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Thread: home inspector fails house with Aluminum wiring

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stevenfyeager View Post
    A home inspector just failed a house with aluminum wiring because all the outlets, switches, and light fixtures are not AL rated. He is saying all the devices have to be replaced with AL-Cu types. And all the light fixtures have to have the barrel AL-Cu connectors. Is the seller responsible to pay to have this done? AL devices are about $3 apiece, and the labor for every junction in the whole house would be expensive. Thank you.
    Light fixtures don't "need" the copalum crimps and the old recs don't need to be replaced with CO/ALR devices. What can be done is to simply install alumiconns betwixt the AL nm and the CU pigtails/devices - a fairly cheap easy solution compared to finding someone qualified to do the copalum, or rewire the house

    Quote Originally Posted by petersonra View Post

    Personally, I do not think it is appropriate for the HI to be recommending what the fix should be for any problem he finds with the house. That should be up to a professional in that line of work.....
    X2

    The HI has no business recommending any type of fix for this.

    If he feels there is a legitimate concern, he can relay his concerns to the HO and recommend they contact an EC.

  2. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by petersonra View Post
    I don't think it is legalistically correct to say he "failed" it. He did point out some legitimate issues that the buyer should at least know about going into the deal.

    Beyond that, it is up to the buyer, seller, mortgage holder, and insurer to collectively determine what if any corrective action is made, or who pays for it if some action is taken.

    Personally, I do not think it is appropriate for the HI to be recommending what the fix should be for any problem he finds with the house. That should be up to a professional in that line of work, and not the HI.
    I agree that the HI should not recommend a particular type of fix, He should just writ up the facts, that improper devices and potential hazard exist. What is the standard of the industry. Recommend a Licensed electrician to further investigate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Little Bill View Post
    Funny how the HI even knows if the devices are correct or not. I say that because I hear them say all the time that they don't/won't/can't remove devices. They only remove the panel covers. They don't (at least in my area) even take the device cover plates off.

    I always thought it odd that they will remove a panel cover but not a switch or receptacle cover!
    Gee Look there is Aluminum wiring in the panel to the branch circuits oh and there is brand new receptacles and switches. Lets see if they used the proper terminations. ......... Highly expected from a competent HI.

    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    I might guess that if a good inspector sees that an older home was constructed with Al wire, he will specifically look to see if a representative sample of the devices are rated for it.


    Quote Originally Posted by user 100 View Post
    Light fixtures don't "need" the copalum connectors...

    If there are copper to aluminum connections at the fixture they certainly do.

    This sounds like a good HI, Caught a HO or a prior HO who probably installed new non rated devices in a older home with AL wire thinking it was ok to do so. NOT. This is a real hazard. Melted wires in the outlet box will eventually result. Especially if a HO did the replacement devices. I have no sympathy for the HO.

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sierrasparky View Post



    If there are copper to aluminum connections at the fixture they certainly do.

    This sounds like a good HI, Caught a HO or a prior HO who probably installed new non rated devices in a older home with AL wire thinking it was ok to do so. NOT. This is a real hazard. Melted wires in the outlet box will eventually result. Especially if a HO did the replacement devices. I have no sympathy for the HO.
    I didn't say that a fix wasn't necessary- just that the copalum scheme isn't needed.....

    I said this
    V V V V
    Quote Originally Posted by user 100 View Post
    What can be done is to simply install alumiconns betwixt the AL nm and the CU pigtails/devices - a fairly cheap easy solution compared to finding someone qualified to do the copalum, or rewire the house
    Alumiconns are cheaper and seem to have a pretty good track record thus far.

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by user 100 View Post
    I didn't say that a fix wasn't necessary- just that the copalum scheme isn't needed.....

    I said this
    V V V V


    Alumiconns are cheaper and seem to have a pretty good track record thus far.
    Agree you don't need Copalum but you do need an approved method.

  5. #15
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    To the code peeps, what's the code that covers this? Also, are there any code issues that wouldn't be considered a safety issue?

    The seller traditionally pays for safety issues to be corrected and usually its the only things that go onto the request for repair. Everything else in the inspection regarding damage, wear, etc. is usually what's negotiated separately. However, if the buyer really wants the house, it can go a long way if the buyer simply points out the tradition but says he'll take care of it on his end and removes his inspection contingency.

    The seller simply may not have the the money to pay for the corrections though, in which case, you probably don't want to do a request for repair but want to do an amendment with concessions.

    It sounds like you might be on the side of the seller, in which case hope that the buyer doesn't care. In a seller's market like we have, some sellers will just refuse to do it and hope the next person doesn't care. Don't forget though that seller is now required to disclose it to the next buyer, and can't just hope they don't find the same issue.

    I'm amazed though, that's a thorough inspector. Did he scope the sewer pipes too?

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sierrasparky View Post
    Agree you don't need Copalum but you do need an approved method.

    Alumiconns are approved -per the CPSC several years ago iirc.

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by user 100 View Post
    Alumiconns are approved -per the CPSC several years ago iirc.
    The code says otherwise. Approved means it is approved by the AHJ. And that is NOT the local building inspector or the CPSC.

    It seems likely that if a federal governmental entity has stated this is a safe method of dealing with the problem that most AHJs would accept that.
    Bob

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by petersonra View Post
    The code says otherwise. Approved means it is approved by the AHJ. And that is NOT the local building inspector or the CPSC.

    It seems likely that if a federal governmental entity has stated this is a safe method of dealing with the problem that most AHJs would accept that.
    I seriously doubt that these devices were installed sometime after the originals that were approved to be used with aluminum conductors. This HI found these violations and is advising the buyer. He had every right to do so. It is a code violation to have replaced the original outlets without using an approved method.

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sierrasparky View Post
    Agree you don't need Copalum but you do need an approved method.
    Quote Originally Posted by petersonra View Post
    The code says otherwise. Approved means it is approved by the AHJ. And that is NOT the local building inspector or the CPSC.

    It seems likely that if a federal governmental entity has stated this is a safe method of dealing with the problem that most AHJs would accept that.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sierrasparky View Post
    It is a code violation to have replaced the original outlets without using an approved method.
    So this HI is the AHJ?

    I am aware of the NEC definition of approved- the CPSC ref above had nothing to do w/ AHJ approval of anything- just pointing out that the alumiconns have been found to be a satisfactory repair for AL wiring by said agency.

    I am confident that the op also knows that his AHJ is the "be all, end all" for any method, but just in case he is not-

    From ART 100-

    Approved: Acceptable to the area having jurisdiction.

    In short, if in doubt, contact your AHJ, instead of taking the word of a HI who is proposing a needlessly expensive solution. And if it turns out that the HI was right on target and copalum is what is required for that area, more power to him. Yet still, he should just refer clients to an electrician and slink away.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by infinity View Post
    IMO if the HI's finding are all true then the seller is on the hook for this one.
    Quote Originally Posted by 480sparky View Post
    Not necessarily. The buyer could offer to buy at a lower price with no conditions.
    I was using a broad term, the seller would still be "on the hook" if he had to give back several thousands of dollars from his pocket. Also the buyer might not be able to get insurance with this problem and if the deal is to proceed to closing then the seller might need to actually make all of the repairs.
    Rob

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    All responses based on the 2014 NEC unless otherwise noted

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