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Certified Home Inspection for Single-Stranded Aluminum Branch-Circuit Wiring & Its Risks

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If your home was built in the 1960s or 1970s, a certified home inspection of its electrical wiring is extremely important to ensure it is safe for you and your family. During this period, due to copper shortages because of the Vietnam War, many homes’ branch-circuit wirings were made with single-strand aluminum. This substituted material has been identified as a fire-danger to homes due to aluminum’s poor conductivity, compared to that of typical copper. Occasionally, we’ve even found this wiring in homes outside of this era.

As a material, aluminum expands and contracts much more than typical copper wiring, which can cause loose connections as electricity passes through, potentially resulting in a fire. In fact, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), homes that have aluminum branch-circuit wiring are 55-times more likely to have connections that are deemed fire-hazards than homes with typical copper wiring.

With a home inspection from Whitt Inspections, our inspectors are trained to identify homes with this dangerous aluminum-based wiring. A certified inspection is the best and safest way to ensure your home is safe from this fire-hazard, as without a direct, visual inspection, detection is nearly impossible. Aluminum-based wiring is prone to overheating and fire with no previous signs of issues, meaning a failure could happen at any moment with no previous indication.

Not only is aluminum much more prone to expanding and contracting, it is also more resistant to electrical flow than its copper counterpart, which means it requires larger wires to pass electricity. With homes today using more electricity, these dangerous and dated aluminum-wired circuits are more susceptible to being overloaded with greater electricity usage, potentially resulting in a fire. Aluminum wiring is also more likely to fall victim to corrosion as a result of usage and age, also posing a fire-hazard.

It’s important to note that not all aluminum wiring is considered bad, and some is still even installed on new construction today. These are mainly multi-strand aluminum wires, which are still regularly used on service and entrance conductors, as well as larger circuits in the home like the stove, water heater and HVAC systems. This is typically fine. It’s the single-strand wire variety that can be of concern. Although alloys were revised to this wiring over the years that may have somewhat improved its performance, single-strand aluminum is still a concern. Also, you may run into obstacles obtaining homeowners’ insurance. Fortunately, there are CPSC approved repairs available that can be performed by a qualified electrician, which many insurance carriers will accept. 

If your home was built in the 1960s and 1970s, a home inspection to analyze the condition and material of your electrical systems is highly-recommended to ensure the home is safe. Call today to have your home inspected and have the confidence that it is in as great condition as possible. If we do find single-strand aluminum wiring, we will let you know and recommend options a qualified electrician can perform to repair or even replace them.

For all your home inspection needs, choose Whitt Inspections

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