It was common to use aluminum prior to 1972. You might be questioning whether it is safe and whether you should replace it since the practice has gone out of use, though many older houses still have aluminum wiring. You may not even know your home has aluminum wires until after you move in in some cases. Today, we at Peterkin Electric would like to discuss aluminum use for electric wiring.
Hazards of Aluminum Wiring
With aluminum wire, there are two legitimate safety concerns.
1) When heated, aluminum expands more and contracts more when cold, which leads to cold creep. Leading to connections to become loose. This can result in short circuits and arcing, after each warming and cooling cycle, the metal loses tightness. Short circuits and arcing are the result.
2) When in contact with certain metals, including copper, aluminum tends to oxidize. Creating more oxidation, this causes the aluminum to heat. The wires to become hot enough to melt fixtures and possibly spark fires eventually.
Although it’s not true that it’s likely to burn at a moment’s notice, both of these mean that aluminum wiring carries with it an elevated fire hazard. More likely to have other issues that could cause a fire, damage your appliances, or raise your electricity bill come from another concern with aluminum wire is that it is easier to damage and less durable than copper.
Inspect Electrical Wires
It is unlikely that your aluminum wiring will cause a problem if your home is generally well maintained. Aluminum was used to save money in the first place, which many of the issues were caused by cheap initial installation. You should not panic if you discover your older house was wired with aluminum. Get an inspection to assess whether your wiring is in good condition and help you decide the next step forward. It’s prudent to get it checked, you absolutely should not be panicking or thinking your home is about to catch fire.
Can You Insure a House with Aluminum Wiring?
Homes with aluminum wiring may have higher premiums or may not be covered under some homeowners’ insurance companies. Before agreeing to cover, they may require you make some repairs. They may also insist on an inspection. Aluminum wiring will also lower the resale value of your home and you may even have issues finding a buyer. Increasing your utility bill, damaged aluminum wiring can also have higher resistance.
Can Aluminum Wiring Be Repaired?
Completely rewiring your home with copper is the absolute best way to fix your problem with aluminum wiring. This can be expensive and disruptive and may require a full renovation. It may be your only option if your wiring is in overall poor condition. It is vital to use proper connectors designed to splice copper and aluminum wire, or you will add to your oxidization problems if you do partial rewiring. It may be your only option if your wiring is in overall poor condition.
Electrical Wiring & More in Laguna Woods, Santa Ana, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Aliso Viejo, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Irvine, Lake Forest & Orange County, California
You can simply replace any connection points where the wire is exposed to air or other types of metals, or where it could become loose if your wiring is in better condition. By a qualified electrician who can tell you what needs to be done, you should have a full inspection. As sometimes homes may have devices designed for use with copper wiring attached to aluminum wiring, this may also involve replacing electrical boxes and switches. When you are rewiring your home in Orange County California, call Peterkin Electric to ensure they are done right.