Check Your Home for Aluminum Wiring

Is aluminum wiring safe?

In the 1970s, aluminum wiring was used as a cheaper alternative to copper wiring. Aluminum wiring is generally safe when properly installed. However, it has properties that are different than copper wiring. This can make it unsafe over time. Since it’s softer it can be more easily damaged while being installed. It oxidizes when exposed to air and forms a layer that doesn’t conduct electricity well. Oxidation makes it prone to overheating. It expands more when heated which can cause wires to become loose and overheat.

What does aluminum wiring look like?

Don’t touch exposed wires! Check the wire covering for either AL, ALUM, or ALUMINUM. If visible, the exposed metal is a different color than copper wiring.

Are there problems with my aluminum wires?

Sometimes, problems aren’t obvious so it’s best to use a qualified inspector to determine issues. You may see flickering lights and you may observe signs of overheating, such as burned insulation or cover plates that feel warm.

Does aluminum wiring cause house fires?

Aluminum wiring is much more likely to cause house fires than copper wiring. It can be expensive to replace the wiring. But, leave it in place for a little longer if it’s in safe condition. Get it inspected regularly for safety.

See more commonly asked questions about wiring here.

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