The Aluminum Wiring Hazards & Repairs Website
Photograph of  this overheating and improperly-made aluminum to copper pigtail splice. Photograph of  this overheating and improperly-made aluminum to copper pigtail splice.

  • ALUMINUM WIRING HAZARDS & REPAIRS - CONTENTS: This website answers nearly all questions about aluminum wiring inspection, hazards, repairs - a Complete guide to aluminum electrical wiring hazards & repair. How to identify & repair aluminum wiring, what are the hazards, what are the right & wrong repairs. What are the hazards of aluminum electrical wiring? What is copper wire pigtailing? Sources of COPALUM electricians & alternative aluminum wiring repair methods. Can the home electrical system or wiring system cause electrical appliance failures?
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about aluminum electrical wiring: hazards, risks, proper repairs, identifying aluminum wiring. Questions and Answers about Aluminum Wiring Hazards, Failures, Failure Cause, & Aluminum Wiring Repairs
InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.

Aluminum Electrical Wiring Hazards & Aluminum Wiring Repair Methods:

this Aluminum Wiring Website answers just about any question concerning aluminum electrical wiring, aluminum wiring failure causes, cures, repairs, and prevention. We include authoritative, expert aluminum wiring failure research, field failure reports, and descriptions of approved aluminum wiring repair procedures and products.

Photos at page top show an improper aluminum-to-copper pigtail splice which is overheating, and an infra-red photo of the same connection, from a more distant view (courtesy of G. Cohen). Aluminum wire connections can overheat enough to start a fire without ever drawing enough current to trip a circuit breaker.

Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved.

Aluminum Electrical Wiring Risks & Hazards Explained

Photograph of overheating aluminum-wired electrical outlet

Aluminum wiring, used in some homes from the mid 1960's to the early 1970's, is a potential fire hazard.

[Click to enlarge any image]

How safe is aluminum wiring? According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fires and even deaths have been reported to have been caused by this hazard.

Problems due to aluminum wiring expansion, or much more likely micro-fretting and arcing at the aluminum wiring connectors, can cause overheating at connections between the wire and devices (switches and outlets) or at aluminum wire splices.

The connections can become hot enough to start a fire without ever tripping a circuit breaker!

The photos shown at left and just below are not the most dramatic catastrophes linked to fires caused by aluminum wiring. But these are conditions that are found in many homes with aluminum wiring, confirming that this is a real, common, and widespread hazard.

Photograph of overheating aluminum-wired electrical outlet

CPSC research shows that "homes wired with aluminum wire manufactured before 1972 are 55 times more likely to have one or more connections reach "FireHazard Conditions" than are homes wired with copper.

"Post 1972" aluminum wire is also a concern. Introduction of the aluminum wire "alloys" in 1972 time frame did not solve most of the connection failure problems.

Aluminum wiring is still permitted and used for certain applications, including residential service entrance wiring and single-purpose higher amperage circuits such as 240V air conditioning or electric range circuits.

The fire risk from single purpose circuits is much less than for branch circuits.

But it's not necessarily because of a "new alloy" as some folks assert. It's because there are enormously fewer connections (four or six rather than 30 or 40 per circuit) and thus statistically a smaller chance of a connection failure. These connections do still burn up, as indicated by field reports.

Key Information Articles: Aluminum Wiring Hazards & Repair Methods

GO TO the ALUMINUM WIRING INFO WEBSITEALUMINUM WIRING HAZARDS & REPAIRS The Aluminum Wiring Website, describing the hazards of & repairs for aluminum electrical wiring, including authoritative, in-depth information, photographs, documents. You are on the aluminum wiring website main page.

Suggested citation for this web page

ALUMINUM WIRING HAZARDS & REPAIRS at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

The AMP TYCO COPALUM Connector for Aluminum Wiring Pigtailing Repairs

Photo of the AMP COPALUM aluminum wiring connector recommended by the US CPSC

AMP TYCO COPALUM Copper-to-Aluminum Pigtailing Use the special AMP (now TYCO) COPALUM high pressure crimp connector and special tool to connect short copper wires to every aluminum wire end in the building, reconnecting the copper to the various devices (outlets, switches, lights) and splices.

