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vab53 06-09-2010 04:45 PM

No main power shut off
1 Attachment(s)
I am trying to find out if I will be able to shut off my power or if I will have to have the electric company shut it off.

Below are links to pictures of my electrical panel. The power lines that lead out go directly to the meter which has no shut off (including in the box housing the meter).

The inside box is a Zinsco/Sylvania model number 20-5x(7-14). The bottom breaker on the top group of circuits will shut off powet to the bottom group of circuits. However, I don't know how to shut off power to the top group of circuits.

Any help is appreciated. Link to album with three pictures is below.

Scuba_Dave 06-09-2010 04:50 PM

Where are you located ?

joed 06-09-2010 04:52 PM

What you appear to have there is called a split bus panel. There is a breaker in the top half that shuts off the bottom half. There are up to five other breakers that control other large devices.

This works because there is a code section that states a maximum of six breakers are allowed to kill power to the entire house. Therefore you have one breaker for the bottom half and five others that can be used for large 240 volt appliances like stove, water heater furnace, ac, etc.

vab53 06-09-2010 04:57 PM

I am located in Tampa, FL

sparks1up 06-09-2010 05:01 PM

From the picture I count 7 breakers in the top section. This does not meet code no matter where in the US you are located. Six mains max! Somebody took out the full size main breaker and put in a wafer to gain an extra space.

Also I would have an electrician pull the meter and remove all the top breakers and check for burnt busbar. It is very common on these Zinsco panels.

This panel appears to be overloaded!

vab53 06-09-2010 05:07 PM

The panel to the left was added less than a year ago when I had the house expanded. The inspectors checked and did not say anything about the panel. If I remember correctly the inspector made the electricians put in the sub panel to the left

sparks1up 06-09-2010 05:12 PM

Unless there is a main breaker outside or somewhere else that turns off power to everything this is not to code and the inspector probably just missed it! That doesn't make it right or legal and a good home inspector for hire will probably catch this if you ever try to sell the house.

brric 06-09-2010 05:31 PM

Show us a photo of the exterior meter.

a7ecorsair 06-09-2010 05:38 PM

How does the 6 breaker rule apply if one of the ganged breaks doesn't have any wires to it? It isn't clear in the picture but I don't think there are any wires to the red breaker.
vab63 - are there wires connected to the red 220 breaker?

vab53 06-09-2010 07:15 PM

1 Attachment(s)
1. I uploaded a picture of the outside. (The tab from the electric company has been cut for a few months from the expansion)

2. The 2/20 amp breaker on the top group of breakers goes to the GFCI in one of the bathrooms. There is nothing "big" on it.

brric 06-09-2010 07:20 PM

Just because it might not be code compliant now does not mean it wasn't code compliant when it was in installed.

vab53 06-09-2010 07:22 PM

The house was built in 1978 if this helps explain the set up

sparks1up 06-09-2010 07:37 PM


Originally Posted by brric (Post 453781)
Just because it might not be code compliant now does not mean it wasn't code compliant when it was in installed.

Seven mains has never been compliant!

The whole reasoning behind a split bus panel was to save on having to install a main breaker and all split bus panels of that era where designed for 6 breakers on top with one of the six being a main for the lower section. Some had two lower sections with a main for each at the top but still no more than six mains total.

It can be made legal by removing 2 of the breakers on top and installing one new full size 60-amp breaker in their place and using that breaker to feed another sub panel. You can then relocate the breakers you removed to create the space to the new panel.

Or if there is space and capacity in the newer panel already installed you can relocate the wiring from one of the top breakers to that panel leaving six remaining in the top section of the Zinsco panel and making it compliant.

vab53 06-09-2010 07:52 PM

I just checked the 2/20 fuses hoping that they were moved over to the sub panel. The were not. I'm still back to square one. How do I shut off the main power?????? I'm not moving any time soon but if I would like to move the 2/20 circuit on the top panel over to the panel on the left which also has slots open and would hopefully bring the main panel up to code. I am also looking at having a generator transfer switch installed. Is the meter the main cut off switch? Would I have to contact the electric company to twist off the meter?

Scuba_Dave 06-09-2010 08:02 PM

You can't shut off the power to the top
Electrician or POCO needed

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