There are quite a few obsolete breaker brands still in use in Greenville, SC. Most notably for Greenville is a brand named Zinsco, which Duke Power infamously installed in single family homes for free during the 1960s & 1970s. Other dangerous and problematic breaker brands include Federal Pacific, Bulldog & ITE, Pushmatic. And, of course, the old screw-in fuses are electrical safety hazards all to their own. If you have any of these devices installed in your home, it is imperative that you call a home electrical repair company like Upstate Electrical Solutions to have a licensed electrician replace them.
Fire Safety is the issue with these breakers, and this is not something to be taken lightly. It is estimated that the Zinsco Breakers have a 60% failure rate, compared to the industry standard of 0.01%. At first glance the breaker appears to be in working order, and who would think otherwise? After all, they have been working just fine for the past 50 years, why fix what isn’t broken? The real problem shows itself when an aging home starts to have electrical issues, and more and more load demands are placed on the electrical system. Electrical shorts will happen and overloads will occur because the electrical system in a home built in the 60s was never intended to run all the appliances and devices we enjoy today. When the unexpected short circuit happens or the overload occurs, it is the circuit breakers job to open the circuit, preventing any more electricity from flowing. But with a 60% failure rate, the Zinsco breaker cannot be trusted to prevent an electrical fire.
The Zinsco® and Zinsco-Sylvania® brand electrical panels used the Stab-Lok® design, which proved to have serious design flaws including breakers fusing to the electrical panel's bus bar - making it impossible to remove defective breakers for replacement. The internal breaker contracts fusing together, rendering the breaker ineffective because it can no longer open the circuit in an overload or short-circuit situation.
It is estimated that breaker brands like Zinsco and Federal Pacific may be reasonable for as many as 2,800 electrical rated fires each year in the United States. Because of these alarming number, some insurance companies will not cover homes with Zinco or Federal Pacific electrical panels and breakers installed. If you are thinking about purchasing an older home in Greenville, SC, consider getting a home electrical inspection. To schedule an Electrical Safety Inspection, please call Upstate Electrical Solutions at 864-834-9955 and one of our licensed electricians will check your home for defective breakers, out of date electrical panels, and any other electrical code violations that can put your home at risk.
Related Article: Do Arc Fault Breakers Prevent Electrical Fires?