The Dangers of Aluminum Wiring | Days of Chalk and Chocolate

The Dangers of Aluminum Wiring

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Disclaimer!  I'm not an electrician and this is my opinion based on my experience. All electrical issues and questions should be referred to and answered by a certified/licensed electrician.

In the late 60s-early 70s home builders began using aluminum wiring to run electricity rather than copper. From what we've researched they did this to conserve copper for the war effort. Aluminum is a good conductor but they soon found out that is a very poor performer when it's connected to something such as an outlet, appliance, or light fixture, especially if those fixtures are fitted with copper.  From what I understand, aluminum contracts and expands with temperature fluctuations and this allows little bits of air into the connectors. The electricity begins to arc and before you know it you  have a house fire.

Wire nuts to "pigtail" copper wiring to aluminum do not seem to be a permanent answer. After much research, Jim learned the only US government approved method to remediate aluminum wiring (besides ripping it all out and rewiring) is to have it crimped with a special tool and connector called Copalum which binds the copper to the aluminum in a tight, impenetrable manner. You can read more about it here.  Electricians need to be certified to perform the crimp and they need to use a special tool to compress the crimp together. It is NOT cheap but we decided it was the only answer for our aluminum wiring.

We are so glad we did. This is what the old outlet looked like in Ellie's room when the electrician took it out of the wall.

For those of you who don't know, those connectors should look like this

And those wires are literally burned from the connectors up about two inches. We were so upset but glad that was the only outlet/fixture that was burned.

If you have aluminum wiring it may be something to think about and talk to a certified/licensed electrician. This was huge investment. Think buying new kitchen cabinets kind of investment. But after seeing that outlet we think it is the best choice for us.

Now on a lighter note, they also found this behind the light in the master bedroom.

Yup, that is silver, blue, and beige wall paper that looks like an EKG. I'm surprised they didn't find a disco ball tucked up in the rafters too.

Shocking. (heh heh)



  1. So glad you guys are on top of this. You will all sleep much better now. The pix are think that is going on behind your walls...AJ


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