Home February 22, 2021

‘Watt’ You Need to Know About Residential Wiring

YES, the rumours are true; ladies love a tradesman… and licensed electricians are at the top of the list (allegedly)

Electrical work can be daunting and dangerous for amateurs, but with me in your corner it doesn’t have to be. As a fully licensed electrician with over 9000 hours of required training successfully completed, my expertise is a great asset while working for my clients in the real estate industry.

Now, let’s talk about the ins and outs of residential wiring (try to contain your excitement, ladies!)

There are a lot of myths about different wiring systems within homes. Knob-and-tube, aluminum wiring, and 60 amp fuse panels are always a ‘hot’ topic when it comes to safety & insurance.

Each system can be very safe when wired correctly. Issues arise when unlicensed renovators or homeowners rewire homes incorrectly and without safety inspections. These scenarios can create unpredictable and dangerous electrical systems, which are deemed high risk in the eyes of insurance companies.

When shopping for your new home, there are clues within a house to see if there could be knob-and-tube or aluminum wiring (without tearing the house apart). Knob-and-tube can be spotted in unfinished basements with its white, ceramic, spool-like knobs and tubes. Inspecting the cable jacket can identify aluminum. You may need a flashlight and to clean off the dust, but the word ‘aluminum’ can be found written on the cable jacket.

If you need to dig deeper, your real estate lawyer can request a search of records from the ESA for a history of electrical work and any open permits. Also, hiring a licensed electrical contractor who specializes in the residential sector can determine your electrical situation.

Let’s take a look at the details of residential wiring and what you can expect to pay with upgrading costs:

Knob-and-Tube Wiring
– Used in homes 1900s-1940s.
– ESA recognizes knob-and-tube as an acceptable wiring system.
– Does not have the safety benefits of modern systems, such as GFCI receptacles.
– Safe if maintained by a licensed electrical contractor.
– Most insurers deem knob-and-tube unsafe and will not provide coverage.
– Average cost to change knob-and-tube wiring is $7,000-$14,000.

Aluminum Wiring
– Used in homes 1960s-1970s when the price of copper was very expensive.
– Safe if properly connected and terminated without damaging the wire.
– ESA still allows installation of aluminum wiring.
– Insurers will provide coverage with a passed inspection by the ESA.
– Average cost to install aluminum-rated switches and receptacles is $2,000-$3,000.
– Average cost to install Copalum Crimp connectors (recommended) is $5,000-$7,000.
– Average cost to rewire an entire house to copper is $10,000-$12,000.

60 Amp Fuse Panel
– Used in homes 1950s-1960s.
– Safe, but not designed to handle electrical requirements of a modern home.
– Replacing fuses can be tedious.
– Difficult to find insurance coverage.
– Companies that do insure may charge double that of a 100 amp system.
– Average cost to change fuses to breakers is $1,000 for a 100 amp system, and $1500 for a 200 amp system

When shopping for a home, don’t let a dated electrical system deter you. Updating your electrical system will help you attain the highest price possible when it is time to sell.

If you would like to talk more about electrical systems or real estate, send me a message. If you would like to receive more real estate content like this, reach out anytime.