Buying a house, Aluminum Wiring?

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Brian Henderson wrote:
> Unfortunately, my parent's house, which was built in the mid-60s, has > all aluminum internal wiring. The dining room has started to fail in > parts, the light switch to the ceiling lights doesn't work anymore, I > ran an extension plug for the lights to an independent outlet so my > mother can get light but really, the whole house needs to be > completely rewired with copper. > > I'm just afraid that I'll get tapped for the job if I suggest it. :)
I don't mean to be macabre; however, a rewire beats the hell out of the possible alternate, a premature funeral.
Lew
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Brian Henderson wrote:

While I've had no direct experience with Aluminum wiring but I've read enough to think rewiring isn't needed nor necessary....The wire itself isn't the problem just the connections......however leaving faulty switch, plug or junction boxes without proper Alum/copper terminals is a fire waiting to happen......not to mention independent of wiring type switches etc. will fail over time or with repeated use.....if a new switch didn't deal with the faulty light then a junction box would be a likely culprit...back to that dangerous thing......anyway if you can't by choice, skills or code just swapping out receptacles, switches and junction boxes isn't anywhere near the cost of a rewire. Rod
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Brian Henderson wrote:

You should be afraid of far more than that if it's really as bad as the post makes it sound -- the extension cord trick is probably as bad if not worse than the problem itself.
As someone else has noted, it's not always necessary to totally re-wire, but certainly a rework of the connections sooner rather than later is in order.
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My guess would be that they attach the new wire to the old wire, and as they pull the old wire out on one side, the new wire is fed into the wall. Basically, you're using the old wire as a fish tape.
Thanks to junctions and snags, it's probably not as easy to do as it is to describe.
Puckdropper
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Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.

To email me directly, send a message to puckdropper (at) fastmail.fm
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By disconnecting the existing cables at all accessible points and abandoning them in place, removing all outlets, and fishing new cable through walls, floors, and ceilings. Sometimes this requires small access holes to be opened up in walls or ceilings, which are then patched later, but there's no need whatever to gut the house.
For a single-story home with an unfinished basement below, and an accessible attic above, it's really pretty easy. The hardest part for me was getting wires from the basement to the attic; I finally solved that problem by installing a large conduit inside a closet. I put it in one of the front corners, so it's not readily visible. The current owner of that house has been there for more than 20 years, and I bet he's never seen it.

Thanks to the cable having been secured to the framing during original construction, it's normally impossible to do it that way.
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Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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