Aluminum Wiring
Aluminum Wiring: I usually come across this when inspecting homes built between approx. mid 1960's to late
1970's. The wire is silver in colour as opposed to a brownish colour for copper wire, see pictures below.

When Aluminum Wiring is found in a home, home inspectors are required to report on it...usually the home
inspector will indicate something like "Insurance may be an issue, recommend a licensed electrician provide a
safety certificate". Always check with your insurance company as to what their specific policy is, we can only
make you aware of it...the rest is up to you.

Why is Aluminum Wiring an issue?

This is due to the tendency of aluminum wiring to oxidize (rust), and aluminum’s incompatibility with devices
designed for use with copper wiring only. Aluminum has a higher rate of expansion than copper wiring, which
can lead to loose connections, arcing and melting, eventually fire. Aluminum wiring should only be connected to
approved electrical devices.

Note: Warm cover plates or discolouration of switches or receptacles, flickering lights or the smell of hot plastic
insulation may be evidence of poor or improperly made connections.

MUST READ THIS: Here is a notice from the ESA (Electrical Safety Authority) which provides information on
Aluminum Wiring and the need for a "safety certificate".



Safety Issue: DO NOT open electrical panels or outlets, if your not sure call a Qualified Licensed
Electrician...

To find an electrical contractor/electrician click here:
http://www.esasafe.com/GeneralPublic/hc_003.php?s=8
Here you will see Aluminum wiring on
the left and Copper on the right
Sometimes the word Aluminum will be
visible on the actual wire sheathing
Damage which can occur
when Aluminum wiring is not
installed correctly, and/or
when the wrong type of
electrical housings/recepticals
are used
Electrical
Knob & Tube Wiring
Knob & Tube wiring: Usually found in Homes up to 1950's. It consisted of single insulated
copper conductors run within wall or ceiling cavities, passing through joist and stud drill-holes via
protective porcelain insulating
tubes, and supported along their length on nailed-down porcelain
knob insulators. Where conductors entered a wiring device such as a lamp or switch, they were
protected by flexible cloth insulating sleeving. The first insulation was asphalt-saturated cotton
cloth, then rubber became common. Wire splices in such installations were twisted for good
mechanical strength, then soldered and wrapped with friction tape (asphalt saturated cloth), or
made inside metal junction boxes.

Why is Knob and Tube wiring an issue?

1. knob-and-tube wiring never included a safety grounding conductor.
2. It permitted the use of in-line splices in walls without a junction box (and thus exposing a
potential fire hazard of an uncontained spark caused by arcing following mechanical failure of the
splice). Especially a concern if a homeowner decided to install an additional outlet and tie it into
the old wiring.
3. Improper fuse ratings were used to compensate for the overtaxing of a circuit.

What to do if you suspect Knob and Tube wiring:

You should consult with your insurance company as to what their policy is. They may require a
licensed electrician further evaluate as to how many circuits and the condition. They may allow a
percentage of knob and tube or they may require an upgrade to more modern wiring

When Knob and Tube wiring is found in a home, home inspectors are required to report on
it...usually the home inspector will indicate something like "Insurance may be an issue,
recommend a licensed electrician further investigate". Always check with your insurance company
as to what there specific policy is, we can only make you aware of it...the rest is up to you.

MUST READ THIS: Here is a notice from the ESA (Electrical Safety Authority) which provides
information on
Knob and Tube wiring.



Safety Issue: DO NOT touch or disturb Knob and Tube wiring, if your not sure call a
Qualified Licensed Electrician...

To find an electrical contractor/electrician click here:

http://www.esasafe.com/GeneralPublic/hc_003.php?s=8
Electrical Safety Authority (ESA):Aluminum Wiring 16-30FL FLASH
Aluminum Wiring
Knob and Tube Wiring
A ground fault happens whenever electricity escapes the confines of the wiring in an appliance,
light fixture, or power tool and takes a shortcut to the ground. When that short cut is through a
human, the results can be deadly. About 200 people in the U.S. Alone die of ground faults each
year, accounting for two-thirds of all electrocutions occurring in homes.

To prevent such accidents, Charles Dalziel, a professor of electrical engineering at the
University of California, invented the ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI), in 1961. Most of the
time, his invention does nothing; it just monitors the difference in the current flowing into and out
of a tool or appliance. But when that difference exceeds 5 milliamps, an indication that a ground
fault may be occurring, the GFCI shuts off the flow in an instant — as little as .025 second.
GFCI - Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter
Knob and Tube Wiring (ESA): Click here for more information
What GFCI's are.
Where they are used.
Any newer renovations and as a safety issue you may require upgrading or installation of GFCI's
in all of the following locations:

In Ontario GFCI's are required to be installed withing 3 feet (1.5 meters) of any water source such
as - bathroom and kitchen sinks, laundry tubs, whirlpools, jacuzzi's, exterior outlets such as
garages, swimming pools and spas.
GFCI - Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter
Final Note.
GFCI's can be purchased at most hardware stores usually for approx $15-$40 depending on
the type. I recommend that a licensed electrician perform all electrical work.

To find an electrical contractor/electrician click here:
http://www.esasafe.com/GeneralPublic/hc_003.php?s=8
Testing GFCI's
GFCI's are a mechanical device which means that they can fail. Sometimes they may fail and
still provide power, other times they may not. GFCI's have two buttons on the face of the
receptical/outlet some may have blue and white or red and white or the same colours. One
button is actually a "test" button and they other is a "reset" button. It is recommended that ALL
GFCI's be tested just after installation and on a monthly basis for proper operation.
 
 
 
Examples of knob & tube wiring
Electricity Cost Calculators
Have you ever wondered how much that light bulb in your bedroom is costing you to run. Or
maybe that new coffee maker you use everyday? And you don't really know where to start with
the math. Luckily there are programs out there that can do the math for you, all you need is to
plug in a few numbers.

HydroOne calculator is the Appliance Cost Calculator where you can pick an individual
appliance like an air cleaner or can opener or one of about 30-40 get the cost to operate the
appliance.

HydroOne.com -
Appliance Electricity Cost Calculator

Rapidtables.com - Electricity Bill Calculator
Electricity Cost Calculators
 
Natural Resources Canada (NRC): Energy Cost Calculator for Appliances
information, materials and techniques described are the responsibility of the user. Readers are advised to consult appropriate
professional resources to determine what is safe and suitable in their particular case. DASH Inspection Services assumes no
responsibility for any consequence arising from use of the information, materials and techniques described. Any reference to a
specific company is for general information only. I highly recommend you get a min of three quotes and do your homework.