Aug 122010

Don’t panic if your house or the house you are planning to buy has aluminum wiring. Aluminum
wiring began to be used residentially in the early 1970’s. It has been implicated in a number of
house fires. Even though most jurisdictions no longer permit it in new installations, it has never
been banned. However, it received so much bad press, that aluminum wiring stopped going into
houses by the late 1970’s.

Aluminum wiring has a higher resistance than copper and builds up heat, expanding when used,
then contracts when cooling and at times oxidizes. All of this activity stretches the wires and may
cause loose connections. It is usually a thicker wire than copper wiring. Aluminum wiring is used
today to bring power into the house from the street.

Aluminum wire in your home is not a problem but other factors about its connections and
condition are. You may see “ALUMINUM” or “AL” printed on the cable, if it is still legible. To be
sure have an inspector check the wiring to be safe. If your inspector detects issues he should
make written recommendation for you to have a licensed electrician check the wiring, on his
report. A home inspector is not licensed to tighten, change or perform work on the wiring.

View the following sites for more important details:

www.faqs.org/faqs/electrical-wiring/part2/section-16

www.media.reliancenetwork.com/media/downloads/RemaxIL/200614473328.pdf

www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminum_wire

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