Aluminum wiring

Washington State Standards of Practice per the Washington Administrative Code. Electrical Section quoted below, (1) (d). Underlined for you.

Electrical system.

The inspection of the electrical system includes the service drop through the main panel; subpanels including feeders; branch circuits, connected devices, and lighting fixtures.

 (1) **The inspector will:**

 (a) Describe in the report the type of primary service, whether  overhead or underground, voltage, amperage, over-current protection  devices (fuses or breakers) and the type of branch wiring used.
 (b) Report
 (i) The existence of a connected service-grounding conductor and service-grounding electrode when same can be determined.
 (ii) When no connection to a service grounding electrode can be confirmed.
 (c) Inspect the main and branch circuit conductors for proper  over-current protection and condition by visual observation after  removal of the readily accessible main and subelectric panel cover(s).
 (d) Report, if present, solid conductor aluminum branch circuits.  Include a statement in the report that solid conductor aluminum wiring  may be hazardous and a licensed electrician should inspect the system to  ensure it's safe.
 (e) Verify
 (i) The operation of a representative number of accessible switches, receptacles and light fixtures.
 (ii) The grounding and polarity of a representative number of  receptacles; particularly in close proximity to plumbing fixtures or at  the exterior.
 (iii) Ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection and  arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) protection where required.
 (f) Report the location of any inoperative or missing GFCI and/or  AFCI devices when they are recommended by industry standards.
 (g) Advise clients that homes without ground fault protection  should have GFCI devices installed where recommended by industry  standards.
 (h) Report on any circuit breaker panel or subpanel known within the home inspection profession to have safety concerns.
 (i) Describe any deficiencies of these systems or components.

 (2) **The inspector is not required to:**

 (a) Insert any tool, probe or testing device into the main or subpanels.
 (b) Activate electrical systems or branch circuits that are not energized.
 (c) Operate circuit breakers, service disconnects or remove fuses.
 (d) Inspect ancillary systems, including but not limited to:
 (i) Timers.
 (ii) Security systems.
 (iii) Low voltage relays.
 (iv) Smoke/heat detectors.
 (v) Antennas.
 (vi) Intercoms.
 (vii) Electrical deicing tapes.
 (viii) Lawn sprinkler wiring.
 (ix) Swimming pool or spa wiring.
 (x) Central vacuum systems.
 (xi) Electrical equipment that's not readily accessible.
 (e) Dismantle any electrical device or control, except for the  removal of the deadfront covers from the main service panel and  subpanels.
 (f) Move any objects, furniture, or appliances to gain access to any electrical component.
 (g) Test every switch, receptacle, and fixture.
 (h) Remove switch and receptacle cover plates.
 (i) Verify the continuity of connected service ground(s).

I want to have this discussion to learn more about why it is being reported as a hazard. I’m hoping some of the guys with a greater background in electrical will chime in on the topic.

I am fully aware of the issue with 15amp and 20amp solid aluminum branch circuits in the late 60’s and early 70’s. I report that whenever I see it.

My question is regarding this statement.

Can someone show the evidence or information that the aluminum wiring being used after that period is considered hazardous?

As I understand it, it’s not the wiring itself that is the problem.
Its the connections that are problematic, if the outlet, switch or panel is rated AL-CU then all should be fine. I’m not going to get into whether or not the paste/gel should be used or not I’ve heard various opinions on that one.

About the only place we see the aluminum wiring is in the panel. I doubt if anyone starts pulling switches or outlets in a home from that era until they have been in the panel, and even then, I would bet that 99.5% of inspectors won’t pull a plug or outlet. The outer sheathing that might have some visible identification of the type of AL wiring, is hidden within the walls or insulation.

The wire has been out there and used in construction projects beyond the normal era where AL was used. There are still crappy contractors that will use whatever they have to make a buck. See it, call it out, and let the recommended “licensed electrician” make the call and take the liability.

That is not true at all. AL/Cu or Al-cu was stamped on the receptacles with no actual testing from the manufacturers with aluminum wiring. CO/ALR receptacles are considered temporary repairs by the CPSC.

I agree that the condition in the original post is a non issue.

Thanks Stephen.

