Aluminum wiring noted

I’ve noted a few times when inspecting homes and condos on the east side of Oahu that single strand aluminum wiring was observed. This is a safety hazard as this material can deteriorate quicker than copper causing loose connections in panels and other connections, such as receptacles and light switches. I recommend further evaluation by a licensed Electrician and budgeting for an upgrade.

Just me, but I would use the word “possibly” single strand aluminum…unless you are definite it is. There is tin coated copper wire that appears to be aluminum at first glance.

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Aluminum wiring is fine if it is terminated properly with the appropriate devices and spliced properly.


The danger is not deterioration, it is having aluminum and copper connected together that is the danger. They expand/contract at different rates, and can lead to arcing, and cause fires. Like Robert said, they need to have proper terminations. You have to open a receptacle or two and see if they have installed alumicon or Copalum connectors. If so, just inform the client. If not, it can be pricey to have this done throughout (at least $50/termination)


Tinned copper has a different insulation than aluminum.

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Yes it can be.
The safety hazard caused due to aluminum lighting circuit cables, as well as other electrical service circuit cables/conductors are, thermal expansion.
The main danger with aluminum wiring is terminations. When electric current flows through electric circuit cables, and connectors, the wires, heat up and expand. One of the issues with aluminum circuit wires the cables can expands up to three times more than copper circuit conductors do. In other words, it has a much higher rate of thermal expansion.

Symptoms can be located at terminations. Included are, flickering lights and signs of overheating such as burned insulation or oddly warm outlet/switch cover plates. This is a considerable cause for concern because having been built in the 60’s and 70’s homes with aluminum wiring are already quite old and may be at risk.

Insurance companies don’t care if the breaker or device is UL listed for aluminum. All that they care about is if the home has aluminum wiring.

May I ask what a Bus bar is made of I think its aluminum and using this logic all copper wires would have this problem and not aluminum wires connected to the aluminum BUS. RIGHT.

I believe the problem is, aluminum wires get hotter and aluminum gets softer when heated, causing loose connections.
But that’s just my thought on this.

Aluminum to Aluminum =should be good
Aluminum to copper = should be Bad

but its backwards in the electrical world.

I think they need to make the BUS bars out of copper then. hell make the whole panel out of copper.

There is really no problem with aluminum bus if the connections are made with the proper materials that have been tested and listed for the connection of dissimilar metals.

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Not the same. A bus bar has screws, to permanently hold the copper wire in place. The only concern there is that they are dissimilar metals, but the bus is rated for this contact.
A normal wire nut with the aluminum and copper twisted around each other will cause them to work loose from each other, from each metal having different rates of expansion/contraction, also caused by heat. When they work loose, they arc, causing fires. That is why the only alternative to complete re-wiring of the home is to use alumicon connections, because these connectors have screws that allow each conductor to be tightened down individually, without being connected to each other. (pic below)
This is also why the purple wire nuts you can buy at home depot that say they are rated for this, are not any safer, just because they claim to have anti-oxidant.
Here is what can still happen with the purple wire nuts

In Florida, insurance companies want to know if the home has aluminum, but then they ALSO want to know if repairs have been done with alumicon connectors. If so, most will still insure.

This is referring to solid aluminum conductors correct? Stranded aluminum conductors are not an issue?

Here’s the bottom line as far as InterNachi is concerned…


The spring inside accounts for the increased expansion ratio and the product listing. It is not just the anti-oxidant.

Not true. The Tyco Copalum crimp is also an alternative.

Thanks Jeffery,
I know we throw around generic terms like aluminum conductors but often there is more to it than just the type of metal involved.


yes, you are correct. I mentioned those in an earlier comment above.

Yes, that is correct

Yes, but they are useless, and dangerous. They have pretty much failed every single independent study conducted. Even their own website says it should be temporary.
Aluminum Wiring Twist-on Connector Debate about the Ideal 65 “Twister” for Aluminum Wiring Repair (

InspectAPedia is so outdated, it’s borderline useless on anything constructed after 1999!

Haha. You may be right. But I have personally seen those purple wire nuts fried as well. I had a friend who had a fire under his dishwasher with one, and luckily that was the extent of it!

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