Electrician
Is Aluminum Home Wiring Safe?
Nov 05, 2022

Is Aluminum Home Wiring Safe?

If you have aluminum wiring in your home, you have the risk of a fire starting. Instead of copper wiring, many houses built between 1965 and 1972 were wired with aluminum. There is no issue with the wiring itself; Aluminum safely conducts electricity. The issues stem from the connections. Fire hazard conditions are more likely to occur in homes with aluminum wiring than in homes with copper wiring. Upgrade your home’s electrical wiring with HomeOps Electric as soon as possible to avoid safety risks.

What Makes Aluminum Dangerous

Aluminum is inferior to copper for wiring because of a number of properties. Compared to copper, aluminum is a softer metal that can be damaged during installation and expands more when heated. Overheating and loose wires can result from the wire creeping out from under the screw that holds it in place as it expands and contracts. Oxidation is another difference between copper and aluminum. Copper's layer is a good conductor of electricity because it forms easily, whereas aluminum oxide is a bad conductor of electricity that can cause overheating.

Signs Your Home Has Aluminum Wiring

There are certain symptoms and signs you can recognize that let you know your home has aluminum electrical wiring.

  • Age of Home – The age of your house is your first clue when looking for aluminum wiring. Aluminum wiring is probably present in homes built from the middle of the 1960s to the beginning of the 1970s. Copper wires were used in most home construction after that date.
  • Check Cables – Examine the attic, basement, and other unfinished areas of your home for any exposed wiring. On one side of the plastic sheath that holds the cables that cover your wiring, look for markings that state it's aluminum. The labeling should appear approximately every few feet. Keep in mind that live wires can be very dangerous, so look but don't touch them. If you're not sure, if you can't find any markings, or if you don't see a safe way to look at the sheath, call an reliable electrician to find out if your home has copper or aluminum wiring.

Switching to Copper Wiring

Getting an electrical inspection from a licensed electrician should be your first step in ensuring the safety of your home's wiring. You will be able to determine whether you require a complete rewiring or safety measures once you know the state of your wiring.

Next, you can start to upgrade your wiring, and if rewiring the entire house is out of the question financially, you can hire a professional to secure the connections by attaching a short section of copper wire to each aluminum wire's end. Copper is used instead of aluminum to connect your switches and outlets. You can negotiate with the seller to purchase a home you really like and then deal with the aluminum wiring later. Or, as part of the agreement, you could even agree to split the expense of rewiring or other options for mitigation with them.

Hopefully, this guide allowed you to understand the dangers of aluminum wiring and why you should change to copper a soon as possible.

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