Zinsco panel w/anaconda dutrax type wiring

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Old 04-13-15, 06:46 PM
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Zinsco panel w/anaconda dutrax type wiring

Cant find anything on this type of wiring online. Trying to determine if its considered "cloth wiring" or not.

House was built in 1962 in Merritt Island Florida near Cape Canaveral. Its cinder block construction and has a Zinsco main panel with Zinsco breakers. A majority of the wiring leaving to the house is covered in a silver colored material and is stamped with 12-2G Anaconda-W Dutrax Type NM 600v. For insurance purposes is this the dreaded cloth? Or no its old school but not considered cloth?

In addition the two pole main breaker has 100 stamped on each switch. Does this mean there's only 100 amp service to the house, or 200 amp?
 
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Old 04-13-15, 07:18 PM
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If I've done this right attempting from my iphone, hopefully the pics clarify my description. Name:  image.jpg
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Old 04-13-15, 07:25 PM
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The Zinsco panel and ungrounded cable may be the bigger flags. That is a more modern version of ungrounded 60 NM. The individual conductors aren't cloth covered.
 
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Old 04-13-15, 10:41 PM
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Looks like the stuff in my 1955 house. Cloth-like covering, and heavy rubbery plastic insulation on wires. IMO, good stuff, and can take more abuse then the modern equivalent.

Don't worry about the lack of circuit grounds. When you rip out that panel and put in something modern, just add a GFCI outlet at the beginning of each circuit for personal safety, and a whole house surge suppressor (and good grounding point) for equipment safety.

If you skip adding the GFCI outlet on the lighting circuits, make sure you use plastic switch covers, and plastic screws to mount them, to stay safe and NEC legal.

You also might as well use CAFCI breakers for all the 120V 15/20A circuits. Will be required soon enough anyway, and there aren't that many circuits in these older homes.
 
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Old 04-13-15, 11:15 PM
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The outer sheath of that NM was a cloth braid, but the insulation was not cloth. The one type of wiring that used cloth was called knob and tube. You may want to get clarification from the insurance company of exactly what they are looking for.
 
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Old 04-14-15, 01:13 AM
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The G in 12-2G would normally indicate the presence of a bare equipment grounding conductor in that cable. Most likely that grounding conductor would be #16 for cable of that era and it is highly likely that the installing electrician merely snipped off the conductor rather than actually conning it somewhere. Sometimes the grounding conductor was folded back on the cable sheath and was held with the cable clamp. Look closely at the open end of the cable to see if there is a bare grounding conductor.


BTW, there is no "cloth" insulated wiring that was used in houses in the last 100 years or so. The insulation used was rubber and to prevent the deterioration of the rubber it was covered with a tar impregnated fiber such as linen or cotton thread that resembles cloth.
 
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Old 04-14-15, 11:50 AM
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Okay am I to understand this Anaconda Dutrax wiring would not be considered "cloth wiring" with regards to inspections etc.?

The wires are in fact grounded to the panel via the bare copper wiring from each.

Aside from the panel needing to be updated some time in the future here are my questions:

1. Am I able to still buy new Zinsco or Sylvania breakers that would work in this panel or some variant until panel is updated?

2. The main 2-pole shutoff says 100 for each switch, is this a 100 amp or 200 amp service?

3. Could I operate a new heat pump system off this panel with just having to run a new wire to the outside (current old system is AC with gas furnace heat)?

4. I used receptacle to test 2-prong outlets and I got 110v light when I put red lead into the hot socket and grounded to metal box. Does that mean I can connect a ground to the box and install 3-prong outlets?

5. On this Zinsco panel, there's a red bar mounted on the left side of the breakers. After shutting off the main does this red bar need to come off before I'm able to pop out the breakers?

Here's those pics again hopefully right side up for better viewing:

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Old 04-14-15, 11:59 AM
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The wires are in fact grounded to the panel via the bare copper wiring from each.
While you may not see the wire in the device/fixture box it is probably terminated to the box outside the box. That means you can use three prong receptacles by grounding to the box of the grounds are terminated to the box. The insulation on the conductors is not close and generally fine to use with one caveat. It is probably rated 60 bot most modern light fixtures specify 90 wire.

I am really not sure what you mean by cloth wiring, maybe knob and tube, but this isn't it. As stated the real problem insurance wise is the Zinsco panel. http://inspectapedia.com/electric/Zinsco.htm
 
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Old 04-14-15, 12:01 PM
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1. Am I able to still buy new Zinsco or Sylvania breakers that would work in this panel or some variant until panel is updated?
I believe someone did make some aftermarket breakers, but the panel is really obsolete and one of the two worst styles for catching on fire. I don't think the aftermarket breakers improved the safety record. Most new circuits would require an AFCI breaker anyway which is not available for Zinsco panels.

2. The main 2-pole shutoff says 100 for each switch, is this a 100 amp or 200 amp service?
100A

3. Could I operate a new heat pump system off this panel with just having to run a new wire to the outside (current old system is AC with gas furnace heat)?
If there is enough capacity on the service for the load. You can do a "demand load calculation" to determine if the panel has adequate capacity.

4. I used receptacle to test 2-prong outlets and I got 110v light when I put red lead into the hot socket and grounded to metal box. Does that mean I can connect a ground to the box and install 3-prong outlets?
That's a pretty good sign the ground wires are connected correctly to the boxes.
 
