Zinsco, Sylvania-Zinsco electrical panels are known in the home inspection industry to be problematic. In fact, Zinsco is one of two brands of electrical panels that home inspectors are warned about in home inspection training courses to be aware of and inform clients about.
To identify these panels, look for the words “Zinsco,” “Magnetrip” or the characteristic red, green, and blue toggles on circuit breakers. Issues include failure of the circuit breaker to trip on overcurrent, arcing and burn-ups at the breaker-to-panel bus bar connection and circuit breaker burn-ups.
The majority of modern electricians aren’t familiar with these panels, which were installed in the 1940s through 1980s, so it’s important to have these panels further evaluated by an electrician familiar with Zinsco panels and their history. While the wiring inside an older panel may appear perfectly fine, I believe these panels should be replaced (better safe than sorry).
In fact, were I buying a home with a Zinsco panel, it would be the first thing I’d have replaced. In 2012, the city of Napa, Calif., actually required replacement of Zinsco main service panels. Here’s a link with more information about Zinsco electrical panels you might find interesting, https://inspectapedia.com/electric/Zinsco_Electrical_Panels.php.
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