If you’re looking for budget-friendly wiring, then aluminum may be an option. Because of the lower price, it’s used in projects that require large amounts of wiring. For example, a commercial building project.

However, there are some things you need to be aware of before using it. We are going to provide an overview of aluminum wiring, where you’ll learn how to identify aluminum wiring, warning signs, prevention, and potential hazards.

By the end, you should have a better understanding of aluminum wiring. Yet, we don’t recommend messing with any type of wiring, unless you’re a qualified electrician. 

How To Recognize Aluminum Wiring

The best way to recognize aluminum wiring is by looking at its colour. If it’s aluminum, it should be silver. Although, you can’t always see the colour because of the insulation.


If that’s the case, the insulation should be marked with AL, ALUM, or ALUMINUM.


Warning Signs (What’s Wrong with Aluminum Wiring?)


Nowadays, most residential wiring is copper. However, many years ago aluminum wiring was used throughout homes. That means you could be living in a home that hasn’t had the wiring changed since being built.


So, how bad is aluminum wiring in a house?


The main concern is it increases the risk of a fire. The good news? You can usually identify when you have an aluminum electric issue by recognizing the warning signs.


These could range from flickering lights, all the way to a burning smell coming from outlets. If you notice any of these signs, it’s a good idea to get in touch with your local electrician immediately. Don’t ever try to fix electrical problems yourself, otherwise, you could end up seriously hurt.

Prevention – It Should Be Checked Every 5 Years


To ensure your aluminum wiring is not causing any problems, it’s important to have it checked every 5 years. Not all electricians are qualified when it comes to aluminum wiring, so make sure to check beforehand.

Hazards with Aluminum Wiring 


The main problem with aluminum wiring is it expands at a much higher rate than copper. With such high expansion rates, it’s not uncommon for it to detach from the terminal screws.


When this happens, the wiring comes into contact with air. This can prevent the electric flow to appliances in your home. You may notice your washing machine, microwave, and dryer stop working suddenly.


In addition, it’s not as durable as copper. This makes it resist the electrical current, which causes heat to build up. Over time, this can lead to a fire and, in some cases, arcing.


Should You Buy a House with Aluminum Wiring?


A study was done suggesting homes wired before 1972 are 55 times more likely to catch fire. Therefore, purchasing a home with aluminum wiring could potentially put your family’s lives at risk.


However, that’s not to say you can’t purchase a home and have the wiring changed from aluminum to copper, which is a much safer alternative. If you choose this option, it’s important to choose the right electrician.



As a side note, you don’t need to worry about aluminum wiring if you’re buying a home that was recently built. Nowadays, all new-builds are designed with copper.


Get In Touch


Now you understand what’s wrong with electrical wiring, it’s important to talk to an electrician if you notice any of the warning signs. 


Even if there aren’t any signs, it’s always good to get a thorough inspection. You can call us on (416) 755-2700 or use our contact form for a free quote.

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