Aluminum Wiring: Identification & Insurance Issues

By July 27, 2020 August 3rd, 2020 Electrical
aluminum wiring

Since early construction days of homes, copper was the chosen material to use for wiring. It was affordable and great material. However, in the late 1960s to early 1970s, the price of copper increased and electricians and homeowners began to use aluminum wiring. Over the years, this has been found in homes and is a safety hazard. What do you do if your home has aluminum wiring? Let’s take a look:

How to Identify Aluminum Wiring

Aluminum wiring is a silver color wire and marked on the electrical panel and also on cables that run into the attic or down to the basement.  Often, it has an AL on ALUM on the plastic wire jacket to distinguish it from other metals, such as copper. As mentioned above, if the house was built between 1965-1973, there is a good chance it has this type of wiring.

wiring in the home

Aluminum and Its Issues In Wiring

Aluminum wiring as a single strand is the problem.  In many homes, this wire is connected to the copper wire through the wrong size conductor. Aluminum also has loose connections due to being soft, malleable, and that it galvanizes and oxidizes so it causes it to not work well and be a fire hazard. It does not do well in temperature changes either as it expands.

Options for the Home

If you find that you have aluminum wiring, do not fret. There are ways to fix it, but it won’t be cheap.  One option is to rewire the home with copper wire. This is expensive and will cost about $2000 per 500 square feet.

Another option is to replace the copper connectors with ones suitable for this type of wiring. Check with a professional for an estimate and try to get a few estimates as well.

Copalum crimps are another option and cost about $50 per outlet, light fixture, or switch in the home. It fuses together the aluminum and copper wires, but is not cheap. You can find out more about them here

Insurance Issues

Many insurance companies will not insure a home if it has aluminum wiring, even if it has the connectors. It is a good idea to shop around and see if you can find one that does before you decide to rewire the entire home. Home inspectors will usually list this type of wiring in their report so it is a good idea to try to make the fixes before the inspection begins.

Have you found aluminum wiring in your home or have questions about it? Leave us a reply below !

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