During the 1970's, aluminum (instead of copper) wiring became quite popular and was extensively used. Since that time, aluminum wiring has been implicated in a number of house fires, and most jurisdictions no longer permit it in new electrical wiring installations. We recommend, even if you’re allowed to, that you do not use aluminum for new electrical wiring.
Don’t panic if your San Diego house has aluminum wiring. Aluminum wiring, when properly installed, can be just as safe as copper. San Diego aluminum wiring is, however, very unforgiving of improper installation.
The main problem with aluminum wiring is a phenomenon known as “cold creep.” When aluminum wiring warms up, it expands. When it cools down, it contracts. Unlike copper wires, when aluminum wiring goes through a number of warm/cool cycles it loses a bit of tightness each time. To make the problem worse, aluminum oxidizes, or corrodes, when in contact with certain types of metal, so the resistance of the connection goes up. Which causes it to heat up and corrode / oxidize more. Eventually the aluminum wire may start getting very hot, melt the insulation or fixture it’s attached to, and possibly cause a fire.
People usually encounter aluminum wiring when they move into a San Diego house that was built during the 1970's. If your home has aluminum wiring, you should hire a licensed electrical contractor to check the following things:
If, when considering purchasing a home in San Diego that has aluminum wiring, an inspection of the wiring is very important. Every connection between aluminum wire and copper should be repaird with approved devices. There are only 3 approved repairs for aluminum to copper connections. Although the repairs are straightforward and relatively inexpensive they should be done by an electrician who is knowledgeable about the proper way to repair aluminum wire connections.