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Examples of Aluminum Wiring
At outlets and switches, look at stripped wire ends. Often times, simply removing the cover plate will give sufficient view. Be especially cautious if you see back-wired receptacles. It may be difficult to see if the wire is aluminum, but if it is, the smaller wire contact surface when this method was used may increase the risk of overheating or other failures.
It is sometimes easiest to look at the wire at circuit breakers in the electric panel for aluminum wire.
Figure # 1
Look for the word "Aluminum." (See Figure 2). Look for printed or embossed letters on the plastic wire jacket where wiring is visible or at the electric panel. Some aluminum wire has the word "Aluminum" or a specific brand name such as "Kaiser Aluminum" plainly marked every few feet on the plastic wire jacket. This photo shows a dark colored wire jacket with green print indicating "Kaiser Aluminum." Some white colored plastic wire jackets are inked in red or green; others have embossed letters without ink and are hard to read. Try shining a light along the wire.
Figure # 2