How to Safely Replace Aluminum Wiring

Aluminum wiring became very popular in American homes built between 1965 and 1973. While aluminum is an excellent conductor of electricity, it does have some potential safety risks that need to be addressed when replacing old aluminum wiring. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire process of replacing aluminum wiring safely.

Dangers of Old Aluminum Wiring

Aluminum wiring has gotten a bad reputation over the years due to some potential fire hazards if not installed correctly. Here are the main issues with aging aluminum wiring:

These effects worsen as wiring ages. Loose and corroded connections can arc, spark, and overheat, leading to melted wires, fires, or even explosions.

Dangers of Improper Replacement

While aluminum wiring needs to be replaced, it is critical that it is done safely and correctly. Improper installation techniques can be just as dangerous as old wiring. Here are some key risks to avoid:

Replacing wiring is complex, technical work. Unless done 100% correctly, new hazards may be introduced. Safety requires hiring trained electrical contractors, not taking shortcuts.

When to Replace Aluminum Wiring

There are certain clear signs that indicate your aluminum wiring should be replaced immediately:

If you observe any of these warning signs in your home's electrical system, making the wiring replacement a top priority is strongly recommended.

How to Identify Aluminum Wiring

Here is how to check if your home's wiring contains aluminum:

Once the presence of aluminum wiring has been verified, comprehensive replacement should be planned.

Full Home Rewiring Overview

Here is a overview of the complete process involved in properly replacing all the aluminum wiring in a home:

Replacing the wiring is invasive, so working with an experienced contractor is highly recommended to minimize disruption and ensure your family's safety.

Cost to Replace Aluminum Wiring

Rewiring an entire home is a major investment, with the cost being influenced by:

As a rough estimate, total costs typically range from $8,000 to $15,000 on average for a 2,000 square foot house. Get quotes from multiple licensed electricians to find the best rate.

Is Aluminum Wiring Still Used?

Due to the known risks with aging aluminum wire, copper wiring has become the standard for residential and commercial wiring over the past few decades. However, aluminum wiring is still used:

So while homeowners are unlikely to see new aluminum wiring inside their walls, it still serves a role for the larger supply cables. Careful installation and maintenance must be performed to manage aluminum's risks.

Final Call to Action

If you have verified that your home contains potentially hazardous aluminum electrical wiring, I strongly advise making wiring replacement a priority. While costly, rewiring will provide huge dividends of safety for your family and value for your home. Be sure to hire a licensed, reputable electrician to perform this complex job correctly. Please feel free to reach out with any additional questions!