If your home was built between 1950 and the late 1970s, it might have aluminum wiring. Aluminum was a cheap and widely available alternative to copper wiring. Now, most electrical systems are comprised of copper wires, which are a much better conductor than aluminum. You can normally detect aluminum wiring from the letters AL or the word ALUMINUM on the cable.
What are the Dangers of Aluminum Wiring?
•Aluminum is extremely malleable, much more so than copper, making it easier to be nicked and dented by surrounding materials. Electricians working with aluminum wiring must take extra care to ensure that none of the wires are damaged upon installation.
•Aluminum can easily be oxidized, causing a white rust to appear. As a result, this interferes with the flow of electricity and can cause the receptacle to overheat. Aluminum wiring is around 55% more likely to catch fire than copper wiring systems.
•When heated, aluminum expands significantly, occasionally causing the wires to change shape at the terminal screws and become loose.
•As electrical current passes through a wire, it vibrates. This vibration is more extreme in aluminum than in copper, and can cause connections to loosen.
Signs Your Aluminum Wiring Needs Replacing
•Strange smells coming from outlets or receptacles
•Char marks around outlets or receptacles
•Flickering or dimming of lights
•Buzzing sounds when turning on a light
•A light shock when flicking a light switch
•Unusual static coming from the radio or television
•Circuit breakers tripping for unknown reasons
Tips for Proper Upkeep of Aluminum Wiring Systems
•To carry the same amount of electricity as copper wires, aluminum wiring needs to be thicker.
•Copper and aluminum wiring should never be connected except with special connectors, like a copper pigtail wire, and with oxidant paste.
•To ensure your electrical wiring system is in good health, regularly check receptacles and switches by removing cover plates.
•When purchasing new fixtures or outlets, ensure that they are compatible with an aluminum wiring system.
•The safest solution is to replace your aluminum wiring with a copper system. Get in touch with a local electrician to discuss which options are best for your home.
•Some insurance companies request aluminum wiring to be replaced with copper in a resale house. Before purchasing any home, check in with your insurance broker about the parameters of your coverage.
Today, aluminum wiring is still used occasionally. Despite its cost-effectiveness, it is recommended that, for the safety of you and your family, you consider switching to a copper wiring system.
For more information about the benefits of copper wiring, get in touch with the professional electricians at Gavin Electric today. We service all your residential, commercial, and emergency electrical needs in the greater Montreal area.