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Old 04-14-15, 06:15 PM
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I just bought this house from foreclosure down here in Cocoa/Merritt Island, Fla ( live in Va. Beach, VA) and paid cash as is as a rental investment. Been down here since early March working on it. It pretty much was completely remodeled inside with the exception of a few DIY'ers cosmetically. Even the roof has 5-10 years left on it or more. The only shortcoming was an old 1991 AC and gas furnace setup that is noisy and eats the electricity.

OBTW my daughter lives down here and is the current renter.

Anyway this led to conversations which led to the panel/wiring and since I didn't have a home inspection (not required when no mortgage and selling bank said as is on a bid out process) I've got to get a 4-point inspection for Citizens to underwrite it. Lots of websurfing (little to no information on the Anaconda Dutrax cables) led to many different conclusions on what is and what is not etc. with no consistent answer on is it THE suspect cloth type or isn't it. Yes braided and "looks like" but is it the type wire the insurance bubba's are shying away from.

Discussions also led to the impression Citizens has on their 4-point checklist inspectors must use for them (at my expense) have blocks asking if wiring is "CLOTH covered or cloth style or whatever it is. And that if that block is checked by an inspector that does the 4-pointers i.e. inspects 1) roof 2) plumbing 3)HVAC 4) electrical, and he/she thinks it's "cloth covered or whatever by it's appearance but not really knowing, they won't insure it. I want to be able to discuss it intelligently with the inspector should that happen and hopefully convince my way by benefit of the doubt sort of thing.

So I'm in the midst of pulling the trigger on having a fresh heat pump system installed, and the Heat/AC estimaters/pitchmen say the panel can easily handle the new line and breaker (yes old Zinsco panel/breakers aside) but don't know enough about electrical to comment on the "cloth covered" mystery nor does it affect them aside from their two sets of wires of which will be run and new.

So I'm trying, in addition to my other questions adeptly answered above, to ascertain with some degree of certainty the type of wiring, aside from it being old or outdated but still in great shape, so as not to run into a quagmire over insurance coverage.

The 2 prong to 3 prong outlet observation I mentioned above is info for changing over what is now a majority 2 prong setup to 3 prong and add GFCI's where appropriate. Any further questions on that portion will be another thread.

The bright side is at least there's no aluminum wiring...
 
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Old 04-14-15, 06:40 PM
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I would have hoped the inspectors would be better versed on the things they are looking at.
 
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Old 04-14-15, 07:50 PM
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IMHO, given the age of the house, I do not believe this first-gen romex is wire you need to worry about. Older than 1950, yes.

According to Electrical wiring - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia they transitioned from rubber to PVC for wire insulation about 1950. The PVC holds up infinitely (assuming not overheated.) The cloth outer jacket is more durable then the PVC jackets used today.
 
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Old 04-15-15, 12:48 AM
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The insurance company's reference to "cloth-covered wiring" is so ambiguous and downright incorrect that I would seriously look for coverage from a different insurance company. Either that or get them to issue you a signed (by someone in authority) statement describing in detail what "cloth-covered" means.

Type NM cable predates 1950 and type NM with a tarred fabric outer jacket was in common usage well into the 1960s. Most of it had either no equipment grounding conductor or else it had an undersized (by today's standards) equipment grounding conductor, generally two sizes smaller than the current-carrying conductors. This was considered safe because the equipment grounding conductor ONLY carries current during a fault condition and only long enough to trip the circuit breaker or blow the fuse. Going to full-size equipment grounding conductors was an increase in safety brought about mostly from people who still had fuses substituting higher rated fuses than allowed and overloading the current carrying conductors. There was also the factor of the smaller equipment grounding conductors being more fragile during the course of installation.

Replacement Zinsco-style circuit breakers are available but their cost is horrendous, something like $25 to $40 dollars each (or more) depending on the style and rating. Contrast this to $4 to $10 for most other standard circuit breakers. As far as I am aware there are NO AFCI or GFCI circuit breakers available that will fit a Zinsco panel.

It has been more than more than forty years since I worked on a Zinsco panel so I do not remember how the circuit breakers were held in place. I do know that all too often the contacts would corrode a bit and THAT made removal almost impossible. I strongly recommend that you get the Zinsco panel replaced sooner rather than later.
 
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Old 04-15-15, 08:07 AM
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I don't think that the wiring in the house is the "cloth-covered wire" that the insurance company is worried about, however that panel is what they really should be concerned about. The Zinsco is trouble and absolutely needs to go as it is a known fire hazard. In my opinion replacing the panel should be a higher priority than replacing the HVAC.
 
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Old 04-15-15, 10:48 PM
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Prices I found (when I still had a Zinsco panel) where more like $60-$120 for new ones. $30-$65 was what I got for my old used junk breakers on eBay, after I swapped out for a Square D QO panel.
 
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Old 04-16-15, 09:58 AM
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Zinsco style breakers manufactured by UBI are plentiful and easy to order if you can afford them, but they aren't U.L. Listed so some inspectors won't allow them.

https://www.menards.com/main/mainten...Zinsco&ipp=100

The OP stated his daughter was the tenant. I wouldn't let my daughter spend the night in that house till the panel was changed.
 
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