What Are Dissimilar Metals, Mean When They Are In My Home?

Copper and Aluminum Wire Are Dissimilar Metals

Dissimilar metals are not similar, unlike or different metals; for example, aluminum wire to copper wire, also copper-clad aluminum. Over most of the centuries of building houses, copper wiring was used to provide electricity to the home. There was a period in the 1960s, when aluminum wiring was used instead. Read our other blog to learn more.

Aluminum and copper can not be mixed together without the proper installation. It is like mixing oil and vinegar together. When mixing 2 dissimilar metals, aluminum and copper wiring, together to make an electrical connection, there can be problems. Corrosion and reactions will occur.

Aluminum is corrosion resistance, due to its barrier of oxide that forms instantaneously on the metal. Although, aluminum to copper wiring reacts to each other. Wiring aluminum to copper will pit to the copper causing less surface area to have contact to.   This causes the electrical connection to become loose, noisy and it will allow arcing to happen due to the gap. The way to prevent the bridging of moisture between aluminum and copper is to use a joint compound, silver diox, and install the aluminum wiring to copper connectors. Although, be careful just because the parts are U.L. listed doesn’t mean that your homeowner insurance or other parties involved will accept or approve the method.

To splice aluminum to copper properly, it needs to be done by an professional experienced electrical contractor. You, as the customer, should ask your city building department and look at the NEC code, as well as your homeowner insurance company, and see what is required and approved. Get educated by the right sources! Do not trust that any electrical contractor knows the proper way to deal with aluminum copper. Don’t waste your money and safety! There are proper aluminum to copper wire connectors that must be used with a joint compound, but these approved methods of aluminum to copper wire connectors could be changing in 2014.

Changes In 2014

Guess what? If you are thinking about buying an aluminum wired house or you have an aluminum house now, then you should update this problem before 2014. NEC Code 2014 could be changing what is allowed. Stay connected to Peterson Electric, LLC blogs and we will keep you posted of the changes.

Who should I hire to wire my aluminum wiring?

We, Peterson Electric, LLC, has dealt with aluminum wired houses. These are jobs, we really enjoying meeting your needs to make either the house safer or help you adapt new devices with aluminum wiring in your house. Contact us! We service Loveland, Berthoud, Longmont, Erie, Firestone, Fort Collins, even Denver and surrounding Denver areas.