The Electrical Contractor Network

ECN Electrical Forum
Discussion Forums for Electricians, Inspectors and Related Professionals

Books, Tools and Test Equipment for Electrical and Construction Trades

Register Now!

Register Now!

We want your input!


2017 NEC and Related
2017 NEC
Now Available!

Recent Posts
Calling all Non-US members!! (Non-US only)
by aussie240
Yesterday at 02:39 AM
Photo Upload Tutorial
by DanK
12/06/16 11:35 PM
Sprinklered equipment 26-008
by bigpapa
12/02/16 04:24 PM
On Delay Relay with Auto Reset
by Potseal
12/01/16 09:59 AM
Wow, that was close!
by jraef
11/28/16 07:06 PM
New in the Gallery:
12.5A through 0.75mm˛ flex (just out of curiosity)
Shout Box

Top Posters (30 Days)
gfretwell 13
HotLine1 9
Texas_Ranger 8
sparkyinak 7
Trumpy 6
Who's Online
0 registered (), 230 Guests and 4 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Topic Options
Rate This Topic
#19459 - 12/28/02 04:18 PM 100+yo house, breaker boxes and more
AMCross Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/28/02
Posts: 1
Loc: Tuscola IL 61953
Good evening, all. First, please know that I'm just a home owner who knows very little about electrical. My husband has good basics in electrical, but doesn't pretend to be anywhere near an electrician.

OK, next said, I don't have a ton more to spend on the house right now. so while i know the right answer is pay a large amount of money and have half hte house rewired, that option is fiscally impossible at this time.

OK, now....

The house used to be on a fuse box. In fact, half hte kitchen and the basement remain on the fusebox. However, the fuse box is "backed" by a breaker in my breaker box.

The breaker box was installed, we're guessing, in the 1970s. Just a guess. Most of the house equipment seems just fine on it.

A little more background and i'll be quiet i promise...

the wiring in the basement is bizarre. There is more than one hot line at a time, found when we were attempting to repair a burnt light socket downstairs. A friend who IS an electrician (and EE) helped us get it so it was functioning safely, and the light is very seldom used, and seemed to be fine the last six months. To be honest, i'd basically forgotten about it.

Or so we thought...

when we bought hte house the owners were required to GFI the kitchen socket. That socket has never been right. It ws crammed into a normal size box, doesnt fit, sticks out. I use it only for the toaster and have been saying from day one it needs to be replaced. Well, from day one it has periodically popped the GFI. Knowing that segment of the kitchen is often damp from the sink we've carelessly ignored it.

Then one day last week, half the kitchen was dead. We checked the screw in fuse, it was fine. did a little more research, then checked the breaker. The breaker was "not right" so Mike pulled it.

It was "NOT RIGHT" alright! It is burned through the case on one side!!!

now, I go to buy a new breaker for it. But I can't get one, at least not easily. It is a GTE sylvania something or other, sorry no i don't know what, but it has 2 cut outs where it drops into the box to mount it, it is not a bolt in. It can be ordered, or i can likely find one on line.

some people are telling me the whole fuse box is outdated and dangerous and I shoudl consider this a warning and replace the whole box (OUCH! that's a lot of breakers!)

Others are saying that's ridiculous but that those people just oculdnt get the breaker i need and, of course, this person CAN, but its going to be expensive....

So I'm looking for a straight answer. Is my GTE/Sylvania style breaker box dangerous??? do i need to replace the whole box? (besides rewiring half the kitchen and the basement, sigh...)

If my box is dangerous, why didnt the guy who installed my AC unit onto my heatin system, who had us purchase a big, special breaker just for the AC system separate, tell us it was a problem? And could the AC being onboard on this same box actually have anything to do with the mysterious sudden problem with this breaker??? (it, too, is in the basement, but supposedly wired totally separately).

I'm worried about my family...and more. but just not sure how to get an HONEST, SAFE, ACCURATE answer.
Mrs AnnMarie Cross
Owner, Cross Winds Stables and Equine Rescue

State Representative for PMUBabyTrek, Illinois, [url=

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades
Arc Flash Clothing, Gloves, KneePads, Tool Belts, Pouches, Tool Carriers, etc. etc....

#19460 - 12/28/02 04:26 PM Re: 100+yo house, breaker boxes and more
ZR600 Offline

Registered: 04/02/02
Posts: 48
Loc: Stevens Point, WI, USA
Your questions are way to hard to answer from behind a computer. If you cannot hire an electrician to come look at your house than I would become very friendly with your electrician friend! I would have your house looked at by an electrician soon...........Brian

#19461 - 12/28/02 04:35 PM Re: 100+yo house, breaker boxes and more
electure Offline


Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 4226
Loc: Fullerton, CA USA
I'd suggest you call a licensed, reputable electrician, and have him/her solve your woes.
The GTE/Sylvania era was a bummer at best. Seems like your chrono is about right.
If your panel uses the old Zinsco breakers, yes, I think they're a piece of junk, and a menace to society...S

#19462 - 12/28/02 04:36 PM Re: 100+yo house, breaker boxes and more
sparky66wv Offline

Registered: 11/17/00
Posts: 2339
Loc: West Virginia
Is there anyway you could take pictures either digitally, or scanned photos? A picture is worth a thousand words!

If you can, take some pics of the "breaker box" and "fusebox" and anything else you have a question about. Attach with an email and explanation and send to

Coupled with the detailed explanation you have given, would give us great insight on what advice to give.

If the bus in the panel is undamaged and only the breaker was burned, then you may be safe to simply replace the breaker. Otherwise you could have a really bad problem there.

[This message has been edited by sparky66wv (edited 12-28-2002).]
Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI

#19463 - 12/28/02 04:40 PM Re: 100+yo house, breaker boxes and more
sparky66wv Offline

Registered: 11/17/00
Posts: 2339
Loc: West Virginia

It IS a Zinsco!!!


(Please disregard my last ignorant post!)
Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI

#19464 - 12/28/02 05:36 PM Re: 100+yo house, breaker boxes and more
Webmaster Offline


Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 3142
Loc: NY, USA

The only way you are going to get a SAFE, ACCURATE answer is to have someone who is knowledgable come and look at it. That is absolutely the best advice anyone here can give you.

[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited 12-28-2002).]


ECN Electrical Forums - sponsored by Electrical Contractor Network - Electrical and Code Related Discussion for Electrical Contractors, Electricians, Inspectors, Instructors, Engineers and other related Professionals