What do you need to know about Aluminum Wiring
Between approximately 1965 and 1973, single-strand (solid) aluminum wiring was sometimes substituted for copper branch-circuit wiring in residential electrical systemsdue to the sudden escalating price of copper. After a decade of use by homeowners and electricians, inherent weaknesses were discovered in the metal that lead to its disuse as a branch wiring material. Aluminum will become defective faster than copper due to certain qualities inherent in the metal.
Neglected connections in outlets, switches and light fixtures containing aluminum wiring become increasingly dangerous over time. Poor connections cause wiring to overheat, creating a potential fire hazard. In addition, the presence of single-strand aluminum wiring may void a home’s insurance policies.
Buyers of homes with Aluminum wiring should discuss the presence of this with their insurance agents. Some companies will insure these home with an additional cost. Some companies will not insure homes with Aluminum Wiring.
How do I repair the aluminum wiring in my home?
If there’s anything you take away from this article it’s this, a licensed electrical contractor -an electrical company that is knowledgeable with working with aluminum wiring – should perform any electrical repairs.
The most common method used for treating aluminum wiring is by bridging new copper pigtail wires between the existing aluminum wire with the electrical devices. The pigtail connection is made by attaching a small piece of copper wire – pigtail- to the device and then joining the copper wire to the existing aluminum wire.
Some other options include replacing all the receptacles and switches in the home with ones that are rated for aluminum wiring, or by replacing wire connectors with ones that are rated for aluminum.
Typical all insurance companies will ask for a document form a certified maser electrician stating that he has inspected all of the connections and they are safe.
Myths and Facts about Aluminum Wiring
Myth: Aluminum wiring was recalled because it is known to be a fire hazard.
Fact: Aluminum wiring itself is safe if proper connections and terminations are made, without damaging the wire, and any devices used are approved for use with aluminum wire.
Myth: Aluminum wiring is no longer used for interior wiring systems.
Fact: The Ontario Electrical Safety Code (the Code) permits the installation of aluminum wiring. It may still be used today for interior wiring systems in residential homes, as well as other structures such as large commercial and industrial feeders. Electrical distribution companies use it widely throughout their distribution systems as well, including the supply service cable to most residences.
Aluminum wiring can be used as long as proper connections and terminations are made in accordance with the Code and the manufacturer’s instructions.
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