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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Brandon, MS
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    Default Recalled breakers

    This service panel was extremely rusted along the bottom so I did not remove the dead front. There was no label on the panel and I could barely make out one of the breakers as a GET brand. Can anyone tell me from the pics if the panel or any of the breakers look like recalled brands? This is a duplex built in 1981. There were no sub-panels.

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Recalled breakers

    If it's an official consumer product recall, I can submit a model number or other identifier through my system (RecallChek- it has everything that has ever been recalled and installed in a home)- but if all of the identifying marks are gone, you're definitely going above and beyond for this client!


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Brandon, MS
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    Default Re: Recalled breakers

    Thanks, I'm just looking for something to give the client as she was not happy that I did not remove the dead front and determine if there was any aluminum branch wiring. There wasn't much to go on


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Osceola, AR
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    Default Re: Recalled breakers

    Breakers appear to be GTE\Sylvania\Zinsco breakers. Try this page for some info
    Circuit Breaker Problems
    Be warned though, when you start researching this you will have a ton of other pages to refer to for further info. You should end up with plenty of good reasons to back up you not removing the cover.

    Last edited by Alton Darty; 05-24-2012 at 01:51 PM.
    Alton Darty
    ATN Services, LLC
    www.arinspections.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Brandon, MS
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    Default Re: Recalled breakers

    I'll add that page to my favorites - some good information.


  6. #6
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    Mar 2007
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    Knoxville, TN
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    Default Re: Recalled breakers

    Why didn't you remove the dead front cover? Just curious.


  7. #7
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    Dec 2007
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    Default Re: Recalled breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Feldmann View Post
    Why didn't you remove the dead front cover? Just curious.
    The exterior combo meter base/service panel design is such that as you try to rotate the cover out it can come into contact with the lugs. Nice little fireworks show.
    The interior units (as this one appears to be) will often have buzzing breakers, cover will show hot when checking with IR thermometer, cover may be discolored from overheating breakers, Zinscos have an aluminum busbar and often the breakers are either burned away from the bus or they are welded to it.

    I often pull these covers (the interior panels, not the combo panels), but with extreme care, and only after checking the panel as closely as possible beforehand. I have serviced a number of these panels over the years, and got a lot of looks at these panels in my 28 years as a firefighter. They were a poor design and of shoddy manufacture.
    Really no need to pull the covers, there are a lot of fires that are attributed to this brand panel, tons of issues with the breakers and busbar and there is plenty of information around to recommend replacement of the panel.

    Alton Darty
    ATN Services, LLC
    www.arinspections.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Default Re: Recalled breakers

    Alton, I am familiar with Zinsco breakers and panels. I was curious why Sean did not remove the cover. You said yourself that you remove covers from time to time. I do as well.

    His client was upset because he didn't check for the presence of aluminum wiring. I think I would be too, considering it is in the SOP of most if not all HI organizations and States that are licensed. If he didn't want to pull the panel cover, then he should have at least made an attempt to determine if there was aluminum wiring in the house.

    I have no problems with someone NOT pulling a cover if there is a real and present danger. But just to say that Zinsco panels are bad, so there's no reason to pull the cover is looking for problems in my opinion.


  9. #9
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    Aug 2011
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    Brandon, MS
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    Default Re: Recalled breakers

    There was evidence of water entering the panel as you can see in this picture; that's why I didn't remove the cover.

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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Default Re: Recalled breakers

    We are not obliged to do anything we feel is unsafe.
    However, what Jack is saying, you could have pulled a receptacle cover or two, such as a light switch cover, and checked for Al.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    Brandon, MS
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    Default Re: Recalled breakers

    There was copper visible where plates were missing, but that doesn't give you the big picture and can't use that as a basis to say what the branch wiring is


  12. #12
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    Mar 2007
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    Ridgewood, NJ
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    Default Re: Recalled breakers

    Aluminum wiring for branch circuits, built in 1981? I would highly doubt it.


  13. #13
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Recalled breakers

    1981 should be well past the AL NM era. Heck NM-B with the 90 degree insulation starting in 1984.

