Aluminum Wiring

Team Oulahen

Aluminum wiring in homes built in the 1960s to 1970s is acceptable but requires understanding of safety concerns and insurance requirements. Hiring an electrician to ensure safe connections and shopping for an accommodating insurance company is necessary.

Aluminum Wiring In Your home is okay, but involves some Insurance “Fun”.

  • Aluminum wiring is common in homes built in the Mid 1960s to Late 1970s and is still a completely acceptable form of wiring according to the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). You still need to be informed, and if buying or selling a home with Aluminum wiring, you should be informed of the solutions and costs.
  • Homes with Aluminum wiring can be perfectly safe, and insurable but you need to understand the safety issues and understand what insurance companies will want.
  • There are still safety concerns with aluminum wiring:
    • Creep Aluminum expands more than copper with the heat produced with electrical flowing. Constant expanding and contracting can cause the aluminum wires to creep lose from their connectors and fittings. Loose fittings can cause overheating and possible fires.
    • Softer – Aluminum is must softer than copper so more susceptible to damage with nicked or punched this is a risk for hot spots and overheating.
    • Mixing Copper with aluminum and using incorrect switches and receptacles (plug outlets). Both materials oxidize at different rates forming potential hot spots inside electrical boxes.
    • With Aluminum there is often Fuses. Breaker Panels were also replacing Fuse boxes at this time, so many homes with Aluminum might also have outdated Fuse boxes . Insurance companies are growing much less comfortable with Fuse boxes relating to safety concerns.
  • How do I get home insurance?
    • Hire an electrician to check all connection points to confirm the connections are safe with either:
  1. Aluminum rated Switches and receptacles, or
  2. Have copper wires installed to modern switches, where the copper can be connected with Aluminum rated marrettes (with anti-oxidizing)
  3. They may also need to do the same for all connections to the breaker panel.
      • The Electrician will need to open a ESA permit. Once the work is compelte they will call  ESA to have it inspected and permit closed. Once closed you will have an ESA clearance certificate to show the insurance company.

Get on the phones.  You will need to shop around for an insurance company that will insure your home at a reasonable rate. Many will not, and some will apply an additional fee.


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