Lindsey Buys a Fixer-Upper: Part 7 – Electrical

Lindsey Buys a Fixer-Upper: Part 7 - Electrical

By Lindsey Wolf Lunney
Last May, my husband and I unintentionally bought a major fixer-upper. In earlier posts, I talked about some of the problems we uncovered during our routine and not-so-routine inspections of the home. I hope my story will make the process easier for others who are thinking of taking on a big project like this one.

Electrical Issues  

Most of the outlets in our house (except for the basement) were the original 1966 outlets. Since we needed to rebuild and upgrade the electrical panel, we also replaced all the outlets and lights switches. This is called a re-device, which is expensive, but relatively painless.

Aluminum Wiring

The original builder outfitted the house with aluminum wiring when the house was built in 1966. Aluminum wiring can make the re-device process more complicated, leaving us with two options. First, an electrician can use aluminum plates, so there is an aluminum to aluminum connection.

Pig-tailing

The other, safer option is known as pig-tailing. With this process, copper cable, instead of aluminum, connects to electrical devices, making the wires less likely to overheat. Initially, we decided to use the aluminum plates. However, once we started to pull them off the wall, we found that the previous owner had already done the pig-tailing. He had done a wonderful job, which cut down on costs a lot and saved us further delays.

Next: The Move-in

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