Copper and aluminum are two of the main choices for wiring in a home. Aluminum wiring was extensively used in American homes prior to the 1960s. However, its popularity waned until it became fashionable to use again in the 1990s. Copper continues to be used extensively in modern homes, but each wiring material comes with its own advantages and disadvantages.
Aluminum pros and cons
Aluminum wire is generally easier to use than copper because it’s lighter and more malleable, making it an ideal wiring material to use over long distances. Likewise, it’s significantly more affordable than copper, so much so that you will generally have half as much copper wire than you would with aluminum for the same cost. The downside to aluminum wiring is that it’s vulnerable to corrosion and therefore cannot match the lifespan of copper wire. Likewise, its softness makes it prone to breakage and loose connections.
Copper pros and cons
Copper is the popular choice for many wiring applications, mainly because of its durability and high conductivity. However, it is not without its faults. Apart from its higher cost, it’s also heavier, which means it requires the construction of more structural support. This, in turn, means a bigger investment on your part.
Which material to choose for your home?
Since each material has its uses, it’s a safe bet that both aluminum and copper wiring aren’t going away anytime soon. However, for home use, copper comes highly recommended, mainly because the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Consult a certified electrician and have your electrical system checked to determine if you have any aluminum wiring that needs to be replaced with copper to ensure years of problem-free connections.