How to Use Aluminum Wiring Without Burning Down Your House

Aluminum wiring became popular in houses built between 1965 and 1973 because it was cheaper than copper. However, aluminum wiring is known to be more prone to overheating, loosening at connections, and arcing faults that can lead to fires. This does not mean aluminum wiring is inherently dangerous, but it does require special precautions and maintenance to use it safely in your home. Here is what you need to know.

Why Aluminum Wiring Can Be a Fire Hazard

Aluminum wiring conducts electricity differently than copper in 3 key ways that make it more prone to fire hazards:

1. Aluminum expands and contracts more with temperature changes

2. Aluminum corrodes more easily than copper

3. Aluminum has higher electrical resistance than copper

How to Make Aluminum Wiring Safe

While aluminum wiring can pose risks, there are steps you can take to use it safely:

1. Use the right connections and outlet styles

2. Use anti-oxidant paste

3. Check all connections regularly

4. Have your wiring inspected

5. Shut off and disconnect unused circuits

Warning Signs of Unsafe Aluminum Wiring

Watch for these signs of loose connections or overheating and have an electrician inspect immediately:

Don't ignore these warning signs. Have an electrician thoroughly inspect any suspect outlets, switches or wiring. Safety should be your top priority with aluminum wiring.

Maintaining Aluminum Wiring Over Time

Aluminum wiring requires vigilant maintenance:

Is Aluminum Wiring Worth the Risks?

The risks of aluminum wiring can likely be minimized with proper precautions, but some experts suggest avoiding it if possible:

Aluminum wiring doesn't necessarily need total replacement, but it does require knowledgeable electricians and vigilant maintenance on your part. You must stay on top of inspection, connection tightening, and monitoring wiring condition. Neglecting aluminum wiring maintenance is asking for trouble.