Does Your House Have Aluminum Wiring?

 

Does Your House Have Aluminum Wiring?

 

 

The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that the likelihood of having an electrical related fire is 55 times higher with a house wired with aluminum wiring, than one wired with copper wire.

 

 

History

In 1964, Kaiser Aluminum produced the first aluminum nonmetallic sheathed cable.  Between 1965 and 1972, approximately 2 million homes were constructed with aluminum wiring, rooms were added, and electrical circuits rewired.

 

 

Concern

The wiring that is of concern is the single-strand solid aluminum wiring, connected to the smaller branch circuits (120 volts) supplying wall outlets, wall switches, lights, and appliances such as dishwashers, furnaces, etc., not the aluminum wire itself.  There were problems with solid aluminum wires expanding while hot and contracting while cool which resulted in loose electrical connections (high electrical resistance)… wire surface oxidation and a reaction to dissimilar metals…All conditions that can cause overheating at electrical connections.

 

 

Signs of Trouble 

  • Cover plates on wall outlets or switches are warm to the touch
  • Electrical circuits that don’t work, or work intermittently
  • Flickering lights
  • The smell of burning plastic at outlets, switches, or lighting
  • Smoking outlets, switches, or lighting
  • Tripping circuit breakers for no apparent reason

 

 

Can the Problem Be Fixed?

Yes.  The Consumer Products Safety Commission has identified only one method of repairing aluminum wiring: the Amp Copalum system.

 

In a nutshell, every connection to, or splice between aluminum wire in the home can be re-worked by a licensed electrician… an alternative to rewiring a house.

 

Aluminum wiring is still permitted and used for certain applications, including residential service entrance wiring and single-purpose higher amperage circuits such as 240V air conditioning, clothes dryers or electric range circuits.