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Zinsco electrical panels and New Jersey Home inspections

By : John Martino | In : Home Inspections

One very important aspect of your Morris County Home Inspection is to inspect for unsafe electrical panels. Zinsco electrical panels were installed through out the United States up until the late 1970‘s. These panels are more prone to overheating then other electrical panel boxes. Zinsco panels may not offer the same over current protection as other electrical panels. As with Federal Pacific electrical panels Zinsco panels may work fine for many years before developing problems. I do find many of these Zinsco electrical panels while performing Morris County Home Inspections.

Overheating is the big problem with these electrical panels. As more and more energy is demanded from the electrical service of the home the panels may be prone to overheating. Zinsco circuit breakers have been known to melt too the bus bars. When the circuit breaker melts it can not trip when an over current develops. Surging electrical current will continue to enter the circuit until the wires melt, when the wires melt or burn up a house fire can be the result.

The main cause of the circuit breaker failure and subsequent melting is that the circuit breakers in these panels are not tightly secured to the bus bars. Electrical arcing can develop thus leading to overheating of the circuit breakers. There have also been some data to support the aluminum components in the panel box also contribute to the high failure rate.

Two other major failures also can exist. The breakers can fail to trip in response to an over current condition. The breaker may not cut power to the circuit event in the off position, this can lead to electric shock. The best way to deal with this type of electrical panel is to replace it.

There are several tell tail signs of a Zinsco electrical panel that we will be inspecting for while performing all New Jersey Home Inspections. The first thing to look for is the Zinsco foil label in the interior of the panel box. There is also usually a small Zinsco label on the circuit breakers themselves. The word “magnetrip” is also usually found at the top interior of the panel box. These panel box labels may also say Sylvania or Kearney. In any event if you are not sure if your home has a Zinsco electrical panel you should have the panel box inspected by a licensed electrical contractor. If you do have one of these panels it is in you best interests to replace it with a panel box that meets all modern standards for electrical and fire safety.

It is imperative that you get a licensed professional to perform your NJ home inspection. The home inspector will look for these and many other electrical defects that could compromise your family’s safety.

John Martino (64 Posts)

LookSmart Home Inspections, LLC is owned and operated by John Martino. He has successfully performed over 3000 inspections for clients throughout northern and central NJ and has an exemplary track record of customer satisfaction. Mr. Martino completed a 300-hour approved NJ Home Inspector training program and was mentored by one of the most respected names in NJ home inspections. He continues to attend over 30 hours of continuing education classes each year.


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Buying a house is one of life’s biggest decisions. Before you close, you’ll want a professional inspection of the house to ascertain its true condition. John Martino is a formally trained New Jersey home inspector and member of the American Society of Home Inspectors...ReadMore