The reason I asked for it is that we had a member recommend further evaluation in one of his reports. The plaintiff’s attorney’s strategy is to argue that the inspector failed to do his job as evidenced by his recommendation that his client procure a second inspection from a specialist. But you’ve proven that it is not only reasonable to recommend further evaluation, but actually governmentally mandated in some situations.

Thanks again. This is very useful to me and Mark Cohen should we have to help defend a member against this legal strategy again.

Wisconsins SOP
 [FONT=Times]Electrical systems.[/FONT] (a) A home inspector shall observe and describe the condition of all of the following:

  1. Service entrance conductors.
  2. Service equipment, grounding equipment, main over current device.
  3. Main and distribution panels, including their location.
  4. Amperage and voltage ratings of the service, including whether service type is overhead or underground.
  5. Branch circuit conductors, their over current devices, and the compatibility of their ampacities and voltages, including any aluminum branch circuit wiring.
  6. The operation of a representative number of installed lighting fixtures, switches and receptacles located inside the house, garage and any exterior walls.
  7. The polarity and grounding of all receptacles within 6 feet of interior plumbing fixtures, in the garage or carport, and on the exterior of inspected structures.
  8. The operation of ground fault circuit interrupters.
  9. The functionality of the power sources for smoke detectors.
    (b) A home inspector is not required to do any of the following:
  10. Insert any tool, probe or testing device inside the panels.
  11. Test or operate any over current device except ground fault circuit interrupters.
  12. Dismantle any electrical device or control other than to remove the covers of the main and auxiliary distribution panels.
  13. Observe low voltage systems, telephones, security systems, cable TV, intercoms, or other ancillary wiring that is not a part of the primary electrical distribution systems.
  14. Measure amperage, voltage or impedance.

Juan, can you provide documentation for your claim?
Are you claiming that the manufacturers of AL/CU fixtures are frauds?

It’s not a “claim”.

That would be a #10 single strand, # 8 would be multi-strand.

Me think, you should make mention of it in your report.

If it’s on a 30A breaker, it better be 8 AWG. They still make solid AL #8.

I really don’t see a problem with it since it is most likely the newer alloy, but if your state SOP says you have to note it, then I guess you should.

Thanks for providing that Juan, interesting read.
Kinda blown away that manufacturers can just print a label implying compatibility
with aluminum wiring and not get their butts sued off!

[FONT=TTE27DB628t00][size=1][size=2]Indiana Standards of practice:
(h) Electrical systems requirements are as follows:
(1) Licensees shall:
(A) inspect:
(i) the service drop;
(ii) the service entrance conductors, cables, and raceways;
(iii) the service equipment and main disconnects;
(iv) the service grounding;
(v) the interior components of service panels and subpanels;
(vi) the conductors;
(vii) the overcurrent protection devices;
(viii) a representative number of installed lighting fixtures,
switches, and receptacles; and
(ix) the ground fault circuit interrupters;
(B) describe:
(i) the amperage and voltage rating of the service;
(ii) the location of main disconnect or disconnects and
subpanels; and
(iii) the wiring methods; and
© report on the:
(i) presence of solid conductor aluminum branch circuit wiring;
(ii) absence of smoke detectors.

I know this was an old thread but its a good one, I found it researching as I have inspected two houses in the past month with aluminum wiring in Indianapolis. I have only been inspecting for about 5 months so far, these are the only two houses I’ve found it in so far, and both were leads from the same agent! Somehow though, he still likes me…

I take pictures, report it, and recommend a licensed electrician trained in aluminum wiring repairs further evaluate and repair as needed, and include a copy of CPSC Publication 516 with the report along with a link to InterNACHI’s article on aluminum wiring for the client’s own education.

What do you guys think, is that too much, not enough, good bad or indifferent, what exactly do you all do?

What I said .
Aluminum wiring Have it checked by a qualified electrician .

I see no advantage in getting too busy with the report .

As long as you also provide my responses to that Article…it has some incorrect information and is misleading.

May not be a problem because of the newer alloy, but what do you do about it with regards to a 4 point?
If it is a problem with the 4 point, then would we want to call it out in the home inspection.

Many state-mandated home inspection SOPs require home inspectors to call out aluminum wiring (new alloy or not). Sorry Paul. I know you don’t like that.

Wisconsin’s SOP.