Marin County isn’t a new community. With the majority of houses constructed in the 1940‘s, 1950‘s, 1960’s, and 1970’s – there’s a lot of old electrical panels that are now obsolete and unsafe.

Quite often, there are warning signs that can let you know there are electrical problems brewing with your system. If you are seeing any of these symptoms give us a call immediately. A Divine Electric technician can update your electrical panel (and review the wiring) when you experience any of the following common electrical issues:

  • Appliances not running correctly or running at lower power
  • Appliances need to be switched out with each other and unplugged in order to run a different appliance
  • Small countertop appliances such as microwaves and automatic coffee makers can actually tax older electrical systems quite a bit because they draw so many amps
  • Melted electrical wires are never a good sign
  • Your system is frequently blowing out fuses
  • Your system is frequently tripping breakers
  • Your breakers are not tripping when they should

Are Zinsco and Sylvania Electrical Breaker Panels Safe?

In short, not at all. Essentially, all Zinsco and Sylvania breaker panels are totally obsolete today. They leave you at risk of electrocution and, even worse, home fires. What’s tricky about them is that they can work fine for years and never show any signs of danger, but all it takes is one wrong turn and they’ll start overheating, have issues with the increased energy demands of a modern home and suddenly portions of the panel are melting, catching fire and rendering your home in Fairfax rather unsafe. Usually, these panels will melt from extreme heat exposure, all the way up to the bus bar of the panel. Once this occurs, it will no longer be able to trip in the event of an overcurrent or a short circuit. A huge electrical surge will course throughout the home’s wire and overtax the wires, panels and circuits. Once that occurs, it will be impossible to turn off the electricity manually and it will eventually have to burn out until it runs out of fuel or burns straight through all of your home’s wiring.

Identify Your Sylvania or Zinsco and Give Us a Call

The specific thing wrong with Sylvania and Zinsco is that their bus and breaker designs are faulty, but it’s not as if you can spot that with the naked eye unless the breaker has already overheated and started to melt, then you can make an educated guess that it’s merely one of the volatile electrical breakers. To begin your search, we recommend looking for the brand name. Sylvanias of all kinds should be checked out. In general, it’s usually Sylvania branded circuit breakers with the GTE-Zinsco circuit breakers that are the most worrisome, but it’s best to get an older circuit breaker checked anyway. When you’re attempting to identify a Zinsco, please remember that you do not need to open up the circuit breaker, in fact, we’d caution you not to do that. If you open the door, you’ll likely get shocked. Divine Electric Norcal would like to encourage you to reach out to us individually and schedule a safety consultation. The connection between the breakers and bus bar is almost never solid and the bus bar corrodes too easily. Please don’t assume your own safety, we’re happy to come out and do a professional safety council even if we don’t end up helping you replace your breaker because we care about your safety. Please reach out to us, and schedule a safety consultation today if you think your Sylvania breaker was installed between the 1950s and 1990s.

Don’t just take out word for it!  There have been a number of studies regarding some of the Zinsco / Sylvania electrical panels and breakers installed in houses within the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.