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Zinsco panel on first Inspection


strawman
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Here I go......

On my very first paid inspection. Cool, at least I'm not bored. What do you all think of this. Needin' some insight for my own edification. Recommended to client to have professional electrician evaluate and upgrade as needed.[:-graduat

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Rough 1st inspection – geeezzz. It won't be me who does the edification – cuz I ain’t never seen one of them dare contraptions- but I'm eager to see what the electric-gurus have to say. It is stuff like this that makes TIJ so awesome, everyone benefits – everyone learns from each other questions. I have often returned from an inspection, posted a picture and question and usually receive helpful info while I’m sitting writing the report.

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I'd have to see cover off right panel but I think (that usually means trouble) all may be well. That is a little transformer under the service conductors. I saw one of these set ups a long time ago, spent a long time on it checking what went where, sizes etc., and it was OK. You are right on for sending it to a shocker though if you are not sure. Try to be there when he is there and learn what you can. Why update if it is functioning as intended with no hazards observed.

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Hi,

That's a Magnatrip. Besides the fact that it's a Zinsco and is considered the Corvair of the electrical world, it's about 40 years old and it's time to replace it.

Yep, they'll color coded and, yep, they do come with single main disconnects.......sometimes.

Most of the older Magnatrips have copper bus bars and then somewhere around the mid-60's they went to an aluminum bus. Do you remember what this one had?

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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This is the secondary water heater, and electrical controls for each radiator in every room of the home. There was one thermostat but each radiator was electricly controlled....Hey, this was my first inspection and at this point I was feeling a bit puzzled. The local plumber who has worked on the system for years verified that every little thing works great and the house felt very evenly heated.

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It all looks a little strange; whether or not it heats evenly, well, it probably does, but I'd have to say a little something about the system being a "homemade" system that probably has it's idiosyncracies.

IOW, it doesn't plug into any industry standard I'm familar with. Try to keep it in mind when writing reports that someday you may have to justify what you said in court. Homemade systems worked on by the local plumber usually don't "hold up in court".

(Also, that green tile looks like 9x9 asbestos; was it?)

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Yet again, TIJ proves to be worth its weight in gold (and this is one heavy forum). It's like hitting the information lottery jackpot every single day.

Ya click on a topic, innocently open the pics someone has posted, and, as an impending sense of doom wells over you, you scratch your head and mutter, "What the [:-censore?!"

Off you go to give yourself a crash course in obscure electrical set-ups [:-dunce] (or any other systems, for that matter), and by the time you come back-BLAM! There it is: answers that may have taken you days to find (if at all), neatly packaged for your consumption (Hats off to ya, Mike O'). And, for dessert, an interesting tidbit regarding the floor tiles (nice catch, Kurt [:-magnify).

At this point, a person could either thank their lucky stars for having access to this forum [:-party], or begin to feel a little [:-bigeyes inadequate, perhaps? Hang tough, strawman[:-thumbu].

"BE a good one, or don't be one."

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Yup, this is one good place to fill up on info.

I did atttempt to cover myself on both of these "unique" systems in my report by pointing out that they were indeed unusual and, by select language, I just slightly avoided excluding them altogether. I recommended in both cases to consult with lic. electrician and lic. plumber. And I thank you Kurt, for the heads up on asbestos tile. Made mention of it in the report and at the inspection. and thank you James for the encouragement.

"It's not our differences that divide us,

it's our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences."

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Originally posted by pi

I'd have to see cover off right panel but I think (that usually means trouble) all may be well. That is a little transformer under the service conductors. I saw one of these set ups a long time ago, spent a long time on it checking what went where, sizes etc., and it was OK.

While I've never seen ones that looked like this, it might be a current transformer. The small wires would lead to the meter which would read the power consumption at a fractional level.

You are right on for sending it to a shocker though if you are not sure. Try to be there when he is there and learn what you can. Why update if it is functioning as intended with no hazards observed.

The fact that it's Zinsco equipment is enough of a hazard. This was terrible equipment and is nearly universally reviled in the electrical world.

Just because it isn't actually on fire when you're looking at it doesn't mean that it's ok. How do you know that it's functioning as intended? Can you see whether or not there are scorched spots on the bus bars? (extremely common with the Zinsco design) Can you see whether or not the breakers will trip when they should? (a common fault (heh, heh) of Zinsco breakers) Can you see that the bus connections arc on certain breakers when they draw a high load?

Zinsco equipment doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt.

- Jim in Oregon

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  • 2 weeks later...

The following information may be of some help in formulating report language with regard to FPE and ZINSCO panelboards. The term "ADEVRSE CONDITION(S) "is in bold caps because it is a glossary term from a comprehensive Pid="size4">ROSid="size4">PEX inspection report glossary.

THIS WRITTEN WORK PRODUCT CONTAINS SUGGESTIONS FOR CONSIDERATION BY Pid="size4">ROSid="size4">PEX SUBSCRIBERS AND IS NOT INTENDED AS OR REPRESENTED AS LEGAL ADVICE OR LEGAL OPINION OF ANY KIND WHATSOEVER NOR IS IT TO BE CONSIDERED OR CONSTRUED AS SUCH.

Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) and Zinsco Electrical Equipment

Professional home inspectors are not required to address issues pertaining to product safety testing or product recalls. However, over the course of the development of the home inspection profession knowledge regarding certain products and the potential for specific failure issues relevant to those products has become what many inspectors consider to be “common knowledgeâ€

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  • 1 month later...

For those interested,

The great grandchild of the founder of the Zinsco company has just posted some information to the Mike Holt site that explains how the company was founded. Understandably, the person who supplied the information doesn't appreciate her forebearer's company name being trashed.

Here's the link: http://www.mikeholt.com/newsletters.php ... tterID=298

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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