Re: House hunting, was [gardeners] Tumbler tomatoes

George Shirley (
Fri, 15 May 1998 10:24:10

At 07:39 AM 5/15/98 -0600, you wrote:
>>I hope Steve is remembering to pull a few outlets and switches to check for
>>aluminum wiring. Some of the older homes still have it and it's a definite
>>fire hazard due to bimetallic corrosion. We turned down a home we thought
>>we really wanted down here in 1988 because it would have cost to much to
>>totally rewire it.
>We added onto our house in 1988, and I have a strong suspicion that the
>contractor used aluminum wiring.  It was passed by the inspector, and our
>area does conform to the Uniform Building Code.  One electrician I later
>talked to said it was okay, if the ends of the wires were sprayed with an
>anti-corrosion stuff (ran out of words).  What do you do, George?  Turn off
>the breaker, take switch plate off and undo the wire to look at it?
Usually you can just pull the switch plate and look at the ends of the wire
where they are twisted under the connection screw. I use a little high
intensity flash light to help these old eyes out. If the electrical wire is
silver looking the odds are it's aluminum. If it's copper or brass looking
then it's likely copper. UBC hasn't allowed aluminum wiring since the early
Seventies to the best of my knowledge.

The problem with the anti-corrosion spray is that you ever redo the
connection and don't respray it you could have problems down the road. If
your add-on was done by a competent contractor who used the pertinent codes
the odds are good that you have copper wiring. I would take a look anyway.