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Zinsco Panels: A Hidden Fire Hazard in Your Home

Zinsco Panels

At Lehigh Valley Electric, keeping our community safe is our top priority. Today, we want to address a potential electrical hazard lurking in some Allentown, PA homes: Zinsco electrical panels.

What are Zinsco Panels?

Zinsco or GTE/Sylvania panels were a popular brand of electrical panels installed in homes throughout the 1970s. While Zinsco is no longer in business, many homes built during that era still have these outdated panels.

Why are Zinsco Panels Dangerous?

The biggest concern with Zinsco panels is a faulty design in the circuit breakers. These breakers can overheat and melt to the main “bus bar,” the component that distributes power throughout your home. When this happens, the breaker loses its ability to trip, which is its critical safety function.

Imagine this scenario: There's a short circuit in your wiring. Normally, the breaker would trip, cutting off power and preventing a fire. But with a faulty Zinsco breaker, the power continues to flow through the overloaded circuit. This can cause wires to overheat, melt, and ignite, posing a serious fire risk to your home and family.

How to Identify a Zinsco Panel:

There are a few ways to identify if you have a Zinsco panel:

  • Look for the name "Zinsco" printed anywhere on the panel itself. This is a clear sign it needs to be replaced.
  • Check the breaker handles. Zinsco breakers often have multi-colored handles, unlike the standard single-color handles found on modern panels.
  • Be aware that some GTE/Sylvania or Sylvania panels are simply rebranded Zinsco panels with the same dangerous design. These should also be replaced.

However, it's important to note that not all Sylvania or GTE-Sylvania branded panels are problematic. If you have one of these panels, it's best to have a qualified electrician inspect it to determine if it contains the faulty Zinsco design.

Why You Should Hire a Professional:

While the signs above can help you identify a potential Zinsco panel, a thorough inspection by a licensed electrician is crucial. A professional can definitively identify the panel type and assess its condition. Additionally, replacing a Zinsco panel requires specialized knowledge and experience to ensure the new panel is installed safely and according to code.

Don't wait for a disaster! If you suspect you have a Zinsco panel in your home, contact Lehigh Valley Electric today for a professional inspection and replacement. Our team of certified electricians will ensure your home's electrical system is safe and up-to-date, giving you peace of mind. Remember, your safety is our top priority.