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Replacing Aluminum Wiring in Calgary

If your home has been wired with aluminum wires from the 1960’s and 1970’s, it will need to be remediated and changed to copper.

Electrical Wiring
Replacing aluminum wiring?

Does this sound familiar? You need to rewire your house but you have no idea how much it will cost. In fact, you don’t even know what goes into rewiring your house. You at least know that it is a big project. And you are correct.

In a nutshell, a rewiring project consists of an electrician removing as much of the old wiring as possible and replacing it with new wiring that meets current building and safety codes. Sounds simple enough, but there are many steps in rewiring your house and each one is accounted for in the final figure you pay.

To help you understand what you are paying for, here are some of the factors a professional uses when determining the cost of a project.

Accessibility to wiring –  How will the electrician reach your old wiring and where will they run your new wiring? Being able to run your new wiring through the attic, basement, or crawl space is usually the easiest and least expensive option. If your professional has to open up the drywall to remove and run wiring, it can complicate things and is usually more expensive. The price will depend on how many holes need to be cut into the drywall. The more patching and/or replacing of drywall, the more it will cost.

Cost of materials – The cost of all panels, wiring, outlets, switches etc. are included in the cost. The number of outlets and switches you want to replace and add will also impact the overall cost.

Hourly rate  – What is your electrician’s hourly rate? A rule of thumb to wire new construction is one hour per 100 square feet. To rewire your existing house will take more time per 100 square feet and is dependent on the other factors outlined here.

Your home’s size – This is pretty self-explanatory, the larger your house, the more it will cost to rewire it.

Age of the home – In older homes, the wiring can be more difficult to access and the electrician may need to work around architectural details. An older home often needs more switches and outlets than it currently has to meet modern needs and current building codes.

Size of your kitchen and number of bathrooms – Kitchens and bathrooms cost more to rewire because they need heavier duty wiring and outlets to handle appliances and ground-fault protected outlets near sinks and tubs. These are safety features to stop you getting zapped by electricity. Plus materials used in kitchens and bathrooms (tiles, countertops, etc.) tend to be more expensive than in other rooms.

Permits and inspections – Depending on your local and provincial building codes you might have to apply and pay for a permit and the resulting inspections. Permit fees will vary because most local governments charge a percentage of the overall project cost. However, they will have a minimum fee. For example, the minimum permit fee for electrical work in Red Deer is $100 (as of December 24, 2020). Please check with your local government to see what are the current permit fees and if they charge for reinspections.

Rewiring your home is a big project and investment. But it is always cheaper to rewire your house than it is to replace or repair damage to your home due to an electrical fire.

Rewire whole house including new panel
Change wiring to devices to copper pigtail and upgrade panel with arc fault breakers and change plugs to tamper resistant.

Entire house devices will be upgraded

Due to the unpredictable nature of the electrical failures in aluminum wiring, the longer you postpone the repair, the higher the chance of electrical failures. You may even wish to check your insurance coverage as there may be gaps when it comes to aluminum wiring and you don’t even know it. The best time to upgrade your aluminum wiring and devices is now.

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