Aluminum Misconceptions

20

May
2018
Posted By : Rob Swyrd 0 Comment
Categories :Residential

It has come to my attention recently that a lot of Realtors and inspectors are having difficulty with certain aspects of Aluminum wiring, let me explain..

Download the PDF file Aluminum Misconceptions.

 


Service Photographs

20

May
2016
Posted By : Rob Swyrd 0 Comment
Categories :Residential

Service Identification Photographs.

Download the PDF file Service Photographs.

 

 


Article #8 Illegal Service Upgrade

20

May
2016
Posted By : Rob Swyrd 0 Comment
Categories :Residential

We already know how important it is to have an electrical permit taken out for all electrical work that we have done. Along with this naturally comes the involvement of the City of Edmonton electrical inspectors and in a lot of cases, Epcor. When your client says that there has been a service upgrade or aluminum pig tailing done on a home, the very first thing you should ask for a copy of an electrical permit. If they say that none is available, then call the city of Edmonton at 311, and ask to speak with the city inspectors. Ask them to check to see if a permit had been taken out for the work.

A very smart home inspector called me today and said he came across a residential electrical service that he didn’t feel comfortable with. I called the city and asked if an electrical permit was taken out for an upgrade and they said “NO”. I did a site visit this morning and found that there was no sticker on the meter socket and that things were not as they should be.

One sure sign that an illegal service has been done, is the existence of Blue Marretts on the overhead wiring. This is an indication that Epcor has not been involved and that someone has cut the wires in order to do Illegal work. “THIS IS A VERY DANGEROUS SITUATION TO BE IN” First of all the untrained person cutting and handling these overhead lines, may be killed due to electrocution. The second problem with this, is the fact that the
work done on the home has not been inspected for proper code requirements. This may mean that dangerous personel hazards could exist and the possibility of fire.

Illegal Service Upgrade

20

May
2016
Posted By : Rob Swyrd 0 Comment
Categories :Residential

We already know how important it is to have an electrical permit taken out for all electrical work that we have done. Along with this naturally comes the involvement of the City of Edmonton electrical inspectors and in a lot of cases, Epcor. When your client says that there has been a service upgrade or aluminum pig tailing done on a home, the very first thing you should ask for a copy of an electrical permit..

Download the PDF file Illegal Service Upgrade.

 

 


Realtors Quick Quote

20

May
2016
Posted By : Rob Swyrd 0 Comment
Categories :Residential

A home inspector has found a 60 amp service, and you’re panicking. A quotation is needed, and negotiations are about to happen, don’t fret. I have created a new system that will give you a written quotation for a service upgrade, or aluminum conversion on the spot.

Download the PDF file Realtors Quick Quote.

 

 


Epcor said it was 100 amps

20

May
2016
Posted By : Rob Swyrd 0 Comment
Categories :Residential

I received a text from a Realtor, we will call her Linda, who sent the following message:

“The sellers contacted Epcor and received confirmation which was put into writing that there’s a 100 amp service”

Linda is referring to the size of a residential electrical service. We all know that today, insurance companies are requiring that the electrical services for a home being purchased be upgraded to 100 amp for safety reasons. This seller in this case feels that because she has a letter from Epcor saying that the service is 100 amp that her home is just that…Wrong.

Download the PDF file Epcor Said.

 

 


Buyer Beware

19

May
2016
Posted By : Rob Swyrd 0 Comment
Categories :Residential

I recently had an opportunity to interview a “service truck” employee from a competitor’s electrical company. He was applying for a position with our company, so we had an opportunity to talk in great length. He openly told me how employees at his company do not get paid hourly wages or salary, they are on commission. He went on to say that his daily goal is to increase sales by adding extra work to the service call..

Download the PDF file Buyer Beware.

 

 


Residential Aluminum Wiring

20

Jul
2015
Posted By : Rob Swyrd 0 Comment
Categories :Residential

 

Aluminum wiring was used in Western Canada in the late 1960’s through to the mid 1970’s. If purchasing an older home today, a lot of people are scarred away by the existence of aluminum wiring because of the potential threat of fire. Let me put the record straight.

 

There is nothing wrong with Aluminum wire.

 

The problem comes when an aluminum wire is compressed under the screw, on the side of a switch or receptacle for example. This problem is called “Cold Flow.”

 

When electrical current flows through an aluminum conductor, it heats up. This is one of it’s characteristics. With the generation of heat comes expansion and of course when it cools you have contraction. This happens on a very small scale but over time, the action may loosen the pressure of the screw on the aluminum. What happens next is cold flow.

The current still tries to go through the now loose connection and arcing happens. With arcing, the screw starts to heat up and eventually the plastic of the device starts to melt and soon, as we have found out, fires occur.

 

In the last while, insurance underwriters have been increasingly concerned with the fact that aluminum wiring exists in homes. They have started to refuse insurance coverage, demanded corrections be implemented, or at least, like some, are requesting a inspection and report by a qualified electrician or inspector.

 

There are 4 common method of correcting this problem.RAW_pigtails

  • Alumicon, a connector with set screws.
  • Copalum, a compression type of connector.
  • CO/ALR, Aluminum compatible devices, (receptacles not legal in Canada).
  • Pig Tailing (shown to the left).

 


Our company, Robart Electrical Services Ltd, does on average 50 aluminum wiring upgrades a year. In my experience, after extensive investigation, the only method I feel comfortable with is Pig Tailing.

Pig Tailing is not just connection a piece of copper wire to an existing aluminum conductor. There are additional precautions that must be met in order to meet the requirement that make this procedure safe.

One of the most important steps is that the exposed aluminum and copper must be coated with a non oxidizing compound then twisted together before the approved marett is put on.

 

RAW_uncle_dave_pigtailedThis photo to the right is a result of what“Uncle Dave” pigtailed 2 weeks earlier. I found this in a switch box of a 1972 house that clients wanted to purchase. Uncle Dave did not twist the wires together before he installed the marett.

 

Please see “Aluminum Wiring – Is It Safe?” in our Documents and Downloads section of this web site for more detailed findings relating to the above mentioned methods!

 

Rob Swyrd
Master Electrician
Director of:
Robart Group of Companies

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Aluminum Wiring – Is It Safe?

17

Jun
2015
Posted By : Rob Swyrd 0 Comment
Categories :Residential

Insurance companies have recently decided, that they need now to be concerned with aluminum wiring. Some are asking that you have a certified electrician inspect the aluminum wiring in your home, and certify in writing that it is safe.

Aluminum Wiring….. Is The Wiring In Your Home Safe?

Download the PDF file Aluminum Wiring - Is It Safe?.

 

 


60 Amp Service Identification

17

Jun
2015
Posted By : Rob Swyrd 0 Comment
Categories :Residential

Robart Consulting Ltd. has created a simple system for identifying the size of electrical services in residential homes. Over the last 2 years we have used this course to train thousands of Realtors, in an effort to help them deal with this problem created by the insurance industry.

Download the PDF file 60 Amp Service Identification.