If your house has aluminum wiring, you are not alone. Majority of the homes built in the 60s and 70s are wired with aluminum, due to a shortage of copper at the time that pushed builders to find a cheaper alternative. Although aluminum was a cheaper option and appeared to be safe, many concerns began to arise for homeowners as it became apparent that the wiring was creating fire hazard conditions for homes.
Aluminum wiring’s high risk for electrical fires can be attributed to a handful of reasons. First of all, the wires tend to expand and contract as electricity flows, which can lead to loose connections. This can eventually create space in-between the wire and fixture, causing electrical arcing, which can lead to fires if near flammable materials. Aluminum is also weaker and softer in comparison to copper, therefore potential hot spots can arise in circumstances where wires are pinched or damaged, leading to a potential fire hazard.
Now, what do you do if your home does have aluminum wiring? First of all, we do not recommend you ignore the situation and do nothing. Aluminum wiring is a dangerous element in homes that needs attention and awareness. We first recommend you contact a local electrician for an inspection to figure out how you can create a safe and anxiety-free living environment, whether with or without aluminum wiring.
If your home’s wiring appears concerning to an electrician, there are two different routes you can take. The first is pig tailing, which is an extremely common method when repairing aluminum wiring. Rather than rewiring the entire property, pig tailing adds small copper wires to the ends of the current aluminum wires. This can fix the potential problem of overheating that can arise from weak connections. The other option is rewiring your property with copper wiring, which includes switching all outlets and switches. This is far more work and more expensive, however it is the best and smartest option to keep your home safe.
Overall, aluminum wiring can be a dangerous fire hazard for your home that you do not want to ignore. To keep you, your family, and your home safe, it is important to contact an electrician to find the solution that is right for your home. Since 2003, our team of experts at AJ’s Electrical Service & Repair have been assisting customers throughout the Lower Mainland with their electrical needs. Contact us today to find a solution for your aluminum wiring!