Life in Portland Blog

1970's Aluminum Wiring


Do you own a home built in the 70′s? If you do, then it’s not unlikely that you might have aluminum electrical wiring instead of copper.

My buyers just made a successful offer on a 1970′s home in Multnomah Village. Congratulations to them! Buying a home built in the 1970′s brings to question the electrical panel, as it was popular to use aluminum wiring instead of copper wiring during this decade. Since then, aluminum wiring is no longer permitted as it has been reported to cause a high number of house fires.

So your house has aluminum wiring…don’t panic! According to the electrical experts at Weeks Service Company, when properly installed it is just as safe as copper. The main problem, is something called “cold creep”. When aluminum wiring warms up, it expands. When it cools down, it contracts. Unlike copper, when aluminum goes through a high number of warm and cold cycles, the wiring starts to get loose and oxidizes which resists the electrical connection. This causes the wires to heat up to unsafe temperatures.

We suggest if you currently own or are planning on buying a home
ith aluminum electrical wiring, that you hire a licensed electrical inspector to check over the wiring and possibly replace it. Please feel free to give us a call and we would be happy to refer you to a trusted electrician in your area.