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aluminum wiringGeneration 3 Electric was called out to a 1960s Philadelphia home because the outlet started to spark. This is a scary situation for any homeowner. The homeowner removed the outlet and smartly called a professional electrician (G3E) to look at the situation. This is a picture of the electrical box when we arrived at the home.

When we arrived, G3E technician noticed immediately that t
he home was wired with Aluminum Wires. Aluminum wires look like modern wires except the metal is silver instead of gold. The wires are slightly thicker then copper wire and much lighter. Aluminum is a much softener wire then copper. If it is handled incorrectly the wire can fatigue and break. It also corrodes differently than copper. This is a problem when attaching AL wire to electrical equipment that was designed for CU.

aluminum wiring is a fire hazardAluminum wiring was only used for a short time in the 1960s during a copper shortage. At that time it was a cost effective solution for new houses. Now, some 50 years later, G3E recommends that the aluminum wiring be removed. The wire becomes more dangerous as it ages. AL corrodes and weakens much faster than CU. A 50 year old piece of AL wire can be broken by hand without any tools.

aluminum wiring is dangerousYou can see here in this picture where the aluminum wire started to spark and almost caught fire. The outlet was never designed to work with AL wiring. The screw terminal is a CU post. Outlets that you purchase at your local home centers are normally stamped with the type of wire they work with on their yokes (frames). Incorrectly matching the devices to the wire is just another of the many problems that homes with aluminum wiring face.

Click here to view our Wire Size Chart and learn more about the differences between aluminum and copper wiring.


Generation 3 Electric is dedicated to the safety of our Philadelphia neighbors. Contact us to schedule an appointment to inspect your homes wiring and prevent fires.

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About Generation 3 Electric:

Generation 3 Electric has been servicing the electrical needs of the Philadelphia metro area for three generations. We were voted Philadelphia Magazine's 2012 Best Electrician. Our trained electricians understand any issues you have with the electric in your Philly home. Our technicians specialize in repairing, updating and servicing your homes electrical wiring and lighting for indoor and outdoor residential buildings. They are trained to always respect your home and be mindful of your time. Your 100% satisfaction is our goal. Generation 3 Electric is fully licensed and insured. You will never get a machine when calling our office; a friendly voice will always be there to assist you. Gen3 is also a Mitsubishi Electric Diamond Contractor in Philadelphia. To learn more, contact us today.
For ELECTRIFYING SERVICE CALL 215-512-4102