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Is all solid conductor aluminum wiring bad?

The following is from the Electrical section of the Washington State, Standards of Practice, for home inspectors. It states that the inspector will:

“(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 its safe.”

I am quite sure that the framers of the Standards (and not just Washington State--most are similar) thought that this statement would cover all the bases for this problematic type of wiring that was popular between 1964 and 1976.

What they did not count on was that it would be back.

Three times now, sinch 2010, I have found instances of solid conductor aluminum wiring present in homes. The first instance I found was #8, solid conductor aluminum wiring to an air conditioner. The other two instances was the flexible conduit wiring from the furnace to the switch/panel for the furnace. In the furnace wiring, it was just the ground wire that was aluminum, while the hot and neutral conductors were copper.

Aluminum ground wire

As solid conductor aluminum wiring finds its way back into our lives, it poses a difficulty for an inspector required to report it as problematic.

In my reports I merely state that it is present but that it is not the material the Standards is talking about. Perhaps the Standards should have had some dates in there—then again perhaps this newer aluminum will develop similar problems and the Standards will be accurate again.

PS. For those of you with sharp eyes, the flex conduit has the wrong connector and the ground wire should not be connected where it is–but those things are not what the post is about.

 

Charles Buell, Real Estate Inspections in Seattle

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Seattle Home Inspector

 

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Comment balloon 13 commentsCharles Buell • April 27 2014 11:03AM
Is all solid conductor aluminum wiring bad?
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