Is aluminum electrical wire safe?

Asked By: Chantell Motte | Last Updated: 15th January, 2020
Category: business and finance metals industry
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The wiring itself isn't a problem; aluminum conducts electricity safely. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that homes with aluminum wiring are 55 times more likely to have “fire hazard conditions” than homes wired with copper.

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People also ask, is it OK to buy a house with aluminum wiring?

Aluminum wiring is not illegal, but it is no longer up to code and new homes are now built with copper wiring. If you are thinking about buying or selling a home with aluminum wiring, you will be ok as long as you follow the instructions on how to deal with it.

Secondly, is aluminum electrical wiring safer than copper? In some electrical installations, aluminum wiring has its place. However, because copper wiring is generally safer and conducts electricity better, more people choose copper wiring over aluminum when rewiring or installing a new electrical system in their homes.

Accordingly, when did they stop using aluminum wiring?

In North American residential construction, aluminum wire was used for wiring entire houses for a short time from the 1960s to the mid-1970s during a period of high copper prices.

How can you tell if wire is aluminum?

You can tell if you have aluminum wire in your home by checking your electrical panel or looking at cables running through the basement or attic. The cables may be marked AL, ALUM or ALUMINUM, indicating aluminum wire.

35 Related Question Answers Found

Is aluminum wiring a deal breaker?

The top home inspection deal breakers, according to Nationwide Insurance: asbestos, electrical/plumbing problems, foundation issues, lead paint, mold, old roof, pests, and water damage. Other issues, according to realtor.com: aluminum wiring, buried oil tanks, polybutylene plumbing pipes, and upgrades without permits.

Is aluminum wiring in a house a deal breaker?

"Problem is, aluminum expands and contracts in the heat more than copper, which causes the connections to loosen up, and then you get fires.” If the house does have aluminum wiring, an electrician can add copper near the outlets—but that's akin to putting a Band-Aid on a bullet wound.

Should aluminum wiring be replaced?

Aluminum wiring can be replaced or repaired to effectively and permanently reduce the possibility of fire and injury due to failing (overheating) wire connections and splices. It is highly recommended that you hire a qualified electrician to perform this remediation.

How bad is aluminum wiring in a house?

The wiring itself isn't a problem; aluminum conducts electricity safely. The trouble is at the connections. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that homes with aluminum wiring are 55 times more likely to have “fire hazard conditions” than homes wired with copper.

Is aluminum wiring up to code?


Aluminum wiring in itself is not dangerous. Aluminum wiring, when properly installed, can be just as safe as copper. But if it has not been installed properly, the connections—where the wires join to the outlets and switches—can present a fire hazard.

How much does it cost to pigtail aluminum wiring?

Well, it depends on whether you decide to repair or replace it: The cost to repair aluminum wiring: $85 to $200 per outlet. The cost to replace aluminum wiring: $300 to $500+ per outlet.

How do you pigtail aluminum wiring?

Pigtailing aluminum wiring entails splicing a short length of copper wire to aluminum wire and then connect the copper wire to the electrical device approved for copper connection. The proper connectors must be used – approved for copper to aluminum connections – and antioxidant compounds.

Is it OK to connect copper wire to aluminum wire?

The only way considered safe to connect copper and aluminum is through a splice connector. Specifically, you have to connect the wires individually so they are not prone to corrosion. The effectiveness of “pigtailing” using twist-on connectors has been evaluated by CPSC staff.

What is the issue with aluminum wiring?

The problem with aluminum wiring is that it expands and contracts at a high rate, which can lead to loose connections. Connections between aluminum and copper can also cause oxidation, resistance, heat, increased expansion… you get the picture. All of that can lead to a fire.

Will insurance companies cover homes with aluminum wiring?


The Solutions: Some insurance companies will still write homes with aluminum wiring. In fact, if you have a licenced electrician come and fix the wires at their connection points, your home could be considered safe. This is the critical part of insuring a home that has aluminum wiring.

Why Aluminium is not used in electric wires?

Aluminum provides a better conductivity to weight ratio than copper, and therefore is also used for wiring power grids, including overhead power transmission lines and local power distribution lines, as well as for power wiring of some. It has cost and weight advantages over copper wires.

Is aluminum wiring a fire hazard?

Aluminum will become defective faster than copper due to certain qualities inherent in the metal. Neglected connections in outlets, switches and light fixtures containing aluminum wiring become increasingly dangerous over time. Poor connections cause wiring to overheat, creating a potential fire hazard.

Do you need special outlets for aluminum wiring?

Aluminum wiring is safe if properly installed.
Use only CO/ALR wall switches and outlets. If your home has aluminum wiring and you need to replace a switch or outlet, the replacement should be a type that is specifically approved for use with aluminum wiring.

How can you tell if copper wire is tinned?

Tinned CU… based on the size of conductors you are likely dealing with it's tinned. You can tell this by simply snipping off the end (very small piece) and looking at the end of the conductor. However, since it is new i am nearly 120% sure it's tinned CU.

Is copper or aluminum wire better?


Copper is better than aluminum for electrical wiring because the electrical conductivity of aluminum is higher than that of copper. Copper wire is heavier, and aluminum is lighter and silver grey. The other main difference between copper and aluminum wires is the resistance of the material.

Can I use aluminum wire to feed a subpanel?

Aluminum can be used for main service entrance and sub panels. As Firestarter said, fine for sub panels. Aluminum Cons: Larger conductors for the equivalent ampacity as copper.

Can you mix copper and aluminum?

Copper and aluminum can be combined to form a copper-aluminum alloy. An alloy is a mixture, and therefore does not have a chemical formula. However, under very high temperature, copper and aluminum can form a solid solution.