Aluminum Wiring Concerns in Older Homes
Around the early 1950’s until late 1970’s many homes were constructed and wired with aluminum wiring versus today’s homes that are wired with copper. Taking into account that copper wire is a better conductor than aluminum, in order for aluminum wire to carry the same current as copper in a safe manner is must be larger in size. It is fairly easy to identify if the home you are selling or looking to purchase has aluminum wiring as there will be a stamp on the plastic covering (letter AL or the word ALUMINUM).
Aluminum wiring may be something to be concerned about for 3 basic reasons:
1. The wire can overheat at the receptacle due to it tends to oxide thus increasing the wire’s overall resistance.
2. Aluminum can be easily nicked because it is softer than copper
3. Aluminum wiring also tends to change shape due to high thermal expansion. When this happens, the screws can become loose or fall off at the terminal itself.
When improper connections are made, electrical resistance may cause overheating, or worse, a fire. To prevent this from happening, the aluminum wiring can be ‘pig-tailed’ using the correct copper wire and connectors.
UNSAFE ALUMINUM WIRING WARNING SIGNS:
- warm switch cover plates
- warped outlets
- smoke or sparks coming from receptacles and switches
- odors in the area of receptacles and switches
- problems with plug-in’s, lights or appliances that are not traceable to a specific source
- lights flickering intermittently
Replacing aluminum wiring in itself is not DIY friendly and often warrants an electrical inspection by insurance companies. If you suspect anything strange or abnormal with the electrical circuitry of your home it is recommend to have a licensed electrician tackle this job for you.
Should you have concerns with the wiring in your home or a home you are looking to purchase. Wireworks Electrical Services Ltd. can put your mind at ease and quickly remedy the situation. Contact us at 780-289-1660 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your options or click here for a free estimate to upgrade your aluminum wiring.