Photograph of an overheating aluminum-wired electrical outlet - thanks to J Simmons. Aluminum Wiring Failures in Residential Properties: Field Reports & Pictures
     


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Field reports & photos of aluminum electrical wiring failures, overheats, fires: this article contains photo-documented reports of actual in-service aluminum wiring failures in homes.

We have been receiving reports from home owners, builders, and building professionals since 1990. However this page was created in July 2004, so it will not contain all of the historical data. Recent reports, photographs, anecdotes are be displayed here. When I complete statistical analysis of prior reports I'll add that data at this page.

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Aluminum Wiring Overheating Reports with failure photographs

240V Heat Pump Circuit - Aluminum Wiring Failure Case

Improper use of twist-on connector, overheat, melt, fire prevented by steel box "I was replacing the heat pump unit on our home and went under the house to wire in the new unit to an existing junction box. Upon opening the box I let out an expletive and then went right to our local home center to purchase some new copper wire to run from the service panel to the new unit.

[Click to enlarge any image]

Whoever wired the previous unit must have had some Al wire around but not quite enough to reach the unit, so they used a junction box to connect Al and Cu wire. Fortunately, the so-called technicians used a steel box otherwise the house could have burned down.

This was the only aluminum wiring I have found thus far but I'm not done inspecting yet."-- J.F. 6/30/2004 DF-note: see also this lab photograph of an overheating twist-on connector to show the overheat mechanism in the case above

Ideal-65 "Twister" Burnup in Field Use - Aluminum Wiring Failure Case Photos


Ideal 65 Purple "Twister" Field Burn-up-1
, from Alex Costantino



Ideal 65 Twister Field Burn-up-2
, from Alex Costantino



Ideal 65 Twister Field Burn-up-3
, from Alex Costantino



Ideal 65 Twister Field Burn-up-4
, from Alex Costantino



Ideal 65 Twister Field Burn-up-5
, from Alex Costantino


Additional details about this failure are at Mr. Costantino's Web Page about this case.

Electrical Panel Overheat - Aluminum Wiring Failure Case Photos


Aluminum Wire Overheat in Electric Panel
, from J. Simmons - Electrician, 14 Mar 2006



Aluminum Wire Overheat in Electric Panel2
, from J. Simmons - Electrician, 14 Mar 2006



Aluminum Wire Overheat in Electric Panel3
, from J. Simmons - Electrician, 14 Mar 2006

Electrical Receptacle Burnup - Aluminum Wiring Failure Case Photos


Aluminum Wire Overheat at electrical receptacle
, from J. Simmons14 Mar 2006



Aluminum Wire Overheat at electrical receptacle2
, from J. Simmons 14 Mar 2006



Aluminum Wire Overheat at electrical receptacle3
, from J. Simmons 14 Mar 2006



Aluminum Wire Overheat at electrical receptacle4
, from J. Simmons 14 Mar 2006



Aluminum Wire Overheat at electrical receptacle5
, from J. Simmons14 Mar 2006

 

Copper to Aluminum Pigtail Overheat - in Electric Panel, including infra-red Case Photos

Photograph of  this overheating and improperly-made aluminum to copper pigtail splice.
Improper copper to aluminum splice
does not use an approved connector and is visibly
overheated both in this photo and in next IR photo below.


Photograph of  this overheating and improperly-made aluminum to copper pigtail splice.
Infra red photo of overheating copper to aluminum pigtail
in the splice shown above


Photograph of  this overheating and improperly-made aluminum to copper pigtail splice.
Infra red photo of overheating connection
aluminum to copper splice in an electrical panel


Photograph of  this overheating and improperly-made aluminum to copper pigtail splice.
Infra red photo of overheating circuit breaker
with aluminum wiring

Contributor - Gordon Cohen: These thermal imaging photos of overheating aluminum splices and circuit breakers with aluminum wiring are courtesy of Gordon Cohen, June 2006. Mr. Gordon offers home inspections and thermal imaging services in Florida and is also employed by ServiceMaster as a project manager. Email: Infraredinspections@cfl.rr.com

Twist-on connector overheating cases - Forensic Engineer Reports

Aronstein reports and provides these additional examples of aluminum wiring field failures.

 

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