Inspection Training

How to Inspect the Electrical Conductor Material (UPDATED 5/28/18)

While the inspector is inspecting the electrical panel the most important thing that needs to be checked is if there is any solid conductor aluminum branch wiring present in the panel. If this is missed, the inspector could be held responsible and have to pay the cost of rewiring the entire house, which would not be cheap. There is also a fire hazard that goes along with aluminum wiring and an inspector would definitely not want to be held responsible if a home was to catch on fire. If you see aluminum wiring in the electrical panel it needs to be called out as a defect and recommend to the clients/agents to have it further evaluated by a qualified electrician. Please read the full procedure below.



International Standards of Practice for Performing a General Home Inspection


3.7. Electrical


I. The inspector shall inspect:



II. The inspector shall describe:

B. The type of wiring observed.


III. The inspector shall report as in need of correction:

C. The presence of solid conductor aluminum branch-circuit wiring, if readily accessible.


IV. The inspector is not required to:



Axium SOP Differences

Axium Requires: Same as NACHI Standards of Practice


Tools Needed

No tools required to inspect the electrical conductor material.



  • Every home should be checked thoroughly for Aluminum wiring but if you are inspecting a home that was built in the 1960’s or 1970’s even more attention should be paid to the wiring in the electrical panel.

  • While the front cover of the electrical panel is off we will inspect for the type of electrical conductor material that is inside the electrical panel. It is very important to look for solid conductor aluminum-branch wiring. We will take two pictures for this section and in those pictures make sure to get clear pictures of the wiring so we can tell if it is copper or aluminum wiring.

Common Defects

  • Solid conductor aluminum-branch wiring being present in the electrical panel.



Common Mistakes

  • Not checking all of the wiring to see if there is aluminum wiring present.
  • Not taking clear pictures of the wires in the panel.


Report / Software


  • Copper: The non-metallic sheathed cable (Romex) conductor material for the 120-volt circuits in the [word 2] electrical service panel was copper. The conductor material for the 240-volt circuits rated above 30 amps [word 1].
    • Conductor Material:
      • Aluminum
      • Copper
      • Not Visible
    • Identify
      • Main
      • Sub


  • The electrical conductor material could not be evaluated at the time of the inspection [word 1].
    • Blocked (cabinets)
    • Blocked (Personal Items)
    • Blocked (Shelving)
    • Door (Locked)
    • It was not installed at the time of the inspection
    • No size ID
    • Not Visible
    • Sealed with Paint
    • Trim Covers Screws
  • Inadequate Clearance: Inspecting this component requires removing the electrical panel cover. According to the NEC (National Electrical Code), safe inspection of a residential electrical panel requires a working space or clearance of at least 36 inches in front, 30 inches of width, and a minimum headroom clearance of 6 feet, or the height of the equipment, whichever is greater. In the opinion of the inspector, the conditions in front of the electrical panel at the time of the inspection did not allow for these safe clearances. Recommend providing the clearances mentioned so the electrical panel can be safely accessed in the future.


  • N/A


  • Aluminum Wiring: Aluminum wire is installed on at least one 120-volt branch electrical circuit in the property. These single strand, branch circuit aluminum wires were used widely in houses during the mid 19060s and 1970s. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, problems due to expansion can cause overheating at connections between the wire and devices (switches and outlets) or at splices, which has resulted in fires. For further information on aluminum wiring contact the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission via the internet at It is recommended that the electrical system be evaluated by a licensed electrical contractor. The only CPSC approved methods of upgrading aluminum wired properties are the COPALUM method, which must be done using special tools and by electricians certified in its use, pig-tailing with the AlumiConn lug connectors, or completely rewiring the property with copper.