Aluminum wiring poll

[FONT=Arial]When upon discovering aluminum wiring in the electric panel. How many of you go as far as pulling a few electrical outlets and checking for signs of arcing? Or do you just make the note of your observation and recommend and evaluation by a licensed electrician?[/FONT]
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[FONT=Arial]I personally am not an electrician and do not pull outlets in fear of disturbing the connections that may already be loose. How about you?[/FONT]


I do not pull outlets.

I a retired Sparky do not open outlets.
I report what I** visually** see .
I do a visual inspection as per My SOP…

Like the rest of the guy’s that answered, I do not pull the cover’s off and just report what I see.

It doesn’t really matter if you see aluminum, copper, or whatever type of wire in the panel, you should not be opening any receptacles, switches, or any fixtures for that matter. The is getting to technically exhaustive and could open a can of worms you don’t want to be opened.


The reason I started this poll was because I was scalded by a sellers agent over reporting aluminum wiring without checking if that outlets were properly pigtailed. she mentioned that her inspectors remove outlets during all of her inspections. I know she was trying to get my dander up over rocking her boat, but hey I did my job. I wanted to get a feel if anyone else was pulling outlets. Thanks for your input.

How did you report the aluminum wiring?

They do have a point about whether or not the devices were pigtailed even if it’s outside of the scope of your inspection.

Maybe so, but that’s the electricians job to determine… You did your job. If the selling agents inspector pulls plugs, you’ve got to wonder what he’s not doing… Frankly I wouldn’t even believe her… She probably heard something on those lines from an electrician who was doing a followup inspection for her sometime.

The observation went like this. Solid strand Alumnin wiring present in localized circuits throughout dwelling. Failures associated with Aluminum wiring have been known to be a possible fire hazard and should be evaluated by a licensed electrician. I think that was putting it lightly… how are you guys calling this out?

Sounds fine to me but I’m an electrician not an HI. I don’t see how the Realtor can complain about what you wrote, you’re simply doing your job. IMO solid aluminum conductors should be reported because as we all know they are a potential hazard.

Here’s what I put in my reports:
Solid aluminum (AL) conductors were noted at one or more branch circuits in the electrical panel. AL wire has a higher expansion and contraction rate (approx. 30%) than copper and over time may become loose at its connections causing overheating or arcing. As a result, only receptacles and outlets approved for use with AL should be used (CO/ALR). It is strongly recommended that a licensed Electrical Contractor review the AL branch circuit wires in the home for approved connections at the receptacles and switches. Any necessary corrections or repairs should be made in accordance with current electrical standards. *

I am interested to hear comments.

Sounds great except for the “strongly recommend”. It should just be Review from a licensed electrician is needed…

Why strongly? Are your other recommendations “softly”? If you take it out, it leaves not gray area. CALL a licensed electrician.

Just my 2 cents, the rest is written very well. Congrats

Sounds good. My one comment would be that saying receptacles and outlets is somewhat redundant since by definition a receptacle is an outlet. I would replace the word outlet with the word switches or remove all of the specific references and use the single word devices to describe receptacles, switches, circuit breakers etc.

Robert …
Thanks for your post’s many have been helped by them .
Please keep helping . Roy

North Carolinas recomended wording for reports follows:

Home Inspection Report & Summary Page – Recommended language for Aluminum Wiring.
Single strand aluminum wire is present on 120 volt branch circuits in this house. This single strand, branch circuit aluminum wire was used widely during the 1960s and 1970s. According to reports published by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), problems due to overheating at the connections between the wire and devices such as switches, outlets, and light fixtures may have been responsible for house fires. It is recommended that the circuits using single strand aluminum wiring be evaluated and modified as may be deemed necessary by a licensed electrical contractor who is familiar with the problems inherent in this type of wiring. For more information on aluminum household wiring, refer to the National Electrical Code and the C.P.S.C. booklet “Repairing Aluminum Wiring.” The toll-free hotline number for obtaining this booklet is 1-800-638-2772, or you can visit:

So is your concern the AL wiring or the terminations of the AL Wiring. If the AL wiring is intact and protected properly by a correctly sized OCPD…are you reporting on the wire or the terminations?

The biggest concern people should have is the actual terminations when they see AL wiring and recommend them to be checked…in the end you did all you could do and deferred it as such…the local electrical contractor will take it from this point on.

So why would a H.I. pull one (or maybe two) receptacles to check for problems? Seems like if you don’t then do them all you are leaving yourself liable. Personally, I wouldn’t go down that road; they all need to be checked.

The general terms of an inspection suggest a “random sampling” of items included in the inspection. This relates (IMHO) to all items, regardless of whether they are included in state or national standards.

I will usually remove several cover-plates when AL wiring is present. There is no mandate by state or national standards that require (or even suggest) that I remove any at all, but I will perform a “random sampling.”

In some cases (but rarely) I will even remove the receptacle from the outlet to view the connections and/or “pig-tail” methods. I will not (under any circumstances) remove all receptacles to check connections. That would fall under a “specialized” inspection, which would be performed by a qualified electrician or electrical inspector.