Aluminum wiring was used in residential construction in the United States from 1965 until approximately 1973. During this period, aluminum wiring was also used in the construction of residential and commercial buildings. As the use of aluminum wiring increased, so did the reports of fires cause by the practice.
The U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission estimates that the likelihood of a connection reaching fire hazard conditions in a house wired with “old technology” aluminum wiring (manufactured before 1972) is 40 to 50 times that of a house wired with copper wire.
Why is Aluminum Wiring Dangerous?
Aluminum wiring does pose a fire hazard in homes, but this is only one of the dangers. Aluminum wiring can also cause your lights to flicker or dim and can cause your electrical outlets to feel warm to the touch. Aluminum wiring is also more susceptible to electrical shorts. In the event of an electrical fire, aluminum wiring can emit dangerous toxins into the air.
How to Identify Aluminum Wiring?
To determine whether a house is aluminum wired, the wires which deliver electricity to the power sockets and smaller appliances (not the fridge) need to be checked. If you can determine if you have aluminum wiring if you notice:
- Strange smells, especially plastic odors
- Lights blowing quite often
- Changes in temperature from sockets
- Sparks coming the socket
- Smoke or fire
- Reduce TV picture size
- Circuit breakers trip
Rewiring a House
All the connections between copper and aluminum wires must be found and altered. In addition, both the copper and aluminum wires need to be cleaned to remove any remaining oxidant. Aluminum wiring is a hazard to buildings and homes. That’s why it’s so essential to retrofit it. For this reason, it’s best to contact a professional.