To the real estate editor: A letter dealing with a "potential wire problem" has just been called to my attention.
As regards the advice to "clamp steel lugs to the ends of the aluminum wires, " this will almost surely lead to failure and possibly to fire.
There are no "steel lugs" designed, marketed, UL-listed, or code-approved for this purpose -- and for good reason. Steel has only about one-seventh the conductivity of aluminum (one-twelfth that of copper) and the National Bureau of Standards has reported tests indicating very high temperatures (in excess of 700 degrees F.) in electrical connections under some conditions, resulting from a little-understood reaction between steel and the conductor metal (both aluminum and copper).
Reputable engineers and installers do not advise making steel a major conducting component of any electrical system, and Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standards forbid it.
The consumer Product Safety Commission, UL, wire and device manufacturers, and the electrical construction industry all agree on the symptoms of possible problems in electrical wiring systems.
Your readers may receive a copy of the Safety Commission pamphlet by writing to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, 1111 18th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20207.