Aluminum Wiring

We inherited an old park owned home that appears to have aluminum wiring. I called up a licensed electrician and was surprised to find he didn’t think it was a big deal. I’m sure other investors on here have inherited trailers with aluminum wiring, have you left the wiring in place or replaced the wiring with copper?

I’m not an electrician first off so take that for what it’s worth, I have however played one on TV.

There may be some merit to what your electrician had to say about your situation, at this point there are ALOT of factors that make an opinion hard to offer.

For example, what kind of service panel is in the unit and what condition are the breakers in. Next I’m curious about the gauge of the wire running to the various circuits. Next there’s the question of how the wire is terminated into the various outlets or fixtures. Finally there’s the question about the size of the load being placed on each circuit.

Worst case would be a Federal Pacific box with original breakers, running 14 gauge wire to outlets that have the wire punched into the back.

Even in the above case there are options. 1st i’d check the functionality of all the breakers, replace any that are tight or don’t reset easily. Back out any aluminum wire that terminates into a breaker and make up a short copper wire “patch cable” use that to terminate the circuit into the breaker. Be sure when making up that little jumper cable to use either the blue wire nuts designed to hold copper and aluminum, or you can use regular wire nuts with the addition of the special paste that you would need to put on the wire ends.

Next i’d consider replacing or at the very least inspecting every outlet and switch. We replaced our mobile home grade outlets (which tend to use punch downs for connectivity) with regular residential grade outlets. DO NOT punch the wires into the backs regardless, use pig tails at every possible location.

Here’s a sample pig tail http://tinyurl.com/d9t34lc

Alot of the circuits in older homes tend to run all over the place. We had one circuit that did the living room, bed room and one of the bathrooms. In our case this circuit was always the one that would over load, and at time fry outlets. The solution was to split the circuit in two. This was done by ending the existing circuit half way down it’s length. We then ran a new circuit of 12/2 down from the panel, under the trailer, and up to where the remaining / circuit and outlets picked up. DON’T leave the wire under the unit exposed. Some municipalities will let you go by shielding it in schedule 40 PVC conduit, but schedule 80 is just a few cents more and will be sure to comply.

PM me if you have any questions.

-John

The wiring in the home is a pretty quick fix. The best way to solve this is to have someone ‘pigtail’ the wires with copper. They connect them together with ‘Alumcon Connectors’ or some type of connector that is rated to conduct between the copper and aluminum.

I do not see this type of wire as a huge issue so long as it is treated correctly.

Thanks for the great information. I learned a lot reading that.

That said, many insurance companies will not write insurance on a building with aluminum wiring. They are concerned with property damage and bodily injury that may result because of it. Thus, if you have aluminum wiring, not only will your risk be higher, you may also pay quite a bit more in insurance, presuming you can find it at all. No insurance company wants to write insurance on a building with aluminum wiring. However, you can find some that never ask the question, and issue the policy anyway.

Kurt Kelley

www.mobileagency.com