Although properly maintained aluminum wiring is acceptable, aluminum will become defective faster than copper because of certain qualities inherent in the metal. Neglected connections in outlets, switches and light fixtures containing aluminum wiring become increasingly dangerous over time. Poor connections cause wiring to overheat, creating a potential fire hazard. In addition, single-strand aluminum wiring may void a home’s insurance policies. Inspectors may instruct their clients to talk with their insurance agents about whether aluminum wiring in their home is a problem that requires changes to their policy language.
Facts and Figures
Aluminum as a Metal
Aluminum possesses certain qualities that, compared with copper, make it an undesirable material as an electrical conductor. These qualities all lead to loose connections, where fire hazards become likely. These qualities are:
Identifying Aluminum Wiring
Options for Correction
A qualified electrician who is experienced in evaluating and correcting aluminum wiring problems should evaluate aluminum wiring. Not all licensed electricians are properly trained to deal with defective aluminum wiring. The CPSC recommends the following two methods for correction for aluminum wiring:
Although not recommended by the CPSC as methods of permanent repair for defective aluminum wiring, the following methods may be considered:
Aluminum wiring can be a fire hazard because of inherent qualities of the metal. CAI Home Inspection will inspect for aluminum wiring. Contact our home inspectors if you have questions regarding the dangers of aluminum wiring or any concerns regarding the wiring of your home.