Sonoran Property Inspections- Aluminum wiring in older homes.

By
Home Inspector with Sonoran Property Inspections LLC

Hope everyone has a great holiday. I wanted to share some information on Aluminum wiring and try to educate folks a bit.  Sonoran Property Inspections has done a few phoenix home inspections as well as a few scottsdale home inspections recently that have auluminum wiring present. The aluminum 240 volt wire is not the issue but rather the 120 volt aluminum wire is. This wire when used on the 120 volt circuits becomes an issue when people change to the new style outlets and switches using a copper pig tail to connect to the aluminum wire. This connection is the problem and can be corrected with only one real solution. It is called a Copalum Crimp connector. This is provided by one company, the electrician has to be certified in this method by the company and the crimp tools used are only rented by the company on a monthly basis to the certified electrician.  This crimp method effectively cold welds the copper to aluminum splice eliminating the potential fire risk. This crimp is relatively costly and therefor many home owners and even electricians seldom use it since they are NOT certified in its use. This is where the ussue comes into play as well. The majority of folks will use a wire nut and splice the two wires together. This is the fire risk and should never be done.

There is another alternative and that is to re wire the home in copper. This can be done quickly and at a relatively low cost. The typical 2000 square foot home can be re wired in about 2 to 3 days depending on the access, number of circuits ect.. The drywall patching will be minimal and this will cost about 3 to 5 K. The crimp method can be a bit less expensive.

The important thing to remember is that having aluminum wire in a house can be dealt with and relatively quickly.

 

I am always available to talk to you about your Phoenix Home Inspection needs and I also do home inspections all over the valley. I welcome the chance to work for you and can be reached at 480-415-7977.

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