Aluminum wiring gives homebuyer pause

Family's safety a top concern

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DEAR BARRY: I have two questions about aluminum wiring in a home. Can home inspectors tell during an inspection if a house has aluminum wiring? If there is aluminum wire, can repairs make the system reasonably safe for my family? --Ann DEAR ANN: If a home inspector does a thorough job, aluminum wiring will be evident when the inner portions of the breaker panels are inspected. The exposed wire ends at the breakers will reveal whether the wiring is made of aluminum or copper. If aluminum wire is found at the 110-volt circuits, your inspector should recommend evaluation and upgrades by a licensed electrical contractor. At that point, a qualified electrician who is familiar with the proper techniques for retrofitting aluminum wire ends can render the system reasonably safe for occupants of the home. Aluminum wiring was often used for 110-volt circuits during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Fires occurred in some of these homes because the aluminum connections would become lo...