It’s likely that more than 2 million homes and structures in the United States have aluminum wiring. Popular during the 1960s and 1970s (specifically 1965 to 1973), aluminum wiring is no longer deemed a good choice for construction. In fact, not only is it no longer used, but it’s also potentially dangerous. While aluminum wiring on its own really isn’t that harmful, it turns out that connections made with aluminum are.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission in the U.S., if your home has aluminum wiring you are “55 times more likely to have fire hazard conditions”. This means that you need to be aware of the danger and actively finding ways to reduce the threat. Because aluminum connections overheat relatively easily, everyday electrical uses can become potentially hazardous.
In general, aluminum wiring is more dangerous than other options (like copper) for a few reasons:
- Aluminum expands more when it’s in use, which means that it’s much easier for loose connections to overheat.
- Aluminum wiring is prone to overheating because of the layer of oxide that forms on it. While oxide does form on copper, it does not overheat in the same way.
- Aluminum is a soft metal, which means that it breaks easier than others. When it breaks, it creates dangerous hot spots that can start fires.
Wondering if your home has aluminum wiring?
While it was popular in the 60s and 70s, having a home built during that time doesn’t guarantee that you have aluminum wiring. To know for sure, have a professional electrician come and do an inspection. No matter what, checking the type of wiring you have in your home should not be done by yourself because the risk of shock (and a potentially fatal shock at that) is too great.
If you know you have aluminum wiring or if you discover that you do, you don’t need to immediately panic. While some homeowners choose to completely rewire their home for safety and resale purposes, you can also choose to have an electrician simply change the connections by adding a piece of copper to the end of every aluminum wire.
To learn more about the best way to keep your home safe if it has aluminum wiring, get in touch with our team of professionals today!