Do you still have a panel made by this brand and are wondering what breakers are compatible with Zinsco? The best answer to this is to not even look for one, because it’s highly likely that you won’t see an updated Zinsco breaker compatibility chart anymore. Nor is it likely that there is a dedicated Zinsco circuit breaker for your panel still available.
This brand is no longer considered safe by local codes due to the relatively poor historical performance of its panels. It’s prone to fail to trip, so you’re practically exposing your home to electrical and fire hazards if you continue using it. I recommend you replace the panel or, if you’re budget-constrained, replace it with a brand-new breaker that’s compatible with the panel and meets UL standards.
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Why Zinsco Panels and Circuit Breakers Are Considered Dangerous
There may have been a time when Zinsco replacement breakers would have been completely viable (though not necessarily safe), but that’s long gone. Mind you, that time would have been around the 1960s or early 1970s, back when Zinsco was actually still an independent manufacturer.
Simply put, these breakers, whether it’s a 125-amp Zinsco breaker or something with a lower or higher capacity, often fail to trip. Think of cases that involve double-pole breakers tripping, but only one pole trips and remains engaged while its counterpart doesn’t.
Others don’t trip even after you run more than 135% to 200% of its current capacity for hours! That’s a crucial fact because modern standards require breakers to be able to handle those loads. They’re even religiously tested for it in the US.
Does your Zinsco breaker contain melted-off parts yet don’t recall any instance when it tripped the electrical system? There’s no better sign of poor-quality breakers than that. Plus, it won’t hurt to check if the breakers are actually seated well because that’s another common issue with the breakers associated with this brand.
Now, do you see why it’s not at all smart to look for Zinsco breaker replacements? Thankfully and for everyone’s sake, there are no longer Zinsco-made breakers available in the market today. Of course, that’s not stopping some unregulated stores from selling “alternatives”.
Don’t Fall for Bogus Marketers that Sell “Working Replacements”
While Zinsco panels support Sylvania breaker replacement and GTE Sylvania circuit breaker replacement, you need to be mindful of vendors that sell purportedly effective replacements under these brand names. They’re very likely fake.
Inspectapedia has already debunked these sellers’ claims in this highly informative post. I suggest you go over it as well since it lists down all the ersatz circuit breakers, with the slim chance that you still encounter them. That also serves to verify the information I also shared here.
The Only Breaker Brand I Will Recommend for Zinsco Panels
If you really have no choice and the old panel has to stay, exercise the utmost caution by choosing the ones made by Connecticut Electric. Why am I not afraid to recommend them? Because they possess the intellectual rights to the original Zinsco breaker design and have proactively done extra steps to ensure that they’re safe and meet modern-day UL standards.
The fact that they’re still fearlessly marketing Zinsco replacement breakers on their main site speaks volumes about their overall trustworthiness. Connecticut Electric is the closest we can get to a modern version of Zinsco, had it survived, so stick to them if you want breakers that are the most compatible with your Zinsco panel.
The Smartest Step Is to Replace the Entire Electrical Panel Altogether
After all, can you say with conviction that your house is 100% safe knowing that you’re still using an outdated panel? Just think of the possible extent of the damage once a fire occurs and the ensuing repair costs. You’ll only be saving more money in the long run if you do away with the panel.
What’s equally better is that Zinsco breaker replacement can be done by any homeowner and without the help of a professional electrician assuming the former has all the necessary know-how on how to handle electricity. If you want to do it yourself and need to familiarize yourself with the overall procedure, I recommend you watch this video first:
So, going over the main points of this post on what breakers are compatible with Zinsco, these are the guidelines and steps I suggest you keep in mind and take:
- Zinsco panels and breakers are outdated and have an inherently high risk of fires and electrocution.
- Opt only for breakers made by Connecticut Electric when replacing Zinsco breakers for they are far safer than any other questionable alternative out there.
- For your peace of mind, safety, and better cost-savings long-term, invest in updating your home’s panel.