For most of our history, electrical wiring has been made out of copper. This was true in the late 19th century, when we first began using electricity in homes, and it remains true today. Copper is simply superior as a conductor of electricity. So where did all of this aluminum wiring come from? In the 1960s the price of copper shot up, for a variety of reasons, and aluminum was deemed a suitable and cost-effective replacement. That’s really all there is to it. Aluminum was a cost cutting measure.
Why Aluminum Wiring Is Considered An Issue
So is this cost cutting method a danger to you or your home? Sometimes, but not necessarily. Shortly after the introduction of aluminum wiring to homes people began having issues with overheating. Their lights would flicker, their appliances would get hot, wire insulation would burn out. Anytime you have overheating issues like this it can lead to a fire. That said, the issues mostly arose due to not fully accounting for the difference between aluminum and copper. It was thought that you could simply make the aluminum wiring larger and that would eliminate all of the issues.
In truth, there are a few ways that copper and aluminum differ that must be dealt with such as:
- Aluminum is softer
- Aluminum expands and contracts more
- Aluminum corrodes differently
There are special types of connections and panels that work well with aluminum wiring, and mostly eliminate the problems associated with it. As long as it’s installed properly, aluminum wiring can be just as safe as copper.
How Insurance Companies View Aluminum Wiring
Insurance companies are risk averse, that should come as no surprise. Many still refuse to insure homes with aluminum wiring, even when properly installed. Others are going to, at the very least, require confirmation from an electrician that there are no issues with the wiring.
Bottom line is that the specifics will vary from provider to provider, we can’t speak for them all. If you’ve identified aluminum wiring in your home the only way to know for sure is to discuss it with your inspector and local insurance providers. You shouldn’t view it as an immediate deal breaker though, it’s just something that warrants further attention.
Know What You’re Buying
Aluminum wiring is just one of the many issues a house could be hiding. The only way to really know what you’re buying is by performing an independent home inspection. A home inspection from a certified inspector will tell you everything you need to know about a house and allow you to make a fully informed decision.
Please, contact us at Super Inspection Pros. today to learn more about our home inspection process or to schedule an inspection for your home.