Should Your House Have Copper or Aluminum Wiring?

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Should your house have copper or aluminum wiring?  Does it matter?  During the 1960’s and into the 70’s, aluminum wiring was used in houses as the price of copper started inclining.  Both copper and aluminum have their advantages and disadvantages but according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC): “Houses wired with single strand aluminum wire that is used for 15 and 20 amp circuits are 55 times more likely to have one or more connections reach fire hazard conditions than homes wired with copper. Jul 20, 2015″

Why is Copper Better?

Both have been used in home building.

Recently, one of my clients had an inspection done for a home he wanted to use as an investment property.  The inspector named the top concern as the aluminum wiring.  The inspector took photos of the corrosion on the aluminum wiring and mentioned how aluminum wiring, when corroded doesn’t conduct electricity well but tends to heat up and can cause a fire hazard.  Copper wiring, even when corroded, still is a good conductor of electricity.

The estimates to replace the aluminum wiring in a 1000 sq. ft. home range from $3500 to $8000 depending on the access and design of the home.  That cost may be appreciated by a home owner who plans on staying in that home for any length of time, but for my investor, that is not a cost he can convert for that home to remain a good investment.

Don’t take my word for it.  I recommend you seek professional electrical advice.  If you have questions regarding electrical, This site offers an “Ask the Expert” section.  There are many other good electricians in our area.  If you need one, please let me know and I can give you several names and numbers.

What about Insurance?

Insurance may be more difficult to find.  Some companies don’t want to cover you if the house has aluminum wiring.  That is one more reason to make sure you investigate insurance coverage during your option period.  In the San Antonio, Texas area, we commonly have an option period that is negotiable so the buyer has time to do their due diligence.

Now you know.  Now you can ask yourself, “should your house have copper or aluminum wiring?”

If you are looking to purchase a home in this area please give me a call today!


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