We just bought a house and one of the first things I want to do is
rewire it to get rid of the aluminum wiring. I've been studying the
Ontario Electrical Code Simplified book to get an idea of what's going
to be involved. I'm going to be working with an electrician on this
(although I will hopefully do most of the work), but I don't want to
bother him yet, since it's still 6 weeks before we actually get the
I have access to all the floors (except for the finished basement) from
either the attic or crawl space, so I'm hoping this will require very
little opening up of the walls. There is one question I have though
.... on a rewiring project, do I need to comply with the rule that
requires the wire to be attached to the stud within 12" (30cm) of the
box and 5' (1.5m) thereafter? If so, then this would definately
require more holes in the walls? If I don't need to comply with this
rule on a reno, does anyone know which rule says so (remembering it's
the Ontario, Canada codes that apply to me, not the NEC or CEC).
Oh, one more thing, if I infact don't need to secure the wiring inside
the walls, would it be advisable to use BX wire instead of Romex, since
there will be a greater chance of accidentally hitting the wires with
nails, etc. when hanging pictures, etc.
Thank you so much,
Keep in mind that hitting the wiring with nails does not have much
of anything to do with wires being attached to studs. In fact, a
pulled wire which is relatively loose is safer wrt nails. --Phil
Harry Muscle wrote:
Phil Munro Dept of Electrical & Computer Engin
mailto: email@example.com Youngstown State University
I was sure this was in P.S.Knight's book, but at a glance I can't see
it. But I also happen to have a copy of Electrical Wiring Residential,
based on the 2002 Canadian Electrical Code, by Martin, Muller and
Stephenson. I found it in the bookstore of a Community College. On page
81 there is the paragraph:
"Rule 12-616 permits armoured cables to be 'fished' between boxes or
other access points without additional protection. The logic is similar
to the exception that permits nonmetallic-sheathed cable to be fished
between outlets without requiring supports as stated in Rule 12-520."
So it looks like rule 12-520 is what you're looking for, but I don't
have a copy of the code itself. Interestingly there is no mention of it
in the NM section of the book, just this sideways comment in the
You'll find many fans of armoured cable on this group but I'd guess 95%
of do-it-yourself types (and 100% of professionals?) use the
non-metallic stuff when code permits it. Armoured is more expensive to
buy and harder (ie, more expensive) to work with. I believe the theory
is that in an open wall cavity, non-metallic cable will just get pushed
out of the way by a nail. And besides, you shouldn't hang pictures by
driving 2" nails through your drywall.
If you want to use armoured, can you get old-work boxes that take the
right cable clamps? The ones I see have internal cable clamps for (I
think) NM only.
the only person who will KNOW is the inspector. When you phone
about getting a permit, ask the inspector who will be doing
your house what he/she wants. I suspect as soon as you ask,
you will be labelled as a oh-oh-another-know-nothing-handyman
and he/she will tell you it is a must.
Since the code says it should be attached, you better do it.
Or, rethink changing everything to copper and just put
all new receptacles in. There's nothing wrong
with aluminum AFAIK except corrosion at joints.
Perhaps change a few of the easy circuits to copper
if it makes you feel better.
Sounds to me like make-work.
There is nothing wrong with AL wiring. As long as the installer used the
proper devices AL-CU or pigtailed out in copper for devices not dual rated.
My home circa 1971 has AL wiring. I tightened the panel when I bought the
house and everything is ducky.
New homes in Arizona have all the big wire as AL anyway.
Meggar the circuits one by one and see if there are any problems.
You will spend a lot of time, effort and money for what? Peace of mind?
No need to staple the wires on rework, inspector will not even look. BX is
a waste of effort, hard to work with, good source of reference books and
expert assistance is Wiring Mart, look it up in book, 3 locations in the
GTA. Alum wire affects insurance rates and this 'safe' product burns down
hundreds of homes each year. Yank it out, sell it for scrap. Alum is good
for beer cans and nothing else.
The lazy assed answers about AL being fine as wiring is from too lazy to
care idiots waiting for a burn out. AL affects your insurance rate, resale
value, etc. Get rid of it.
The prob with AL wire is it is easily nicked, prone to overheat and corrode
as well as premature failure. Why save the ten dollars????
Remove the obvious to reply. Experienced and reliable
Concrete Finishing and Synthetic Stucco application in the GTA.
