Aluminum Wiring Replacement
If you live in a home that was built during the 1960s or ’70s, then it is likely the electrical wiring in your home is made of aluminum wire and not copper wires that are found in modern buildings. Aluminum was used during those periods due to the shortage of copper as a result of the Vietnam War. Many homes wired with aluminum pose a multitude of fire and safety issues that most homeowners and residents may not be aware of and as a result of this, replacing it becomes necessary.
Risks of Aluminum Wiring
From research, it was suggested that homes with aluminum wiring have a greater than half (55%) chance of having electrical fire hazards when compared to homes with copper conductors. Though according to experts, the aluminum wires passing through your walls would not cause any harm, the major problems lie with the points of connection.
This is because aluminum is not as ductile as copper, and it contracts and expands more during cooling and heating. When there are continuous contraction and expansion, this could lead to the loosening of fasteners and result in overheating of the connection point. Another issue with aluminum wiring is that it oxidises easily, and thus, its conductivity is reduced. The fact of the matter is that aluminum wire was designed for power transmission and not for the circuitry of the branch. When aluminum alloy wire is used for power transmission, it poses no safety hazard. However, when homes are wired with it, every connection made to a switch, junction box and outlet pose a fire and safety risk
Aluminum wire becomes brittle easily and breaks if the wire is bent back and forth a few times. Therefore, if your house has aluminum wiring, the best option is to call an experienced electrician to help replace it so as to avoid electric shocks and fire hazards.
Signs You Need Aluminum Wiring Replacement
As explained before, aluminum electrical wiring is safe, except at the connection points; however, it may need to be replaced by an experienced electrician if you observe flickering lights, notice a burning smell which could very well lead to a fire and if the face plates are warm to the touch. Also, if it is noticed that any of the electrical equipment in the house is not working properly, a licensed electrical professional should be summoned to come and inspect the wiring.
If aluminum wiring is giving you trouble, then there are two possible solutions for the problem. The first one being the replacement of the complete home wiring if you have the means; secondly, you could avail a copper connector between the existing aluminum wire and device or the electrical outlet. It is worth noting that the tasks should only be handled by an experienced and certified professional electrician. Getting your wiring evaluated and done by an expert electrician help to make it safe and secure.