Is it Safe to Connect Aluminum and Copper Wiring? Is it Safe to Connect Aluminum and Copper Wiring?
Aluminum wiring is sometimes found in older houses, and people often become anxious about connecting it with copper wiring in extensions. They are actually correct to be worried about this, as the uniting of the 2 metals can cause a chemical reaction called electrolysis, which may lead to corrosion of the copper wiring, and a fire risk. However, there are a couple of ways in which aluminum and copper wiring can be safely joined together.
Combining Copper and Aluminum Wiring
It is possible to connect the 2 wires via a system called CU/AL. These often appear as little box-shaped fittings, and are intended to keep the wires from connecting and corroding each other. Before use, the aluminum items should be wrapped in an anti-oxidizing gum or paste. Until recently, 3M made a nut connector which combined the two, but this has recently been connected to fire hazards, and may no longer be available.
Another answer is to ask an electrician to pig-tail your aluminum, which will allow you to avoid having to connect the two. This is similar to the CU/AL connections, but can be carefully done with a machine which crimps the aluminum with several tons of force. This may be costly, but the expense will ensure that you are safe when you use electrical equipment in your home.