How to Use Aluminum Wiring Safely in Your Home

How to Use Aluminum Wiring Safely in Your Home

What is Aluminum Wiring?

Aluminum wiring refers to electrical wiring that uses aluminum metal rather than the more common copper wiring. Aluminum wiring was used extensively in North American homes built between 1965 and 1973 because it is less expensive than copper and was in abundant supply.

However, aluminum wiring has been linked to certain fire hazards if not installed and maintained properly. The main risks come from loose connections and oxidization of the wires over time. So extra care needs to be taken if your home has aluminum wiring.

Dangers and Risk Factors of Aluminum Wiring

There are a few key factors that can make aluminum wiring more dangerous than copper:

In summary, the key risks are loose connections leading to overheating and electrical arcing, as well as resistance-related fire hazards from oxidization buildup on wires.

Signs You Have Aluminum Wiring

There are a few ways to determine if your home has aluminum wiring:

Precautions When Using Aluminum Wiring

If your home does contain aluminum wiring, here are some important safety precautions to take:

Use the Proper Connections

Prevent Loose Connections

Consider Repairs or Upgrades

When to Call an Electrician

It's a good idea to have a qualified electrician inspect your aluminum wiring and advise you on any remediation needed. Call an electrician:

Safely using aluminum wiring requires diligence and proper precautions. But done right, it can be contained as a fire risk. If in doubt, consulting an aluminum wiring specialist is recommended.