Aluminum Wiring

Homes built before 1965 are unlikely to have aluminum branch circuit wiring in place. Homes built or additions added with electrical circuits or re -wiring between 1965 and 1973 may contain aluminum wiring. In 1972, manufactures modified aluminum wire switches and receptacles to improve the performance of aluminum wired connections. Aluminum wiring expands when it warms up and contracts when it cools down. Aluminum reacts differently than copper wire after several warm/cooling cycles. After each cycle, aluminum tends to lose more of its tightness. This process is often referred to as "cold creep". Combined with aluminum's tendency to oxidize when in contact with certain metals, these factors can lead to dangerous problems. When aluminum oxidizes it heats up more to conduct the same amount of electricity, which then causes more oxidation. Due to this cycle, eventually the wires may start to get very hot, melt the fixture that it is attached to, and even possibly cause a fire.

If you notice any indicators such as excessive heat at receptacles or switches, burning odors near outlets, or flickering light for no obvious reason, you should contact a qualified electrician immediately

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) aluminum wire repair guide can be found at www.cpsc.gov