If you own a home that was built in the 1970’s, there’s good chance that you have a Sylvania electric panel and it may be uninsurable. These popular electrical panels were installed in many homes under the now defunct brand name Zinsco. These panels were never replaced, in many cases, and are considered unsafe and an insurance risk.
Why is my Zinsco Sylvania Electrical Panel Uninsurable?
The Zinsco Sylvania circuit breakers have issues regarding how they are designed to trip. If there is an overloaded circuit or short, the breakers melt the main bar, known as the bus bar, therefore these panels can fail to trip at a much higher rate than other brands, causing a power surge and subsequent fire in the house wiring. In short, the Sylvania electrical panel doesn’t do its job, which is to protect the house wiring, therefore making it an insurance risk.
How can I be sure my electric panel is made by Zinsco or Sylvania?
Does it say Zinsco on the panel? If so, the wise thing to do is replace it. Some Sylvania panels were simply re-branded as Zinsco panels and have the same issues. If Zinsco appears on the unit it really should be replaced to avoid serious problems, not only with insurance but with the risk factor in your home. Fire is a devastating thing and your home wiring is one of the number one causes of home fires, particularly in older homes. Better safe than sorry.
It’s important to know that not all Sylvania and GTE-Sylvania brand electric panels are dangerous. Seek advice from a qualified, home inspector. He may want to call in an electrician for further inspection but they will be able to tell what is safe and what needs to be replaced.
If you are buying a home in Tampa Bay, remember that the proximity to the waters of the Gulf Coast of Florida brings a lot of humidity and rain. It’s important that you check for corrosion inside whatever electrical panel exists in the home. Get a qualified home inspector to look at all aspects of the home and be sure to ask him to remove the face cover of your electrical panel and do a full inspection. In reality, you should do a yearly inspection for corrosion even if the house has a brand new electrical panel.
At Affordable Inspection of Tampa Bay, we give you a full and complete inspection, as is required, and show you all the results so you know exactly what you are getting into with the home you are planning to buy. A home must be insurable if you are purchasing with a mortgage. No bank will allow for a mortgage on a home that’s a risk. It’s our job to make sure your home is not at such risk.
A qualified inspector will come out and do a full and complete inspection of the property you are considering purchasing and set your mind at ease as well as the insurance company and the bank. For an appointment call us at: 727.224.0837