The AMP (originally TYCO) COPALUM connector method is described is described in detail

COPALUM ALUMINUM WIRING CONNECTOR AVAILABILITY discusses how to get these aluminum wire connectors

The AlumiConn™ Aluminum Wiring Connector for Pigtailing and Repairs

Photo of the AlumiConn aluminum wire lug connector sold by King Innovations

AlumiConn TM Purple #95135 aluminum to copper lug connectors [New in 2006, U.L. Listed, 2007 completed independent testing] available from King Innovation.

The AlumiConn connector is now recommended for aluminum wiring repairs - US CPSC.

Results of independent testing indicate that this product "... is predicted to have a high probability of failure-free long-term safe performance, PROVIDED THAT THE SETSCREWS ARE CAREFULLY TIGHTENED TO THE MANUFACTURER'S RECOMMENDATION".

Alumi-Conn where to buy, how to install: 

Obsolete Aluminum Wiring Repair Method - No Longer Recommended

Photo of the 3M Scotchlok wiring connector which can be used for aluminum wiring repairs, has tested successfully but has not been recommended by the US CPSC

Scotchlok 3M Special Method [- superceded by new alternate repair as of June 2007 -]: this ""Scotchlok 3M Special Method was previously recommended as independent tests showed that it performed acceptably.

While this repair method has been superceded by new alternate repair as of June 2007, we have kept this description available to aid home buyers, electricians and home inspectors who may discover or need to be able to recognize this aluminum wire repair method if it was previously used in the building.

A summary of this method is at "Scotchlok 3M connector" and details of this method are at Aluminum Wire alternative repair: Special Aluminum Wire Repair Method

Other Aluminum Wiring Repair Methods that Are Not Recommended

Photo of the Ideal 65 purple twister aluminum wire connector which is NOT RECOMMENDED

Other methods - not recommended: Warnings regarding other "repair" methods which are not recommended are discussed

such as the Ideal 65 purple "Twister" connector shown in the photo at left (12 connectors cost $49. to $79.), Marrette B-Cap ACS™ #63 AL/CU Twist-On Connectors, and electrical receptacles and outlets marked "COALR" (even if these worked, which has not been demonstrated, what about all of the other electrical connections and splices in the building?) and others.

Citation by brief quote or links-to this website are invited, provided you credit this source website

Printed copies of our website pages are permitted (hard copies on paper) for free (not for sale) distribution provided that you do not edit the content, you include a citation of the source web page, and you do not imply that our website is endorsing any product or service for sale.

Do NOT copy electronically nor reproduce our website content electronically (for example to a web page) without writing to us (Contact Us) first to obtain express permission. See our Policy on use of website contents - OK in printed form only, do not make electronic copies.

Aluminum Electrical Wiring Information you CAN copy to your website: for information on aluminum electrical wiring that can be copied to your website, see Aluminum Wiring Summary Page for Public Use.

3/4/2014 Aluminum Wiring Home Page, - © 2014 - 1988 Copyright All Rights Reserved, The information on this page may not be reproduced or republished on another web page or website - InspectAPedia® is a Registered U.S. Trademark

Aluminum Electrical Wiring Articles


Continue reading at ALUMINUM WIRING IDENTIFICATION or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below.

Or see ALUMINUM WIRING HAZARD FAQs - questions & answers posted to this article

Suggested citation for this web page

ALUMINUM WIRING HAZARDS & REPAIRS at - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

More Reading

Green link shows where you are in this article series.


OR use the Search Box found below at Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Click to Show or Hide FAQs

Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia

Questions & answers or comments about aluminum electrical wiring in buildings: safety, proper repairs, history, recommendations.

Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.

Search the InspectApedia website

Comment Box is loading comments...

Technical Reviewers & References

Click to Show or Hide Citations & References

Publisher's Google+ Page by Daniel Friedman