Aluminum Wiring in your Home

By Specialized Electric


If you own a home that was built in the mid 1960’s to the early 1970’s, there is a chance that it has some aluminum wiring.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, research shows that homes wired with aluminum wire manufactured before 1972 are 55 times more likely to have one or more connections reach “Fire Hazard Conditions” than a home wired with copper. What is the Danger of Aluminum Wiring? How unsafe is aluminum wiring? Aluminum is a fine conductor of electricity, and is generally not unsafe. However, every point of connection of the wire can be a potential fire hazard if not connected properly. This includes every electrical “opening” in the house, including outlets, switches, light fixtures, and major appliances.Corrosion of the metals in the connection, particularly the aluminum wire itself, causes increased resistance to the flow of electric current, which causes overheating. Danger Signs with Aluminum Wiring Signs of trouble in aluminum-wired homes can include warm-to-the-touch face plates on outlets or switches, flickering lights, circuits that don’t work, or the smell of burning plastic at outlets or switches. Unfortunately, not all failing aluminum wired connections provide such easily detected warning signs, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, In fact, aluminum wired connections have been reported to fail without any prior indications or problems. What Can Be Done? Typically, it is not practical or necessary to replace aluminum wiring in a house. However, we recommend that properly installed UL listed devices be installed at every switch, receptacle, light fixture, and any other electrical “opening.” Additionally, all connections at the electrical panel(s) should be treated with an antioxidant compound and be checked periodically. It is in your family’s best interest to have your home inspected by a licensed Electrical Contractor in order to determine impending trouble.

For more information or if you have concerns about your panel, contact Specialized Electric Company at 303-988-7997 for a free evaluation.