Photograph of aluminum electrical wiring in a home. Aluminum Wiring Inspection Guide
Procedures for Home Inspectors

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This article contains additional notes on aluminum wiring intended for home inspectors. Readers should also see the Aluminum Wiring Home Page

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Home Inspectors' Concerns Regarding Twist-On Connectors for Aluminum Wiring Repairs

The CPSC SAFETY concerns with aluminum wiring hazards and problems with some of the aluminum wiring repair connectors on the market raise safety concerns. Home inspectors should review the CPSC recommendations for and against various aluminum wiring repair connectors (available at this website).

In addition to the re-wiring option, there are aluminum-to-copper connection products that perform well for aluminum wiring repair using the copper-pigtailing method.

Based field experience with the inspection of in-service residential electrical wiring, the availability to consumers of any comparatively low-cost "solution," if it is approved for only narrow, specific, limited use, may result in widespread do-it-yourself misapplication and possibly dangerous use of the device.

We've already seen this problem where we've found use of common twist-on connectors as a "retrofit" made by homeowners and electricians who have heard that there is a "pigtailing" "fix" but who have not read the CPSC literature or who considered the AMP TYCO COPALUM aluminum wiring repair too costly or too difficult to obtain in their area.

Improper use of connectors can actually increase the probability of a fire since owners think the aluminum wiring hazard has been eliminated and may ignore important signs of a looming failure.

Ordinarily the CPSC does not "approve" nor "disapprove" specific products. An exception was the case of the "Copalum connector" for aluminum wiring, probably because another product of equal reliability had not been listed, and because of the inherent dangers of improper retrofit attempts.

Misunderstanding: ASHI Does Not Approve Products

In a 7/27/95 conversation with a representative from the Ideal corporation, the author was told that the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) was in the process of approving these connectors. This appears to have been a misunderstanding. Home inspectors who may have heard that such an approval was forthcoming should be advised that ASHI does not approve (nor disapprove) specific products.

7 Points of Key Aluminum Wiring Repair Advice Home Inspectors Should Give to their Clients

  1. Watch out: Aluminum Electrical Wiring is a Fire Hazard in Homes - see ALUMINUM WIRING SAFETY ASSESSMENT - CPSC. For help in recognizing aluminum electrical wiring in homes see ALUMINUM WIRING IDENTIFICATION.
  2. Aluminum Electrical Wiring repairs in a home where that work has not been performed will be a significant expense
  3. Aluminum wiring repairs should not be deferred, as the risk increases with age and use of the electrical system; meanwhile be sure that the home has working smoke detectors, and turn off any circuits behaving oddly.
  4. Aluminum wiring repairs should be performed only by a licensed electrician who is well informed about the correct repair methods. Using an improper repair method may actually increase the risk of a fire. See ALUMINUM WIRING REPAIR ELECTRICIANS
  5. Do use one of the following aluminum wiring repair methods:
  6. Do not use any of these aluminum wiring repair methods
    2. Twist-on connectors such as the Ideal-65 purple "twister" or other connection methods not recommended by the CPSC - see ALUMINUM WIRING REPAIRS NOT-RECOMMENDED
  7. Feel free to copy and place ALUMINUM WIRIING SUMMARY free to copy page at your website or to make printed copies to give to consumers at no charge

Suggested citation for this web page

ALUMINUM WIRING GUIDE for HOME INSPECTORS at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

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