How To Look At A House

McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of  

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Does a home inspector check for aluminum wiring?

Thursday, August 27, 2020

The Standard of Practice of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (interNACHI) states that “the inspector shall report as in need of correction the presence of solid conductor aluminum branch-circuit wiring, if readily visible.” But the other major national home inspector association, the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI), only specifies that an inspector should examine and describe wiring where visible. You could assume that it includes noting any aluminum wiring, but it is not directly addressed. 

    There are actually two types of aluminum wiring, and only one of them is considered unsafe. Solid aluminum wiring is the type to be avoided. It was an alloy only produced during the mid-1960s to mid-’70s. The other, multi-strand aluminum wiring, is code-approved and frequently used today for service entrance cables and wiring to major appliances.

    The location where a home inspector would observe the  light-gray metal color of aluminum wiring is at the wire connections at the neutral bus bar inside the electrical panel. An example is shown above.

    Although solid aluminum wiring could also be found inside wall receptacle boxes around an older home, they are not usually opened for examination by the inspector. Also see our blog posts  and  and  and  and When did they stop using aluminum wiring?  

    Click on any of the links below to read other articles about what is required to be included, or not, in a home inspection:

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• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Here’s links to a collection of our other blog posts about ELECTRICAL WIRING:

Which house appliances need a dedicated electrical circuit?

Can a short circuit cause a high electric bill?

What is the maximum spacing requirement for securing NM-cable (nonmetallic-sheathed cable)?

Is it alright to just put wire nuts on the end of unused or abandoned NM-cable or wiring?

What causes copper wires to turn green or black in an electric panel?  

What are typical aluminum service entrance wire/cable sizes for the electrical service to a house?

Why is it unsafe to bond neutral and ground wiring at subpanels?

Should I get a lightning rod system to protect my house?

Why is a strain relief clamp necessary for the cord connection to some electric appliances?  

Does a wire nut connection need to be wrapped with electrical tape?

What is the minimum clearance of overhead electric service drop wires above a house roof?

What are the requirements for NM-cables entering an electric panel box? 

What is the color code for NM cable (Romex®) sheathing?

Why are old electrical components not always "grandfathered" as acceptable by home inspectors?

How can I find out the size of the electric service to a house?

Can old electrical wiring go bad inside a wall? 

What is an open electrical splice?

What are the most common electrical defects found in a home inspection? 

What is the life expectancy of electrical wiring in a house? 

What is an "open junction box"? 

How dangerous is old electrical wiring? 

What is a ground wire? 

I heard that aluminum wiring is bad. How do you check for aluminum wiring?  

What is "knob and tube" wiring?  

What is the code requirement for receptacle outlets in a closet?

   Visit our ELECTRICAL and "DOES A HOME INSPECTOR…?” pages for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles.

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