Tag Archives: home builders association

2011 Tour of Homes : Wenatchee, Chelan, Malaga & Peshastin

The North Central Home Builders Association’s annual Tour Of Homes is coming up on Sept. 22-25th.  Most homes are in the Wenatchee area but you’ll find one in Lake Chelan, Malaga and Peshastin.  For complete details about the tour, directions, coupons and more visit their website.  As members of NCHBA we are proud to be a part of this great event!  In Leavenworth pick up coupons at Marson & Marson Lumber or Dan’s Food Market.

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Do you have aluminum wiring in your home? Is it safe?

At a recent Leavenworth home inspection we noticed aluminum wiring to the water heater and oven.  The home owner had some questions so we answered them.

Aluminum wiring became a popular alternative for use in residential construction during the 1960’s when the price for copper sky rocketed.  Underwriter Laboratories had previously approved aluminum wiring for interior branch circuitry as early as 1945.  Contractors searched for relief from the high copper prices and found aluminum to be an acceptable substitute.  The key to this conversion from copper to aluminum was in the installation.

 At the time very little stress was put on the aluminum wiring creep rating (rate of expansion and contraction) and not much information was provided on the proper installation of aluminum wiring.  Some things to consider when working with aluminum wiring is that it is much softer than copper and can’t withstand as much stress when pulled.  Therefore, aluminum wiring can become damaged if nicked or bent at extreme angles.  It also has at least one wire gauge larger than its copper counterpart for each current rating.  All terminations such as switches and receptacles must be properly rated Al or Cu/Al for the use of aluminum branch circuitry wiring.

 Due to limited code enforcement and the lack of information provided to home builders several homes built within the mid 1960-70’s were not outfitted with the proper type of receptacles, switches and other required devices.  Oxide inhibitors are successful in sealing out moisture and air while preventing oxidation but, unfortunately, were not widely used at this time.

 The misunderstanding of aluminum wiring installation methods enabled the theory of aluminum being an unsafe material.  What happened?  When dissimilar metals come in contact it causes galvanic corrosion and oxidation occurs at the screw head terminals.  The process weakens the terminal at the switch or receptacle.  As the branch circuit is energized the aluminum and copper wires expand and contract at different rates causing the terminal at the switch or receptacle to loosen.  The loose connections can allow arcing and pitting, creating a hazard for shock or fire, and eventually causing the circuit to fail.

 Is aluminum wiring safe?  The surprising answer is yes!  We inspect several older homes every year that still contain aluminum branch circuitry wiring and it is in serviceable condition.  Aluminum wiring has never been the problem.  The installation can dictate the longevity or security of any material.  The science behind the reaction and expansion rates of different materials has allowed us to understand mistakes made with aluminum branch circuitry wiring.  Aluminum wiring is still commonly used in new construction, particularly on larger circuits that do not require multiple terminations to various devices.

 Is your home is outfitted with aluminum branch circuitry wiring?  Identify your concerns with an AMS Home Inspection.  A thorough evaluation of each of the branch circuitry wiring must be performed to ensure your home and family’s safety.

Washington building industry to recover by end of 2012.

Our Wenatchee home inspection company is a member of the North Central Home Builders Association.  In the May/June issue of the Building Industry Association of Washington’s Building Insight Newsletter they included the chart below.  The green states show the best recovery predicted from 18 months from now.  These are promising numbers.  It is careful to note that the building demand may return but the cost of building may also increase.  With many out-of-work skilled laborers finding different jobs and mills shutting down during this construction lull the labor and materials may be in short supply and thus increasing the cost of new homes.  Those that are able to make investments right now are in a fine position to get the best deals.

Wenatchee Home Inspections

Source: BIAW Building Insight May/June 2011

Wenatchee home inspectors, AMS Inspection, sponsors NCHBA Breakfast June 8th

Are you hungry for important information about the North Central Home Builders Association?  Then join us Wednesday, June 8th at SMITTY’S PANCAKE HOUSE, Wenatchee at 7:30 am – 8:30 am.  This great FREE breakfast is sponsored by AMS Inspection Services, Inc.  Come fill up on awesome information about the benefits of being a member of the NCHBA.  Whether you’re brand new or been here since the beginning there is always something to learn about.  If you know of someone thinking about joining then this is a great opportunity for them to learn what the NCHBA is all about.  ***Please RSVP by calling Cindy at 509-665-8195 by Monday, June 6th.  VIEW FLYER.