Older Calgary homes are being denied coverage by most (if not all) insurance companies.
Many buyers are not aware that they will be denied insurance coverage on their purchase if one or more of these items are found in the home. Therefore, your mortgage company will not fund your mortgage until these deficiencies are rectified. One of the major issues is electrical.
If your Calgary home purchase has one or more of the following, you will not be insurable. 60 AMP service panels have to be upgraded to a minimum of 100 AMP panels. Many of the newer Calgary homes are installing 200 AMP service panels due to today's demand for all the new electronics in the homes. Be aware as well, when you upgrade the panel, you also have to upgrade the feed from the street to your home and the drop into your meter. This can be several thousands of dollars cost.
If your new Calgary home purchase has aluminum wiring in it, you will also be denied bound coverage. Aluminum wiring was installed starting in the 1960s but was outlawed in Canada in the late 1970s because it contracts and expands more than copper wiring, which leads to loose connections, arcing, and ultimately fire.
Copper wiring has been used since the banning of aluminum. Some copper may "appear" to be aluminum but is only coated in nickel for specific applications. It increases copper's resistance to corrosion and enhances its strength. Calgary homes after the late 1970s have copper wiring but some still "may" have 60 AMP service panels, which will have to be upgraded to a minimum of 100 AMP.
KNOB & TUBING:
Here we are taking a step back in time. Calgary home insurance companies really do not like this era. Knob & tube wiring was predominant from the early 1900s up to the late 1950s. This is a very dangerous type of wiring to have in a home as it has no grounding and all connections are in the open. This makes your home very prone to catching fire when the wiring shorts out. Unlike today's copper wire connections that must be in an accessible, sealed junction box.
Poly B is the water line that you most likely have in your Calgary home if it was built between the mid-1970s to 1998. If your home was built prior to 1975 it will not have Poly B. However, we have found some homes relocated onto new foundations that have been extensively upgraded and classified as "newer" homes still have some Poly B. This pipe is prone to a short life and may decay at connections and or just spring a leak. The government of Canada officially banned Poly B™™ in 2005.
Upon the banning of Poly B in Calgary homes, insurance companies are looking for either older copper lines and/or the Pex lines that replaced Poly B. Pex is a plastic type of line that is easily installed with either crimp rings or shark bite fittings. It is estimated that approximately 148,000 homes in Alberta had Poly B installed in them. Ultimately, one way of usually detecting if the home has Poly B is to go to the utility room and look towards the ceiling. If you see light to mid-grey plastic piping, it probably is Poly B. It will most likely be stamped on it as well. Another area to inspect is under the sinks to see what is connected to the faucets.
In summary, I would caution all buyers to enlist the services of a "qualified" home inspector as part of your conditions on the Offer to Purchase. Upon request, I usually refer to Cliff Keveryga as one of Calgary's most qualified inspectors. Myself, I feel very confident that my 40 (+) years in and around the trades are a great comfort and asset to my clients when we are previewing properties. My background has consistently saved unnecessary headaches and frustration for my buyers as we are able to quickly eliminate these homes as an option.