Copper Concerns


Back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, our country began using up our copper to produce more ammunition for our troops fighting in Viet Nam.  While that was necessary, it caused a shortage of copper for home construction.  That shortage led builders to look for alternatives.


First, the builders found a resource in China for copper to use for water lines.  Over the years we have discovered that much of that copper was defective and it developed pinhole leaks.  It was primarily labeled as “M-Class” copper, and the pinhole leaks occurred on the hot side water lines a majority of the time.  Many home owners in that age house have noticed  the leaks, or have seen the corrosion points on those water lines where the lines are exposed.  When the leaks occur, they often require water line replacement.

Second, many builders turned to aluminum for electric lines in homes.  While aluminum is an adequate conductor of electricity, it doesn’t react well when connected to copper devices.  Those devices are wall light switches, outlets, ceiling fixtures, etc.  When these devices are switched on, the heat in these connections causes the aluminum wires (which are by nature more porous than copper) to expand, loosen the connection, and that leads to the potential for arcing.  Arcing then increases the risk for fire.  However, there are approved connectors for these aluminum-copper connections that will eliminate or reduce the risk.  But lately, some insurance companies have begun to refuse to write homeowner insurance policies for these properties, even if the approved connectors have been installed properly.

Therefore, we at Signature One Properties suggest you carefully evaluate these potential conditions before considering a purchase of any home of this age.  Also, we advise homeowners of these homes to correct these issues where possible prior to listing your home for sale.