Hundreds of homeowners in Calgary may face unexpected bills to upgrade their old electrical lines.
Diane Staples and her husband live in a house built in 1971 with 60-amp electrical service.
They want to downsize and put their home up for sale, but a home inspector for a potential buyer said 60-amp wiring was outdated and no longer covered by home insurance.
“They had problems finding an insurance company that would cover it with the 60-amp service,” Staples said.
In the 1970s, building codes for new homes were updated to 100-amp service as appliances got bigger and people used more electricity. But electrical contractors say 60-amp service is still allowed.
“At the time this house was built, 60 amps was totally acceptable and it’s not that it’s become unsafe all of a sudden,” said Jesse Petersen, with Petersen’s Electrical Services.
“If you’re not overloading your 60-amp service, as long as all the equipment is still working properly, there’s nothing unsafe about it.”
Staples even had a City of Calgary inspector look at the house and he agreed.
A statement from the planning and building department says: “This is very common, however, we don’t see it as a safety issue … unless a house has expanded its electrical load. In this case a larger load may be required.”
However, not all insurance companies agree.
Staples could only find four insurers that would cover 60-amp service, including her own. They charged a higher premium and set conditions based on square footage, the number of occupants and appliances, type of wiring, electrical load and the age of the home.
“I’m just a little bit irritated by insurance companies making their own rules.”
Staples has taken her house off the market and over the winter will spend between $3,000 to $5,000 to upgrade her electrical to 100-amp before trying to sell it again.
Contact the professionals at Action Insurance Group today at 403 457-1000 to check your own coverage, or for a cost-effective quote for your home, auto or commercial needs.