If you live in an old home, chances are the electrical units in the home are old as well. This includes the electrical panels themselves. A company from the 30’s, Zinsco, was a popular manufacturer for electric panels in homes. In the present time, if you have these panels in your home, you are in serious need of an upgrade!
Zinsco became a household name with their electrical panels installed in most homes in the 70’s. To tell if this type of panel lurks in your home, it’s very obvious to spot. The Zinsco brand labels the panel, leaving no question who the manufacturer was. Be wary of many GTE-Sylvania or Sylvania panels, as they can be re-branded Zinsco panels and cause the same problems.
What exactly is the issue with these older panels? Besides the fact that they’re outdated and don’t run as efficiently as an updated model, they hold a high danger risk. “The circuit breakers inside many Zinsco panels melt to the main ‘bus bar.' This means the breaker can’t ever trip, even when there’s a short or overloaded circuit” (energytoday.biz). What this means is eventually a surge could cause power wires to melt and catch the entire home on fire. That is one of the biggest risks to take in keeping an old, outdated electrical panel in your home. One spark could be the last.
Ultimately, if you live in an older home (anything built before the 1990’s), it would be a wise decision to have an electrician check the electrical panels in your home. A Zinsco panel is an obsolete model that cannot handle the amount of electricity used in a modern household. The risk of electrical fire and shock are very high if the use of the Zinsco brand panel is continued to be used. An updated electrical panel may cost a bit more now than it did back then but proves to be well worth it in the end.