Aluminum has been used in the past as an inexpensive substitute for copper in the wiring of houses. It is now known that it is an inferior material for this task and should be removed due to a massively increased risk of fire in the home.
This is pertinent in particular, to people living in houses built between 1965 and 1972 as this is the period when houses were being hard wired with aluminum. There are a few problems with aluminum wiring. Firstly, when it oxidizes it forms a resistor, whereas copper oxide is a conductor – this means the aluminum will heat up more as time goes on. It also expands more rapidly when conducting, which over time causes loose connections and eventually arcing which can start a house fire.
To determine whether or not 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 notice any change in temperature of sockets or sparks coming from the socket, strange smells or anything particularly odd such as lights blowing quite often, then there could be a problem with aluminum wiring. Though, often there are no warning signs before a house fire caused by aluminum wiring.
In order to remove virtually all the risk caused by aluminum wiring in a house, all the connections between copper and aluminum wires need to be found and altered. Both the copper and aluminum wires need to be cleaned to remove any oxidant remaining on them. This is quite a time-consuming process, even in a normal sized house and it is very important to ensure that each and every connection is modified. For this reason, it is recommended to consult a professional.