demands of the homes increase. Experts have warned that the panels may become hazardous and pose a serious threat to home and homeowners’ safety. This is when a panel upgrade is necessary.

An expert specifically warns that about twenty-five percent of Zinsco circuit breakers will most likely fail in response to a short circuit or overcurrent, and this is a serious risk.

You often do not see the problem with some Zinsco panels with your eyes, and it will generally seem like it is working fine, even when the cover is off. However, when the components of the panels are investigated, electricians see that the breakers and the bus bar cannot be separated. This means that both parts have joined, indicating a melted breakers. In such a state, it is almost impossible for the breaker to trip, and this may let in a dangerous amount of electricity into your home. If not discovered on time, this might lead to a fire hazard.

Why Do the Zinsco Panels Have this Issue?

According to experts, zinsco panels malfunction for two reasons:

  1. Design Flaws

Electricians have observed that there are indeed design flaws in the Zinsco circuit breaker panels. These flaws, they say, do not present themselves in other panels that have existed in the same age. Some of these design flaws include:

  • Easy corrosion of the bus bar
  • A not-so-solid connection between the bus bar and the breakers
  • The presence of aluminum in some panel components
  • Still conducts power, even when breakers seem to be off.
  1. Shortcomings Based on Current Safety Codes

In the mid ’70s, Zinsco panel productions halted. Since they were produced years ago, the panels would not get the current UL listing. Its sales would have stopped because it would not pass the safety codes that exist today. Whatever safety standards existed in those days is no longer seen as safe in modern times.

In conclusion, you should replace your Zinsco Panel for safety reasons. However, ensure that you do not do this yourself. Do not also try to take out the breakers to check if they have melted. Zinsco panels sometimes still conduct electricity even when they seem to be off, and this can get you electrocuted.

Let a licensed electrician handle all of it to avoid potential hazards.