Not all of the circuit breakers made by Sylvania, Challenger and Crouse hinds are considered to be fire hazards, but the style you see here in this post, by all three manufacturers are. Sylvania also made a “Zinsco“, type circuit breaker that also considered to be a fire hazard. As for Challenger and Crouse Hinds, the “side hook type”, is there only circuit breaker that was considered to be a fire hazard. The problem with this type of circuit breaker is the way that it attaches to the buss in the panel. As shown in the gallery, the spring clip is aluminum and is a thin hook made of aluminum, it just isn’t heavy duty enough nor does it have enough surface area to provide a great enough path for current (Wattage) running through the circuit. Even the smallest of circuits, 15 amp I have seen burn up. Not to mention, this same spring clip design is utilized on circuit breakers that I’ve seen all the way up to 50 amps, much more current!
I am not sure how this design ever made it passed the U.L. (Underwriters Laboratory), but it did and they were pretty common in track homes throughout the 1980’s and even into the 1990’s. The good news is, if you do have this type of panel and no over-heating or burning has tooken place, you can change out these breakers with a non-fire hazard, legal replacement. The legal replacement circuit breakers plug onto the same buss as the Sylvania, Challenger and Crouse Hinds’ sub-panels have in them. So dont wait for one to burn out, not only can it ruin your existing sub-panel, but it can cause a house fire! If your panel is one of these three manufacturers, be smart and proactive and give us a call today!