• If produced before 1972, it is widely considered ‘old technology’ aluminum wire and this is 55 times more likely to reach a condition where it can cause a fire – compared to homes with copper wiring.
  • In 1974 in New York, two people sadly died in a house fire caused by a faulty connection in the aluminum wire system.

Metal – Compared with copper, there are many qualities of aluminum which make it a poor choice with electrics. Ultimately, they all lead to connections being loose and an increase in the likelihood of a fire. For example;

  • Aluminum is considerably less ductile which means that it will break down where copper remains strong. As the wire is fatigued, the electrical current will be resisted and the heat will build up over time.

  • As far as resistance to electrical current flow goes, aluminum sits near the top so conductors of this material need a much larger surface area than those made from copper (assuming the same amperage).

  • Whenever aluminum is subjected to oxygen, the outer wire deteriorates and this is the process of oxidation. If we compare this with copper once more, copper is much harder to oxidize as well as being more conductive than aluminum solutions. Over time, the process of oxidation destroys connections and increases the chances of seeing a fire.

  • Sometimes, moisture can be a problem and aluminum will always succumb to galvanic corrosion whenever dissimilar metals come in contact.

  • When there is a change in temperature, aluminum is known to expand and contract more visibly than copper. As this occurs, the connections will degrade between the device and the wire. As a result, aluminum cannot be used for many terminations on outlets and light switches including ‘stab’, ‘push-in’, and ‘bayonet’.

  • Of course, electrical current will pass through the wiring and this causes vibrations. However, the vibrations are more extreme in aluminum than the vibrations we see with copper and this will loosen the connections within.

  • Finally, aluminum is known as a soft metal and is sensitive when compressed. Considering there are screws on most fixtures, an over-tightening will deform the wire and this will lead to loose connections in that specific area.

As you can see, there are a number of problems that come with aluminum wiring which is why the material is now frowned upon by experts and the appropriate governing bodies in the electrical industry.