• Last Updated:
  • Apr 25th, 2022 9:43 pm
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 9, 2013
4787 posts
5354 upvotes
Edmonton, AB

Aluminum Wiring

I'm in the process of closing on a 1970s bungalow that has aluminium wiring. It's an investment property and will be a rental.

My insurance company doesn't like aluminium and they're giving me time to bring it up to current standards. From a safety point of view I think it's the right thing to do.

I have two options:
1) Pig tail current aluminum wiring, which meets minimum standards. Cost is about 1k.

2) Rewire house with all copper, cost will be about 10K.

We're going to reno the home anyways, so putting holes in walls to pull wires isn't that big of a deal. I know I can also depreciate the cost of the rewire which will have tax benefits. I have the capital to do it, and if I do the rewire I'd rather do it now (while renovating) rather than years from now. On the other hand, it's obviously a big expense.

Assuming it's a long term hold (5+ years) what would you do?
Keep calm and go long
15 replies
Sr. Member
Oct 14, 2010
569 posts
596 upvotes
Toronto
Just rewire it, when you go to sell it you would recoup the cost, and also get a tax shield on the expense. Get it over with now. Will be easier to sell too in the future.
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 9, 2013
4787 posts
5354 upvotes
Edmonton, AB
budwizestest wrote: Just rewire it, when you go to sell it you would recoup the cost, and also get a tax shield on the expense. Get it over with now. Will be easier to sell too in the future.
That's what I'm leaning towards as well, although the $$ hurts :(

Thanks.
Keep calm and go long
Deal Addict
Mar 2, 2017
3213 posts
6157 upvotes
Toronto/Markham
I lean towards rewiring because it helps with resale, but this is coming from a place where this type of home would be over a million.

That said, if this is a 200k property, I'd have a hard time spending 5% of its hypothetical value on just rewiring and would opt for the cheaper solution.

Lastly, while the insurance company can pipe up about aluminum wiring it has been proven to be perfectly safe, you can inquire if an inspection report by a licensed electrician would be acceptable for them as well, can also cross shop insurance companies as not all hold the same stance on aluminum wiring.
Realtor®
Sr. Member
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Mar 2, 2014
738 posts
402 upvotes
I think rewiring would be a much more than 10k.
We just sold our house that had aluminum wiring and it wasn't a big deal because we had pigtailed all the outlets, switches to modernise it.
Our insurance only needed ESA safety pass certificate to insure it. (In ontario)
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 9, 2013
4787 posts
5354 upvotes
Edmonton, AB
RichmondCA wrote: I lean towards rewiring because it helps with resale, but this is coming from a place where this type of home would be over a million.

That said, if this is a 200k property, I'd have a hard time spending 5% of its hypothetical value on just rewiring and would opt for the cheaper solution.

Lastly, while the insurance company can pipe up about aluminum wiring it has been proven to be perfectly safe, you can inquire if an inspection report by a licensed electrician would be acceptable for them as well, can also cross shop insurance companies as not all hold the same stance on aluminum wiring.
scorown wrote: I think rewiring would be a much more than 10k.
We just sold our house that had aluminum wiring and it wasn't a big deal because we had pigtailed all the outlets, switches to modernise it.
Our insurance only needed ESA safety pass certificate to insure it. (In ontario)
Purchase price is $360k, which works out to about $300 / sf, with comps going for ~ 330-340 / SF. So in theory I'm saving 10% or so on the purchase price. I agree though, pig tailing is cheaper.

I got a quote from one insurance company for aluminium wiring and it's about double what it would be if I get the copper wiring redone. Still, overall, it's cheaper than redoing all the wiring.

Many insurance companies won't touch the aluminium wiring unless I'm an existing customer, they tell me to go elsewhere. My current company, which is the cheapest option, would want it pigtailed at minimum but give a very short period of time to remediate the issue (30 days).

From an insurance point of view, my plan is to get the more expensive insurance for aluminium wiring, fix the wiring, and then go with my current (cheaper) insurance. I'm trying to decide if I pig tail or just rewire.

