December 03, 2021
If you live in an older home built in the 1960s and 1970s, you probably have aluminum wiring in your property. Unfortunately, aluminum wiring can be a serious fire hazard in certain situations. Many people with aluminum wiring in their homes are not even aware they have it because they do not know how to identify aluminum wiring.
In this article, we will explore all you need to know about aluminum wiring in a house and what you should do about it.
Why Do Homes Have Aluminum Wiring?
Between 1965 and 1972, home builders wired new homes with aluminum wires due to a copper shortage resulting from heavy use of copper in the Vietnam war. During this period, copper prices were high and builders had to find a lower-cost alternative. However, it was later discovered that aluminum wiring came with dangerous downsides, and the practice was discontinued. But many homes built in the mid-1960s and 70s still use aluminum wiring.
Is Aluminum Wiring Dangerous?
Aluminum wiring expands more when heated and contracts when it cools off. This constant expansion and contraction can loosen connections, resulting in electrical arcing. Another problem with aluminum wiring is oxidation. When aluminum oxidizes, the layer that forms on aluminum wiring restricts the flow of electricity and may cause overheating. In addition, aluminum is prone to breaking or warping over time, which can cause connection failures and electrical problems. When you compare aluminum wiring and copper wiring, the latter is a more suitable option.
How to Identify Aluminum Wiring
If your home was built between 1965 and 1972, you probably have aluminum wiring. You can tell if you have aluminum wiring in your home by looking for the markings on the plastic sheath on the exposed cables running through various parts of your home. AL or Aluminum will be written on the cables, indicating aluminum wire. Although aluminum electric cables are insulated, you should never touch the wiring when trying to find these markings. It's advisable to call an electrician to inspect your electrical wiring and identify the type of wiring in your property.
Benefits of Replacing Aluminum Wiring
If your home still has aluminum electrical wiring, it should be replaced with copper wiring to ensure more reliable electrical connections and decrease the risk of electrical fires. Copper wiring provides better electrical conductivity, it’s more durable, and more corrosion-resistant compared to aluminum wiring. Replacing aluminum wiring also helps to improve the value of your home. If you’re ready to replace aluminum wiring in your home, get in touch with knowledgeable and experienced electricians to help you out.
Just like any other electrical work, electrical wiring can be dangerous. This is a job that must be left to experienced electricians who know what they're doing. At Beall Electrical Service, we have a team of experienced electricians, and we're equipped with all the tools we need to get the job done.