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Friday August the 23rd, 2019 
Linda E. Sully
Broker, SRES

Johnston & Daniel, A Division of Royal LePage R.E.S. Ltd.
Brokerage

Aluminum Wiring

Published by Dash Home Inspection Services

 

ALUMINUM WIRING

Disclaimer: Although this information product reflects housing experts'
current knowledge, it is provided for general information purposes
only. Any reliance or action taken based on the information, materials
and techniques described are the responsibility of the user. Readers
are advised to consult appropriate professional resources to
determine what is safe and suitable in their particular case. DASH
Inspection Services assumes no responsibility for any consequence
arising from use of the information, materials and techniques
described.

Always, always consult with a Qualified Licensed Professional.

Aluminum Wiring: I usually come across this when inspecting homes built between
approx. mid 1960's to late 1970's. The wire is silver in colour as opposed to a brownish
colour for copper wire, see pictures below.

When Aluminum Wiring is found in a home, home inspectors are required to report on
it...usually the home inspector will indicate something like "Insurance may be an issue,
recommend a licensed electrician provide a safety certificate". Always check with your
insurance company as to what thier specific policy is, we can only make you aware of it...
the rest is up to you.

Why is Aluminum Wiring an issue?

1. This is due to the tendency of aluminum wiring to oxidize, and aluminum’s
incompatibility with devices designed for use with copper wiring only. Aluminum has a
higher rate of expansion than copper wiring, which can lead to loose connections, arcing
and melting, eventually fire. Aluminum wiring should only be connected to approved
electrical devices.

Note: Warm cover plates or discolouration of switches or receptacles, flickering lights or
the smell of hot plastic insulation may be evidence of poor or improperly made
connections.

MUST READ THIS: Here is a notice from the ESA (Electrical Safety Authority) which
provides information on Aluminum Wiring and the need for a "safety certificate". Click
here for the .pdf file.

Below you will find some images on Aluminum Wiring which may help you identify it and
some potential damage which can occur if not installed correctly.

Safety Issue: DO NOT open electrical panels or outlets, if your not sure call a
Qualified Licensed Electrician...

To find an electrical contractor/electrician click here:
http://www.esasafe.
com/GeneralPublic/hc_003.php?s=8

 

 

 

KNOB & TUBE WIRING

Knob & Tube wiring: Usually found in Homes up to 1950's. It consisted of single
insulated copper conductors run within wall or ceiling cavities, passing through joist
and stud drill-holes via protective porcelain insulating tubes, and supported along
their length on nailed-down porcelain knob insulators. Where conductors entered a
wiring device such as a lamp or switch, they were protected by flexible cloth
insulating sleeving. The first insulation was asphalt-saturated cotton cloth, then
rubber became common. Wire splices in such installations were twisted for good
mechanical strength, then soldered and wrapped with friction tape (asphalt saturated
cloth), or made inside metal junction boxes.

Why is Knob and Tube wiring an issue?

1. knob-and-tube wiring never included a safety grounding conductor.
2. It permitted the use of in-line splices in walls without a junction box (and thus
exposing a potential fire hazard of an uncontained spark caused by arcing following
mechanical failure of the splice). Especially a concern if a homeowner decided to
install an additional outlet and tie it into the old wiring.
3. Improper fuse ratings were used to compensate for the overtaxing of a circuit.

What to do if you suspect Knob and Tube wiring:

You should consult with your insurance company as to what their policy is. They may
require a licensed electrician further evaluate as to how many circuits and the
condition. They may allow a percentage of knob and tube or they may require an
upgrade to more modern wiring

When Knob and Tube wiring is found in a home, home inspectors are required to
report on it...usually the home inspector will indicate something like "Insurance may
be an issue, recommend a licensed electrician further investigate". Always check with
your insurance company as to what there specific policy is, we can only make you
aware of it...the rest is up to you.

MUST READ THIS: Here is a notice from the ESA (Electrical Safety Authority) which
provides information on Knob and Tube wiring. click here for the .pdf

Below you will find some images on Knob and Tube wiring which may help you to
identify it.

Safety Issue: DO NOT touch or disturb Knob and Tube wiring, if your not
sure call a Qualified Licensed Electrician...

To find an electrical contractor/electrician click here:

http://www.esasafe.com/GeneralPublic/hc_003.php?s=8

 

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Linda E. Sully
Broker, SRES

Johnston & Daniel, A Division of Royal LePage R.E.S. Ltd.
Brokerage

477 MT. PLEASANT ROAD , Toronto, Ontario M4S 2L9
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