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  14. #14
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    Mar 2007
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    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Recalled breakers

    The only "recall" on those panels is: "As I recall ... those panels need to be replaced because the breakers have a well known tendency to arc and burn the bus bars, to burn the bus bars in half, and to weld the breakers to the bus bars. Those problems and other problems related to those panels can be 'fire starters', and you would not want a 'fire starter' like that in your house."

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Recalled breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by neal lewis View Post
    Aluminum wiring for branch circuits, built in 1981? I would highly doubt it.
    Agreed. Aluminum branch wiring went out about '73 or '74. I've seen some houses as late as '76 where the electrician used it for a few circuits apparently just to get rid of it. By the looks of that panel, I wouldn't have pulled the cover either.

    MinnesotaHomeInspectors.com
    Minnesota Home Inspectors LLC
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  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Maryland
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    Default Re: Recalled breakers

    Sean,
    Did you test to see if the cover or box was hot (energized) ? Energized box would be only reason other than screws so rusted that you could not get them loose not to remove cover. If you have electrical reservations get some insulating lineman's gloves. You never know what is lurking under the surface, unless it is a sub-panel .

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  17. #17

    Default Re: Recalled breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by Alton Darty View Post
    Breakers appear to be GTE\Sylvania\Zinsco breakers. Try this page for some info
    Circuit Breaker Problems
    Be warned though, when you start researching this you will have a ton of other pages to refer to for further info. You should end up with plenty of good reasons to back up you not removing the cover.
    Much like the NEC, referrals and exceptions abound. Makes my head spin trying to figure out what is right or wrong.

    True Professionals, Inc. Property Consultant
    877-466-8504

  18. #18
    cuba_pete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recalled breakers

    Here is my Zinsco our family finished replacing over the last few weeks.

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  19. #19
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    Dec 2011
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    Edmonton, AB
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    Default Re: Recalled breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by cuba_pete View Post
    Here is my Zinsco our family finished replacing over the last few weeks.
    Holy ****. And there was a house still standing to put a new panel into!?!


  20. #20
    cuba_pete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recalled breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Harbeck View Post
    Holy ****. And there was a house still standing to put a new panel into!?!
    Yes, unbelievably. Most family members thought we would have been better off if the whole thing had burned. We could have used the insurance money to build a new cabin.

    Here is a shot once we got the cover off and the wall gutted. It's mostly smoke damage outside of the box. There was arcing between the cover, the door, and the box to give you an idea of the current flow (200A service). The ground wire to the driven (steel pipe) ground was vaporized, as were a number of other (unintended) conductors. All of the circuits were off except the yard light. There was no damage to any branch in the house, though all home runs were replaced.

    It must have sounded awesome...even through the storm that night.

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  21. #21
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recalled breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by cuba_pete View Post
    Yes, unbelievably. Most family members thought we would have been better off if the whole thing had burned. We could have used the insurance money to build a new cabin.

    Here is a shot once we got the cover off and the wall gutted. It's mostly smoke damage outside of the box. There was arcing between the cover, the door, and the box to give you an idea of the current flow (200A service). The ground wire to the driven (steel pipe) ground was vaporized, as were a number of other (unintended) conductors. All of the circuits were off except the yard light. There was no damage to any branch in the house, though all home runs were replaced.

    It must have sounded awesome...even through the storm that night.
    I second the Holy ****. So was a lightning strike involved - - - I hope ?


  22. #22
    cuba_pete's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recalled breakers

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    I second the Holy ****. So was a lightning strike involved - - - I hope ?
    We were never able to pin down the exact cause, but all appearances indicated a simple surge and arc fault. The neighbor who shares the transformer in this rural area said he didn't experience anything. There was no damage indicating a lightning strike, but due to the amount of vaporized conductors it was a little difficult to say for sure. If it were a lighting strike entering the service I think we would have seen at least some damage to the meter. The only load for the entire house was the 100W mercury vapor yard light. There was a pretty bad snow/wind storm that night so I can only assume that there were some fluctuations in the power. There were some down lines due to limbs and icing in the area.


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