Aluminum wire fire

Just got this Email from a fellow inspector posted here with his permission
See updated PDF

[FONT=Arial]Hey Guys,[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]Conducted an inspection yesterday on a 1960’s house in [/FONT][FONT=Arial]Dallas[/FONT][FONT=Arial]. Bank owned. Aluminum wiring. The whole nine yards. Anyway, thought I was going to have to call the fire department. During my sampling of outlets to check wire connections, had an outlet and wires arc and start a small fire in the box. See pictures attached. Anyway, what I’ve read about “pig tailing” as unreliable was demonstrated yesterday. Obviously turned power off to property and alerted selling agent immediately. Also,[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]I’ve also attached a document with some updated information about aluminum wiring I thought you might be interested in. That’s it, stay safe![/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]Brian Bassett, TREC #6581[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]Wall-2-Wall Home Inspections[/FONT]
[FONT=Arial]817.721.4778 (cell)[/FONT]

Thanks Barry

Sounds like he saved a house from burning down.

Is it typical for TREC inspectors to “sample outlets to check wire connections”?

Hi Larry,

Yes TREC SOP states “Inspect (if branch circuit aluminum wiring is discovered in the main or subpanels) a random sampling of accessible receptacles and switches and report as in need of repair the absence of appropriate connections, such as copper/aluminum approved devices, pig-tailed connections or crimp connections”.

The buyer was very happy to have this information before purchasing this property.

I bet they were happy.:smiley:

Thanks for the info.

Nice job!

That looks more like a short than a loose connection. Did a wirenut pop off or a wire break and short to the box?

I see in that second picture that you found my 10-in-1. Thanks for keeping it safe for me. :smiley:


Here is a link to the rules Texans work under…

TREC Rules

thanx JP

also AlumiConn will send samples and flyers

I’ve run into this in the past. Ideal makes Al purple wire nuts. Some people see the cost and then next to them, are regular purple wire nuts. Another glance, they find no-oxide compound the shelf below, and the the light bulb goes on. Why pay $10 for four Ideal Al Purple Wire Nuts, when for $4 you can make a whole bunch of home-made ones!


Barry & Brian -

Good info!

Permission to use photos please!

– bz

Barry; I’m mot sure from your post if the pigtailing was or was not done with approved connectiors. If approved were they “[FONT=Verdana][size=2]COPALUM” or [FONT=Verdana][size=2]“ALUMICONN”?[/size][/FONT][/size][/FONT]

The “Ideal” purple wire (which appears to be what is pictured) nut is UL approved and, accordingly, is NEC approved — but the Consumer Product Safety Commission and others have recommended strongly against their use. CPSC favors the Copalum clip in its place.

This wasn’t my inspection and the photo is too fuzzy to be certain, but as I James stated and from what I can see these appear to be the Ideal 65 “Twister”

here’s the AlumiConn in action, obviously due to their size/configuration excessive bending stress and box overfill is/may be an issue

Thank, I couldn’t tell anything, but black and melty, from the photo. I have not seen the ideal twister in this area, I was hoping this wasn’t “[FONT=Verdana][size=2]COPALUM” that I have seen.[/size][/FONT]



A lot had been stated before this last post what is your Yes referring to?

You were there and can enlighten all of us. :wink:

Follow-up on this house with aluminum wiring. Spoke with my client (buyer) yesterday and he “passed” on the house. It was a “buy as is” property. Too much money for him to spend to get the the electrical system corrected. Besides the aluminum wiring problems, electrical system had reversed wiring at several outlets, ungrounded 3-prong outlets, paint/texturing overspray inside numerous outlets, and breakers in main service panel with double wiring. I’m sure you’ve all run into these type of problems.


So you removed a receptacle with a LIVE CIRCUIT. NOT SAFE and NOT SMART.

NJ SOP says we do not have to do anything that’s unsafe. This is exaclty why I don’t remove receptacles from the walls, as it can cause a fire.