Replacing Zinsco panels

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I posted here a few years ago about an issue with a breaker. Well we finally got around to having an electrician come look at doing the job. The house was built in 1967-8. My grandparents were the original owners. The main panel is a 100amp Zinsco with a 50amp sub upstairs. We have underground service that I discovered originates from a transformer/distribution box in the backyard of the house behind mine. We are planning on upgrading to a 200amp main, either Eaton CH or Square D, haven't really looked to see which will fit the best in our semi-flush mount. The upstairs subpanel is a vertical one and the electrician said he can get one of the retrofit kits that replaces all the guts while re-using the box so he doesn't have to take out and drywall. I am also having the electrician run a second subpanel to my office since I plan on putting a server setup in there. Also having a 208/240 outlet put in the garage for future plans of teaching myself how to weld. Also the house does not have GFCI or AFCI outlets which we will have to add in order for everything to be up to code. I went around with an outlet tester and the same outlets were showing "correct wiring" on one and "open ground" on the other. The electrician came out to check everything out on Friday and said he should get the estimate to me this week for all the work. He said a rough ballpark is in the 4-6K range with the big variable being the trenching required for the upgraded service and replacing any aluminum wiring he finds. He said that our power company, SoCal Edison, is currently taking about 4-5 weeks to come out and pull a meter and once that happens he will be at the house 2 maybe 3 days. He came highly recommended by a close family friend that is a master plumber as well as other trades people that have come into my work and have worked with him on projects. I told him I wanted everything permitted and up to code. My mom and I have been putting money aside for this and actually expected a lot higher.
 
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Sounds good. When it's all done check with your insurance company to see if there are discounts for the modern setup.
 

bdcardinal

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Zinsco are known for developing too large of a gap with the bus bar and then not tripping when they are supposed to, then causing a fire. This is something that even though it would be cheaper to have a friend help do it, I would rather done by an electrician and be fully permitted, especially here. I wasn't so much asking a question as finally updating a thread I started a long time ago. I also mentioned a whole home surge protector and the electrician said he has been installing more lately. He also said he had been getting a lot of calls from my neighborhood lately with similar complaints.
 
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Good call on getting rid of that pile of junk. Good to see you found an electrician that knows how to deal with alluminum wire.
 
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Originally Posted By: OilFilters
So glad I can do this stuff myself. Heck, I do it for fun. IMO electricians are overpaid...
Right.....this sound like a comment from a “it’s only 120volt” kind of guy.
 
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Originally Posted By: jhellwig
Originally Posted By: OilFilters
So glad I can do this stuff myself. Heck, I do it for fun. IMO electricians are overpaid...
Right.....this sound like a comment from a “it’s only 120volt” kind of guy.
You have no idea what you are talking about. You haven't got the slightest clue what I know or what my background is. *sigh* Changing a panel is easy...and HUGE profit for an electrician. If you are the homeowner no reason you can't get permits for it. I've installed dozens of them. Legally, I might add.
 
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Originally Posted By: spasm3
Good to get rid of that. Didn't Zinsco have a reputation for fires?
I don't think ZInsco were the fire starters. Those are the Federal Pacific stablok breakers that burn your house down.
 

bdcardinal

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Originally Posted By: E150GT
Originally Posted By: spasm3
Good to get rid of that. Didn't Zinsco have a reputation for fires?
I don't think ZInsco were the fire starters. Those are the Federal Pacific stablok breakers that burn your house down.
Zinsco are just as bad. Unlike FPE, they actually had a UL rating, but over time were found to be an issue. I have no issue paying someone to do a job that are more expensive if I know the job will get done properly. As far as letting friends help, the one that has done the most work not only has as he calls it "sloppy 3 phase" in his garage and multiple rackmount servers in a bedroom and somehow managed to blow up a transformer turning some breakers on.
 
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bdcardinal

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Originally Posted By: JTK
Man you guys have some interesting looking service entrance/panel combos on the left coast.
These are no longer to code. They were allowed to do horizontal mount then because code didn't specify mounting. Now they must be vertical or if horizontal all the on positions must be up so gravity cannot turn a breaker on.
 
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Originally Posted By: OilFilters
Originally Posted By: jhellwig
Originally Posted By: OilFilters
So glad I can do this stuff myself. Heck, I do it for fun. IMO electricians are overpaid...
Right.....this sound like a comment from a “it’s only 120volt” kind of guy.
You have no idea what you are talking about. You haven't got the slightest clue what I know or what my background is. *sigh* Changing a panel is easy...and HUGE profit for an electrician. If you are the homeowner no reason you can't get permits for it. I've installed dozens of them. Legally, I might add.
In a lot of places the utility won't turn off and back on electricity forregular homeowner to do their own work. Anyway, I know the OP is in CA, but from the look of it, that breaker panel is outdoors. I can't imagine that around here.
 
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Originally Posted By: zzyzzx
In a lot of places the utility won't turn off and back on electricity for regular homeowner to do their own work.
Yes, it is up to the municipality. In the City of Milwaukee neither a plumbing nor an electrical permit can be obtained by the homeowner. In other communities you can get one but not the other. In some you can get both. In addition, some that do allow homeowners to get permits charge more for them than they do for licensed professionals.
 
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Originally Posted By: E150GT
Originally Posted By: spasm3
Good to get rid of that. Didn't Zinsco have a reputation for fires?
I don't think ZInsco were the fire starters. Those are the Federal Pacific stablok breakers that burn your house down.
Both Zinsco AND Federal Pacific are known for starting fires.
 

bdcardinal

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Originally Posted By: zzyzzx
Anyway, I know the OP is in CA, but from the look of it, that breaker panel is outdoors. I can't imagine that around here.
It is pretty common here. Although I think most new construction puts them in the garage.
 
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