Aluminum Wiring Can Be Hazardous, Here’s What to do About It

Your home might have aluminum wiring and you need to know what to do if it's there

aluminum wiringFamily Handyman

If you have aluminum wiring in your house, you might have a fire waiting to happen. Many houses built between 1965 and 1972 were wired with aluminum instead of copper. The wiring itself isn’t a problem; aluminum conducts electricity safely. The trouble is at the connections. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that homes with aluminum wiring are 55 times more likely to have “fire hazard conditions” than homes wired with copper.

Aluminum wiringAluminum Wiring

Fix the problem

Completely rewiring your home isn’t practical in most situations—it means tearing into walls and ceilings. But an electrician can make the connections safe by adding a short section of copper wire to the end of each aluminum wire. That way, copper rather than aluminum will be connected to each switch, outlet or other device. COPALUM connectors are preferred by the CPSC, but they require a trained contractor and a special tool. AlumiConn is another brand that can be purchased from online suppliers. These connectors can be installed by any trained electrician but may require that existing junction boxes be replaced with larger ones to make room for the connectors.

AlumiConn ConnectorAlumiConn Connector

Plus: Learn two wire splicing methods the pros use.

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Brad Holden, an associate editor at The Family Handyman, has been building cabinets and furniture for 30 years. In that time, he has absorbed so many slivers and ingested so much sawdust that he's practically made of wood.