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Aluminum Wiring

History of Aluminum Wiring

In the late 1960’s copper wire prices jumped to an all-time high, making it impractical to use in residential construction. For about 15 years, aluminum wiring was used almost exclusively in residential settings.

Characteristics of Aluminum Wiring

Aluminum is lighter than copper and is a good conductor on its own, and was approved an acceptable alternative. One problem with an aluminum wire install, is that the device it attaches to, like a receptacle, switch, or wiring

Concerns with Aluminum Wiring

  • Wire expands and contracts under a terminal screw with temperature fluctuation which creates a gap between the wire and what its connected to, in which case, arcing occurs which is a serious fire hazard
  • Needs to be frequently maintained because of the inevitable expansion and contraction
  • Much softer than copper, so it needs to be installed and maintained in a more delicate way to prevent damage
  • Many insurance companies dictate they will not insure properties with aluminum wiring unless replaced or be brought up to code
  • Aluminum wiring can easily oxidize if not treated properly

Solutions for Aluminum Wiring

Depending on the situation, there are 3 main solutions to rectifying the concerns and potential hazards of an aluminum wired house;

  1. Replace aluminum wiring with new style copper wiring. In almost all respects, It is far superior than aluminum and mandated by the electrical code. The best way to fix aluminum wiring is to eliminate it
  2. Installing aluminum/copper rated wire connectors and/or anti-oxidant paste in all connections at panel, light fixtures and installing copper wires tails (pig tailing) to new copper rated devices (switches and receptacles) throughout the house
  3. Installing aluminum/copper rated wire connectors and/or anti-oxidant paste in all connections at panel, light fixtures and installing aluminum rated devices throughout the house

Related Pages


Things you should know  

The Electrical Safety Authority has reported that investigations of electrical fires identified that 33% of homes were linked to fires due to electrical wiring issues, aluminum being one of the leading causes. Let Live Electric take away that risk for you and your family!