Understanding Aluminum Wiring

By
Home Inspector with Thornton Safety and Inspection, LLC

Thornton Safety and Inspection - Home Inspection Specialist 601-214-6569
Home Inspections - Brandon, MS; Jackson, MS and all of Central MS
www.thorntoninspection.com
Sean@thorntoninspection.com

https://www.facebook.com/thorntoninspection

Here are pictures of solid-strand aluminum found during a recent inspection.  The solid-strand aluminum was spliced into newer copper wiring using standard wire nuts which is the type of connection where aluminum can become a problem.

AL Branch wiringJunction box

Solid-strand Aluminum branch wiring visible at the breaker           AL and Copper joined together  - this is a problem area

We inspect a lot of older homes and often find solid strand aluminum wiring for the branch wiring circuits.  Clients often have lots of questions about aluminum wiring.  Here is a link to an article that provides a good overview:

http://www.nachi.org/aluminum-wiring.htm

Comments (14)

Mark Loewenberg
KW of the Palm Beaches - Palm Beach Gardens, FL
KW 561-214-0370

good to know about this type of information for our prospects which is why we need inspectors!

May 20, 2013 07:57 AM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

I did not know that and I am going to ask the home inspector that I know to check mine.  You can never be too careful with electrical.

May 20, 2013 09:54 AM
Brad Rachielles
CENTURY 21 Peak, Ca BRE# 01489453 - Upland, CA
REALTOR, CDPE, Upland, CA

Sean,

Your post brought me down mempry lane. In a past career I was responsable for selling millions of the very wire connecting product pictured in the junction box Wing-Nut(R) wire connectors. In fact, I was a sales representative for that very company covering JACKSON, MS. from 1967 thru 1973, AND, if the photo is of aluminum NM cable, I may have sold that very connector, as Aluminum "Romex"TM was being heavily used during my tenure in the Mid-South. I later became the Wire connector Product Manager for that very company. I haven't been with them since about the turn of the century.

The attending article which you reference is a good one, although, it would be wise to check into the N.E.C. a little closer to verify that aluminum is likely a very good and safe conductor for the primaries of #6 AWG or larger, and even then, the use of an anti-oxidant is required. Not all aluminum is bad.... but careful watch on aluminum branch circuits is a good idea.

Now, does the homeowner know what a branch circuit is????   :-)

May 20, 2013 11:20 AM
Joetta Fort
The DiGiorgio Group - Arvada, CO
Independent Broker, Homes Denver to Boulder

Homeowners may or may not be concerned about aluminum wiring, but I have seen people finding difficulty getting insurance on homes with it.

May 20, 2013 11:34 AM
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

What is the story with aluminum wiring and how can one make a home safe without rewireing the entire home? 

May 20, 2013 11:37 AM
Bill Reddington
Re/max By The Sea - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

There are clips a electrician can install that solves the insurance issure. Not cheap but less expensive then rewiring a house.

May 20, 2013 11:44 AM
Kathy Scipione
Long and Foster Re Inc - Malvern, PA
Kathy Scipione, CRS, GRI, AHLS, ABR,

Great information.  Thanks.  Electricity is a serious issue.  The more knowledge we have about electrical issues, the better....thanks to inspectors like yourself.

May 20, 2013 11:47 AM
Jimmy Faulkner
Florida. Homes Realty & Mortgage - Wantagh, NY
The Best Of St. Augustine

Fire & water are the two dangerous words that will kill any transaction. Electrical problems trigger the word fire in anyone's mind & that is a problem. We need an inspector who is familiar with electric to fine tooth comb a home.

May 20, 2013 11:58 AM
Ralph Janisch ABR CRS Broker
Janisch & Co. - Conroe, TX
Selling Northwest Houston to good people like you!
I've only owned one home with aluminum wiring. It did have a couple of problems that I did have to correct. But all ended well.
May 20, 2013 12:09 PM
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

I've heard this from my home inspector lately, especially because he's inspected some historical homes for my clients.  Good information!

May 20, 2013 02:55 PM
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

I like Joan's question: What is the story with aluminum wiring and how can one make a home safe without rewireing the entire home? I hope you write a follow up blog addressing this question, thanks in advance.

May 20, 2013 04:04 PM
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Like oil and vinegar but much more dangerous! You would think that  fewer of these aluminum wired homes would show up these days.

May 20, 2013 09:16 PM
Bill and MaryAnn Wagner
Wagner Real Estate Group - Ocean City, NJ
Jersey Shore and South Jersey Real Estate
Sean, Thanks for the information. Never fully understood the issues.
May 20, 2013 09:42 PM
Frank Rubi
Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC - Metairie, LA
FrankRubiRealEstate.com

Sean, thanks for the links to understanding aluminum wires. Found this issue during an inspection today. 

May 20, 2014 12:20 PM