As seen in the most recent “Home Schooled,” one common issue that is routinely found during a home inspection is aluminum wiring. Between 1965 and 1973, aluminum wiring was routinely installed and utilized for a home’s electrical system. While the use of copper wiring is more prevalent and/or common, aluminum wiring was commonly used during this time period because the price of copper was very high. As such, many builders decided to use aluminum wiring as a cheaper alternative.

Shortly after installing aluminum wiring, however, many problems associated with its use were discovered. First, the use of aluminum wiring often leads to flickering lights, warm cover plates on outlets, and burnt insulation. Moreover, aluminum wiring is softer than copper wiring. Therefore, aluminum wiring can break within your electrical panel, breaker, switches, or outlets. Rusting is another concern with aluminum wiring. When aluminum wiring rusts, its results in a white deposit that impacts the wires’ electrical conductivity and prevents the wiring from working properly. This is opposed to copper wiring, which “rusts” green, but does not impact the electrical conductivity in any way, thereby allowing the same to function normally.

“Creeping” is another issues associated with the use of aluminum wiring. When electricity is passed through wiring, the wiring continuously expands and contracts. However, aluminum wiring expands much more than copper wiring. As a result, this can cause the aluminum wiring to “creep” out from switches, panels, and/or outlets. It also can result in the aluminum wiring overheating. As you can expect, such “creeping” is a safety concern that must be addressed.

On account of the issues recounted above, it is vital to determine whether a home utilizes aluminum wiring to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones. If so, don’t panic. Rather, we suggest you contact a qualified electrical contractor to further evaluate the home, to include the outlets, switches, and breaker panel, and make any necessary repairs. To this end, Alumicon is one of the methods used to repair the issues associated with the use of aluminum wiring. Alumicon allows both aluminum and copper wiring to be tied in to the device and, thereafter, allows the copper wiring to be distributed to the outlets, switches, or breaker.

As such, if aluminum wiring is found in your home or a home you intend on purchasing, make sure you cover your bases. While aluminum wiring does lead to certain safety concerns, there are many ways to address and/or repairs the problems associated therewith before making any concrete and/or drastic decisions.

Next week, please be sure to tune in to the next Tip at Ten in the next version of “Home Schooled.” Also, please continue to check this blog periodically for vital information about the home inspection process.