Aluminum wiring {question}

Reply

  #1  
Old 04-13-05, 11:38 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 109
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Aluminum wiring {question}

Hello All-

I am set to close on a house next Thursday - I just got a call from my insurance company saying they have info in their underwriting that they can not insure a house with aluminum wiring because of fire hazard. Now I know there are a lot of differing opinions on aluminum wiring - I'm not here to debate them. My inspector said the wiring looked great at the panel - and at all the outlets, switches that he checked and that there was nothing to worry about - unless I started noticing shorts at them - flickering lights or appliances when you walk around, etc - something to indicate that the wiring was getting thin and close to breaking perhaps.

My insurance company wants me to have all connections retrofitted with a copalum crimped fitting that can be installed only with tools and materials available to licensed electricicans. Now in a 2000 square foot house, there could be 100 different receptacles, switches, fixtures, etc that need to be retrofitted.

Here are the questions:

1- Anyone know if this is typical from insurance companies? Can I just go elsewhere?

2- How much do you think it would cost per "pigtail" to do these repairs? I'm assuming that you have to do 2 at each outlet since there are 2 plugs - and one at every fixture, light switch, etc.

3- Is this something that can really only be done by a licensed electrician?

Sorry for not searching for this first - I'm panicing and just wanted to try and get some answers as quickly as I could.

Thanks, Rick
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 04-13-05, 12:10 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,944
Received 42 Votes on 40 Posts
In the short term, I think you should find a different insurance company. You may need to pay a little bit more, but it will be worth it to get your closing taken care of on schedule.

In the longer term, you should plan to have an electrician (not a home inspector) come out and do a detailed inspection of all of your receptacles and fixtures. After looking at the stuff first hand, he will be able to give you much better advice than folks here can without actually examining the wiring.
 
  #3  
Old 04-13-05, 12:57 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 109
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the info. So how about this - does anyone have any estimates on making repairs with the copalum crimpers? I can assume worst case that I have to go with them and be prepared for that type of expense. But if I'm talking $5000 worth of electrical work for that, I'm going to have to rethink things real fast...
 
  #4  
Old 04-13-05, 02:22 PM
Hellrazor's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Eastern USA
Posts: 1,038
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
You have a few choices.

1. Check with a different insurance company.
2. Back off the sale stating the exact reasoning.
3. Get an estimate together to do the work and try to renegotiate the pricing with this as a requirement for the sale.
 
  #5  
Old 04-13-05, 02:31 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,944
Received 42 Votes on 40 Posts
In terms of money, the worst case would be having to replace a large amount of the wiring in the house. The best case would be just the copalum connectors (or nothing at all if the aluminum wiring is in really good shape). I think Hellrazor makes a great point that you should get an estimate from an electrician and perhaps use that to renegotiate the sale if the amount is too large for you to handle.
 
  #6  
Old 04-13-05, 08:38 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 109
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks again for the responses - I appreciate all feedback. I guess the main concern is at this point - I am selling my house and closing next Thursday - then the day after I close on the house with the aluminum wiring. So there isn't much time for an electrician to go check things out - we have already been through the inspection and agreed upon repairs - I don't know that we can reopen negotiations based upon this. I'm going to be homeless next Thursday if I don't buy the house. That presents a major problem. Certainly I can go get another insurance agent - already have found 2 that will cover me with aluminum wiring as is. But the ultimate concern is our safety. In that regard, I think the wife and I would be more secure knowing we had used the method approved by the US Consumer Product Safety Division (or whatever they are called). So does anyone have a per receptacle type of cost estimate for this copalum fitting?

In short - I think we can close on time with a different insurance company - then we can have an electrician come take a look, determine what problems there are, if any, and give us an estimate. I just don't want to suffer from sticker shock and want to know if I'm going to be able to afford the copalum fittings at this point - or if I'm going to go with the wire nuts with the di-ox (sp?) already in them and call it good. Does the wire nut solution really make that much difference over the copalum??

Thanks again...hope I'm not being too much of a pest - it is late and I have had a few beers...
 
  #7  
Old 04-13-05, 09:08 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I doubt that you will need to switch insurance companies. If you ask your insurance company to give you 60 days to make the changes (covering you in the mean time), I'm sure they'll agree.
 
  #8  
Old 04-13-05, 10:07 PM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: CA
Posts: 2,041
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Insurance companies sometimes "share" underwriting issues like this; so be sure you are not hiding anything from a new company. The last thing you want is that if there is a fire, you find coverage denied.


There is a lot of aluminum wiring out there, and it is not like the country is going up in flames. There are issues, however. You may never have a fire, but it seems likely you would sooner or later have issues like "warm" switches and outlets, loose connections, etc. It really would give some peace of mind to get the pigtail job done. If you figured 15 to 30 minutes per device, times the going rate in your area ( $60 to $80 per hour?) you could get some ballpark. Material cost would be modest.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: