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#157913 - 02/11/06 07:52 AM Inspecting Aluminum Wiring
RobbieD Offline

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 238
Loc: Canada
Just wondering what you guys do when a customer or insurance company requests an inspection of their house because it has aluminum wiring. I know that joints are the problem areas with this wire.

Do you check everything? Like all receptacles, switches, ceiling boxes, and the panel.

What do you put in a report on the wiring?

How much do you guys charge if you don't do it by the hour?

Anthing else you do when you receive such a request?

Business, Office, Estimating, Legal:
#157914 - 02/11/06 08:20 PM Re: Inspecting Aluminum Wiring
Radar Offline

Registered: 04/30/04
Posts: 349
Loc: Los Angeles, CA
Robbie - I'm just a dopey old wireman and not a contractor, but I'm also involved with project management, contacts and estimating. From my perspective I can answer all your questions with one single answer, and that is I just wouldn't do the inspections at all.

Look at it this way, you have a resi customer or (worse) an insurance company who are trying to find someone who will make a determination that the alu wiring is safe. You really don't need to see it - it's not. What I mean is, even if it's OK today, it will deteriorate tomorrow, and unless it's regularly maintained (which you cannot control), it won't stay OK.

The insurance company really worries me - they're likely looking for more than mere assurances, you might be bitting off more legal liability than you know.

'fraid I'd run,
There are 10 types of people. Those who know binary, and those who don't.

#157915 - 02/11/06 08:37 PM Re: Inspecting Aluminum Wiring
mahlere Offline

Registered: 11/17/05
Posts: 514
Loc: New Jersey
radar is right. i don't think you can make enough money to outweigh the potential liability.

#157916 - 02/11/06 08:44 PM Re: Inspecting Aluminum Wiring
Tiger Offline

Registered: 05/04/05
Posts: 714
Loc: Crystal Lake, IL USA
IMO you charge what you need to for your involvement and be honest in your report.

If I was evaluating a system with aluminum wiring I'd report on the need for a level of maintenance that is unrealistic to expect from a typical homeowner. I'd also report the dangers of non-professional repairs to the system, or replacement with wrong devices or connectors.

Then I'd recommend a complete rewire with copper wire.

From my point of view, that's an honest report on aluminum wiring. Too bad if the customer or insurance company doesn't like the report.


PS...and if the aluminum is to remain, I'd strongly recommend an interwired 120-volt with battery backup smoke alarm system to every sleeping area and every floor (with copper wiring).

#157917 - 02/11/06 09:09 PM Re: Inspecting Aluminum Wiring
RobbieD Offline

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 238
Loc: Canada
Thanks guys.
I don't like aluminum wiring either but there are homes around here that still have it from the 70's.

What do you guys think of COPALUM crimps to solve the problems with the terminations?

Do you guys agree or disagree that if all terminations are done like it said on the report, so there will be a piece of copper pig tailed to the aluminum with one of those connectors, that it will make it safe?

Any opinions on this?

I was just curious on how others improve the safety of the wiring in the house without re-running copper everywhere.

I have been asked to check out aluminum wiring in houses before and always told them no thanks.

[This message has been edited by RobbieD (edited 02-12-2006).]

#157918 - 02/12/06 09:41 AM Re: Inspecting Aluminum Wiring
dougwells Offline


Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1226
Loc: kamloops BC Canada
Does anybody know what it costs to get Trained ,and also how much the tooling costs for copalum.

[This message has been edited by dougwells (edited 02-12-2006).]

#157919 - 02/12/06 10:12 AM Re: Inspecting Aluminum Wiring
RobbieD Offline

Registered: 02/23/03
Posts: 238
Loc: Canada
I just looked it up on the web for the first time. Wow it seems expensive for the training. Seems crazy since its only a specialized crimping tool. They don't even give a price for the tool, they say lease only? Has anyone ever used this tool and received the training?

#157920 - 02/13/06 05:01 AM Re: Inspecting Aluminum Wiring
kd Offline

Registered: 12/14/04
Posts: 51
I have done some aluminum repairs by using small size Cu/Al split bolts with Deox to convert to Copper wire for connection to receptacles. These are UL approved for Cu to Al connections.I tape the splice with 3M tape. I advise the customer in writing to re-torque all Aluminum connections every 5 years and to repair all Al splices, but they just want to fix the "burned outlets." I think all the Cu/Al wire nuts (purple?) are no longer UL listed.
It may be cheaper to re-wire a house with Copper than to Copalum all outlets. If I were Copalum certified, I would want $150 hr. per electrician. But where would you find work?

#157921 - 02/13/06 05:14 AM Re: Inspecting Aluminum Wiring
kd Offline

Registered: 12/14/04
Posts: 51
I do not see liability in inspecting a house and recommending re-wiring with Copper wire or re-splicing all connections and pigtailing to Copper. The liability is in doing the pigtailing work. Also, what is the big deal in re-wiring a house for $15 k if the seller is making a $400 k profit on the sale? (Just kidding--I know sellers who balk at merely replacing a few receptacles or switches.)

#157922 - 02/19/06 04:42 AM Re: Inspecting Aluminum Wiring
LearJet9 Offline

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 196
Loc: Millis, MA USA
Consulting is a service we normally provide. We have inspected a few locations with AL wiring throughout. In 100% of those cases the result was so poor our recommendation was complete replacement. Don't know what they finally did.


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