Basically I'm worried about a time in the future when pig tailing isn't accepted, and then I go to sell the home and have to rewire it then.
Last edited by treva84 on Aug 18th, 2021 3:42 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Sr. Member
Dec 3, 2019
504 posts
461 upvotes
Ontario
I don't understand how option #1 would make anything safer?

Pig-tailing aluminum wiring would just add an additional piece of wire in the electrical boxes. The total amount of aluminum wire in the house would remain the same. If anything these additional connections would add danger.
Deal Addict
Mar 2, 2017
3213 posts
6157 upvotes
Toronto/Markham
Tough call, I still lean towards pig tailing or you are running the chance of not getting that money out (maybe I am wrong, i don't know your market).

Last point for consideration is that since this is a rental and an older home, you run the risk of tenants running space heaters and other high load appliances which would prematurely wear the wiring in weak spots, so another reason to consider rewiring.
Realtor®
[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 9, 2013
4787 posts
5354 upvotes
Edmonton, AB
buysellbuy wrote: I don't understand how option #1 would make anything safer?

Pig-tailing aluminum wiring would just add an additional piece of wire in the electrical boxes. The total amount of aluminum wire in the house would remain the same. If anything these additional connections would add danger.
Apparently the highest risk points are where the aluminium connects to outlets, switches, etc. Apparently pig tailing reduces this risk.
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[OP]
Deal Addict
Nov 9, 2013
4787 posts
5354 upvotes
Edmonton, AB
RichmondCA wrote: Tough call, I still lean towards pig tailing or you are running the chance of not getting that money out (maybe I am wrong, i don't know your market).

Last point for consideration is that since this is a rental and an older home, you run the risk of tenants running space heaters and other high load appliances which would prematurely wear the wiring in weak spots, so another reason to consider rewiring.
Yes, good point. This would be a super common issue in this area as there was major development from 1950s - 1980s, so the majority of the homes would have aluminium wiring.

I should just bite the bullet and do it. Cost of doing business in this age / neighbourhood.
Keep calm and go long
Deal Addict
Mar 2, 2017
3213 posts
6157 upvotes
Toronto/Markham
treva84 wrote: Apparently the highest risk points are where the aluminium connects to outlets, switches, etc. Apparently pig tailing reduces this risk.
This is correct, I've dealt with aluminum wiring properties and 99% of them the wire breaks at the outlets.
Realtor®
Deal Fanatic
Jul 3, 2011
6517 posts
3788 upvotes
Thornhill
I'd recommend copper now. The reasons:

1) Why kick the cost down the road when it is more expensive?
2) Since it's an investment property, it front loads the capital cost to lower the capital gain at the back end.
3) Technology is demanding more of an electrical load,
4) Tesla and hybrids - where having the high capacity charging service in-house is preferred.
5) 200 amp service is becoming more mainstream to meet 3 and 4, the aluminum wiring gauge may not allow for
6) Insurance is not a problem to find.
Deal Addict
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Nov 26, 2003
1286 posts
355 upvotes
Pig tail it. There are quite literally hundreds of thousands of homes with aluminum wiring that have not burned down to the ground. Pig tailing is a sensible and perfectly safe solution.
Newbie
Dec 3, 2018
11 posts
9 upvotes
GTA
I just fully rewired one of my properties from aluminum to copper, only did it because I was fully gutting the home so it was like wiring a brand new house. Don't think I would be able to justify trying to do it on a finished house, making holes and fishing wires in an entire house is not a small task. Is the 10k an actual quote from an electrician? I'd expect that to be much higher unless it is a really small house. It is perfectly legal and safe to pigtail, since all homes in the area are also aluminum buyers can't really use that against you and will be providing the ESA certificate to show it is fully safe and up to code so they'll have no arguments.
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Jr. Member
Jul 10, 2015
143 posts
16 upvotes
Scarborough, ON
just wondering if anyone of our fellow RFD'ers done the 'pig tail' option recently? if you can please let me know how much it cost to replace the swiches/receptacles? thanks in advance
Deal Addict
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Oct 2, 2018
2067 posts
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Toronto
This is a long term revenue generating property, seeing you are renovating anyway it makes perfect sense to rewire with copper now. Eliminate future liabilities, make the change and future wise you will not have to go back at even greater cost.
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