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Dangers of Warm Electrical Outlets and Aluminum Wiring


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Fix Aluminum Wiring Problems: Making Aluminum Wiring Safe, How to Correct the Most Common Problems with Outlet Wiring.

Guide to Aluminum Wiring Problems

Electrical Question: My friend has a single wide trailer over 20 years old. She installed a window air conditioner unit with a large output but I can’t say just how large, probably 7,500 to 12,000 BTU’s.

Thanks for your consideration,
Tom

This electrical question came from: Tom, from New Haven, Missouri.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Tom.

How to Fix Aluminum Wiring Problems

Application: Troubleshooting an Outlet Circuit.
Skill Level: Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, Voltage Tester or Volt Ohm Meter.
Estimated Time: Depends on the type and age of the electrical wiring and the access to the circuits and wiring to be evaluated.
Precaution: This is a project that should be performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor and typically requires specific tests of the electrical circuits.
Notice: Repairs to Home Electrical Wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes and installing new or replacement electrical parts or equipment may require a permit and inspections.

Tom, this is a very serious condition that should be taken care of right away.

Making Aluminum Wiring Safe

Outlet wring connections should be made by using copper wire pigtails that would then be used for the connection to each outlet. The splice connectors that are to be used must be rated for aluminum and copper wiring and contain an approved anti-corrosion ointment. Due to the nature of aluminum wring being so soft and fragile with the smaller gauges, this process must be done carefully.

How to Correct the Most Common Problems with Outlet Wiring

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Learn How to Wire it Right with my
Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring
Perfect for Homeowners, Students,
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Includes:
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120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
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2 Responses to “Dangers of Warm Electrical Outlets and Aluminum Wiring”
  1. Dave Rongey says:

    Hi Deanna, Great Question,
    If outlets or switches are warm to touch then they should be inspected by a qualified electrician. Aluminum wire can create loose connections as it expands and contracts with temperature variations, and the temperature variations may be due to the electrical circuit load, or as you have stated, the ambient temperature at the location. Loose electrical connections can lead to damaged circuit components which may escalate to a severe fire hazard. An electrician can reduce this hazard by making sure the wiring connections to each switch and outlet have been updated with copper wire lead wires, and installing approved AL/CU splice connectors between the aluminum and copper wires. I would seriously encourage you to consider having this service performed as soon as possible.
    Be Safe,
    Dave

  2. Deanna says:

    I’ve noticed my outlets and light switches are warm to touch. Only the ones on exterior walls. I live in a 1980’s trailer. I’m worried about aluminum wiring. Could it just be because it gets to high 90’s since it is only the exterior outlets and switches?