Aluminum wiring

Afternoon Inspectors,
I would like some opinions on aluminum wiring in the home. How quick to condemn or condone a home built in the late 70s, but has not burned to the ground yet?
Looking forward to your response,

Why worry. Be an inspector who FACILITATES the Real estate transaction and does not ALARM the people.

When I find aluminum solid strand wiring, I first look for any obvious defects (arching, loose wires)…I then look for new outlets (new outlets seldom work with aluminum wiring). I then tell the buyer that aluminum wiring if not properly installed and improperly upgraded could be a hazard, it is my recommendation that a licensed electrician be called out for further evaluation to INSURE that all the wiring is installed properly and safely. I would then say to keep the documentation for when that buyer becomes a seller on the residence. He will have documentation that it was inspected by a licensed electrician and all was ok.

We are there to objectively evalaute the residence and there is nothing wrong with saying that a licensed tradesperson is needed for the UNUSUAL circumstances. Be a deal facilitator just be using the proper words.

Some insurance companies will not insure your home if it has aluminum wiring.

It might not be so easy to get a licensed electrician to give his blessing on a home wired with aluminum. I know I would not put my name on a piece of paper saying it was safe. Even if it were copper, most of us would note obvious issues, but would not state that all is ok. That would just be too litigious.

We have lots of homes wired with aluminum, circa 1970 or so.

I recommend that the dwelling’s electrical system be evaluated by a licensed electrical contractor. I also suggest that the electrician check each switch and receptacle for proper pigtailing, or replacement of all switches and receptacles with units rated for CO/AL. I dont know why anyone believes that new receptacles do not work with aluminum. Problem is that ones rated for copper alone DO work.

I also suggest retrofitting all 15 and 20 amp branch circuit breakers with arc-fault units.

Al of this is, of course, subject to the opinion of the licensed electrical contractor.

By the way… our job is NOT to facilitate the sale. it is to observe and report on the conditions of the readily accessible systems and components n thedwelling. We should be the SOLE disinterested party involved in the process. We are the thin line separating those who make money if the sale goes through (and thusly have a vested interest) and the client, who is too often like a deer caught in the headlights.

Some call the backing out by a client in the 11th hour “buyer’s remorse”. I submit that it can also sometimes be called “comng to your senses”.

I do the same (bold) the rest is redundent. Once you refer a sparky to check the entire system, well, then you are done. I think it is kind of foolish to get into the aspects of what the sparky should check when you have already stated that the system be evaluated and repaired by a licensed electrician. Telling the sparky what to do is out of our scope. IMO

I never like to call out specialists unless absolutely necessary. But If I’m not comfortable with something I see or don’t see, I have no problem calling out SAM SPARKEY. Yes at times it may be uncertainty on my part, but I will never take a chance when lives are at stake.

I just tell it like it is, solid aluminum branch wiring was functioning as approved and intended. Unless you found some areas of concern which you would document…then… Please refer to the Aluminum wiring notice on next page for more information and concerns about this type of wiring. (sheet with various web-sites for them to view and some statistics and some of the latest insurance information that might interest them.) Let them make the decision.

Joe, what would be the point of adding AFCIs to aluminum wiring. They do NOT detect series faults. (loose connections)

Greg, once again you are right. However, there is always a BUT and it’s ME! :wink:

Your argument canbe used against car air bags, they only seem to be most successful against head on collisions. Kinda safer in side impacts, and do nothing for rear endings. :frowning:

When I meet people who have older homes, with out AFCI and even without AL branch wires, I recommend they get AFCI’s just in case. :wink:


AFCIs are like life jackets. They can save your life in some circumstances but I am not sure if carrying them in your car is justified. That is similar to the AFCI/aluminum connection. The most likely adversity will not be addressed.

Ahh…Greg they do make AFCI’s now that detect Series and Parralel Faults…In fact I am meeting with Eaton in 2 weeks and plan on bringing up alot of these things.

Any direct questions you want me to ask them directly…:slight_smile:

Who are “They”?



will provide Parallel arc detection and

protection in Zones 1, 2 and 3 and it

will respond to arcing to ground in all

three of these zones. FIRE-GUARD AFCI

responds to Series arcs in two conductor

plus ground fixed premises wiring

(Type N-B wire) of Zone 1.

It’s not a defined science but they are working on it…yes I know it is ever changing but so was the GFCI…ala the lastest enhancements in uL943 I believe.

lol…now Greg knows I like debating the AFCI thing…lol…

Nice read…BUT don’t say…well Paul you must be on their payroll…lol…NOPE !!!