Because homes are built dramatically different than they were 40+ years ago, the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) recommends all homes over 40 years old undergo an electrical inspection to ensure your home’s electrical system can handle modern demands and is up to today’s code. They also recommend an electrical inspection be done on homes that have recently undergone a major addition or renovation.
One crucial thing to examine is if your home’s electrical system uses aluminum instead of the preferred and predominant metal copper in its electrical wiring. During the late 1960’s and mid-1970’s, many homes used aluminum wire due to a surge in copper pricing. However, many receptacles and switches manufactured during this time were not intended for use with aluminum wire, and years later, reports of fires began to reveal the existence of these hazardous conditions.
If you are unsure whether your home is among them, look at the printed or embossed markings on the outer jacket of the electrical cables, which are visible in unfinished basements, attics, or garages. Cable with aluminum conductors will be marked on the sheath with “Al” or “Aluminum” along its length. If you are unable to determine the type of wiring, contact a qualified electrician to investigate.
My thanks to ESFI for granting us permission to share this important information. If you suspect your home needs an electrical inspection, please visit PowerForwardDuPage.com for a searchable database of our highly qualified and skilled electrical contractors.