Aluminum branch wires

I was wondering how you guys handle single strand aluminum branch wire. Lately I have been finding it a lot and I know all the details about it and I know how to explain it to the client and how to write it up but my issue lately has been after I find it. What I am finding is the clients ask where the circuits lead to. And I have gotten several calls days later asking what rooms have aluminum wiring. Do you guys start pulling covers off every room to look for aluminum wires or if its been corrected? In all the cases lately it has only been 1 or 2 lines in the whole house that is aluminum and the houses have been big. It would take me hours to go around pulling all the covers off. I have been deferring to an electrician but it has not gone over too good.

“If you hire a good electrician, he won’t have any problems determining which rooms have aluminum wiring”

Aren’t the breakers labeled.

I can honestly say that in probably 60-70 percent of the time there are no labels. I usually say exactly what you posted Juan but the response I usually get is the lawyer asking if I was able to verify if the outlets were pigtailed or otherwise corrected so that they can draw up contract to address issue. I try to explain that it is not my job to pull out outlets ect but it never goes well.

Yeah NY is a completely different animal from what I’ve been told.

NY requires you by law to make note if there is AL wiring. It does not require you to verify where it all goes or remove outlet covers. In NY it is called a visual inspection, removing all the outlet covers is really “invasive” and not your job. Hand it to an electrician. If he is unable to find it all and they call you back, just tell them to find a “qualified” electrician

When it’s mixed, aluminum wire is found in the rooms that have not been changed or renovated since the house was built (doh!), not hard to tell, typically the bedrooms, living room and dining room.

Ian I totally agree. The main reason why I do not use a circuit tracer is because lets say I trace a circuit to a bedroom outlet. Now what? Do I take covers off? Even if I do sometimes the box is so tight that you cant tell if its been properly corrected without actually pulling out the outlet.

Yep. Note it, get an electrician, and move on. I don’t expect my doctor to do exploratory surgery during my physical, I expect him to note potential problems and then send me to a specialist. Same with an inspection. Flag it and send in the specialist for the biopsy

Unless you are an electrician and are working under your license as an electrician stick to the SOP (NY SOP) and not the presence of aluminum wiring and recomend further evaluation by a licensed electrician. The minute you take off one faceplate from an outlet you own the whole electrical system, and if the new owner finds aluminum or some other defect in another part of the house its going to be hard to explain why you didn’t figure the whole system out and warn them. Ignore the guys who tell you how they would trace out the circuits open things up - its not part of the SOP and something that will get you in trouble later.

Nicely said

Yeah I agree guys. I guess I was just trying to see if i was doing enough. Thanks

How is removing a device coverplate any more invasive than removing the panel cover?

Ask NY. We remove dead fronts when safe, but removal of outlet covers is not part of our SOP

Does your SOP specifically prevent you from removing outlet covers? “Not part of your SOP” could have a dozen different interprtations.

Doesn’t say “shall not” but says it is a non invasive visual inspection and that removal of the covers are “not required”. So it is outside SOP. You can go outside SOP any time you want, but I think Alan said it best in an earlier post on this thread

Wrong. It* is* part of your SOP. It states that they are “not required” to be removed. That is not the same as “not part of your SOP”, which would mean they were not mentioned in any form.

It also says that we are “not required” to determine the value of a home. Does that mean we are appraisers now too?

Attempting to determine a value of a home vs telling the conditions that exist in a home are entirely different. It is called a home inspection. It is up to the banks and appraisers to determine value. They do not look at infrastructure issues like an inspector. If you cannot see or look for items how can you report on them? Is walking into the house “invasive”?