Harry Muscle ( firstname.lastname@example.org) said...
Simple answer: no.
Detailed answer, the full rule in the Ontario Electrical Safety Code
you mention (note Subrule (3)):
12-510 Running of Cable between Boxes and Fittings
(1) Where the cable is run between boxes and fittings, it shall be
supported by straps or other devices located within 300 mm of
every box or fitting and at intervals of not more than 1.5 m
throughout the run.
(2) Cables run through holes in joists or studs shall be considered
to be supported.
(3) Notwithstanding Subrules (1) and (2), where the cable is run as
concealed wiring such that it is impracticable to support it, the
cable shall be permitted to be fished and need not be supported
between boxes and fittings.
Rules 12-5xx apply to nonmetalic sheathed cable (eg: Romex).
"Never ascribe to malice what can equally be explained by incompetence."
Wonderful news, thank you so much to everyone who responded. Not
having to secure it inside the walls will definately make it easier to
avoid making tons of holes or pulling whole sections off.
As for BX wiring, would there be any real benefit to using it, or would
I just be making things more expensive and harder to work with for no
Unless local codes require it, stick with romex. Easier to work with
and less expensive.
However, if the house is PROPERLY wired with aluminum wire AND the
switches/outlets/etc are properly rated for aluminum, rewireing is a
waste of time and $$.
If you do it anyway, and the switches/outlets/etc are spec'd for
aluminum only, you will have to replace all of them.
Rich Greenberg Marietta, GA, USA richgr atsign panix.com + 1 770 321 6507
Eastern time. N6LRT I speak for myself & my dogs only. VM'er since CP-67
The outlets and plugs are all pretty old and yellowing, so I would
replace them all even if I wasn't rewiring ... but rewiring will give
me that piece of mind I would like ... plus I'm having the fuse panel
changed to breakers anyway, and would like to add a few extra circuits,
so rewiring only makes sense ...
Your answer about fastening the cable is answered in this thread, however,
if you have drywall, don't be afraid of opening it up. In a busy area where
there is a lot of wires, it is simpler to pull a whole sheet than to patch a
couple of cut-outs. Life is hard enough without worrying about a bit of
cheap drywall. If you open up outside walls it is an opportunity to seal air
leaks, beef up insulated and upgrade the vapour barrier if the house even
has one. Been there, done that, glad I did. I just pulled a couple of sheets
in the kitchen area to revise some wiring, it allowed me to move some boxes,
pull some additional cable and to do a good job as well. Now you cannot tell
that the walls were just opened.
The assumption that you only have to adhere to the Ontario code is
incorrect. In fact there is no Ontario code. Rather, you have to adhere
to the CEC and whatever additional requirements Ontario and your
Are you talking of a HOA or Condo management? If you are in a condo,
usually, you do NOT own the outside of your unit, and management can tell
you what to do outside. If you have a freehold unit, not governed by the
Condo management, you may be able to do what you want - leaving the fence. I
am not familiar with the actual power of a HOA association over private
property, if this is what you have. You may want to read the documents
covering your ownership and possibly demand to see their documents that give
them the authority.
The simple answer: ask your electrician. One question shouldn't bother him 6
weeks before your job starts. He should be happy to answer it. If he is
peeved by one question, maybe you should take the hint and find one you feel
comfortable discussing such things with.
Especially in the kitchen, don't be afraid to pull down sheet rock and run
your wires. New sheet rock looks nice, it's messy only for a short period,
and is easy to reinstall. Pay someone to do the "mud and tape" if you're not
skilled at that kind of finish work. Plan for many more outlets in the
kitchen, as long as you're rewiring; kitchens are famous for being typically
under-powered. I put 4x4 boxes with double duplex outlets on each counter,
and a couple more around.
Consider running cat 5e network cable (2 runs each) and TV cable (2 runs
each) to the rooms, as long as you're pulling wire. Maybe optical fibre too
(also recommend 2 runs each). Terminate all at a convenient point near the
phone and TV service entry, some place you'll eventually put network and
other service distribution equipment.
I know that this sounds like orders of magnitude above the complexity of just
rewiring the electrical system, but now is the ideal time to consider this.
You wouldn't want to do this job twice, would you? It will all be an
investment in the value of the home, both to your family and when it comes
time to sell.
Please, no "Go Google this" replies. I wouldn\'t
ask a question here if I hadn\'t done that already.
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