Due to its inherent hazards and related concerns, most experts don’t recommend using aluminum wiring. Many contractors even suggest replacing aluminum wiring with copper wires. This guide delves into the background of aluminum wire, the risks it poses, and tips for replacement.
History of Aluminum Wiring in Homes
Due to its lower cost compared to copper, aluminum wire became more common in the 1960s and 1970s. It was the material of choice for household electrical wiring at the time. Over the years, however, the problems and dangers of aluminum wire became more obvious. Because of its better safety properties, copper wire is now either recommended or required by modern electrical regulations and standards for usage in residential construction.
Fire Hazard Danger
Fire hazards are one of the main hazards of aluminum wiring. This is because, in comparison to copper, aluminum’s thermal expansion coefficient is larger, making the former more delicate to overheating. Points of high resistance may form when connections become loose due to the metal’s expansion and contraction properties as temperature changes. Because of the heat they produce, these high-resistance connections greatly increase the risk of fire in a house.
Oxidation and Corrosion Danger
When exposed to oxygen, aluminum may oxidize and develop a surface coating of aluminum oxide. The wire system’s resistance can rise if this oxide layer prevents electricity from flowing freely. Corrosion and oxidation weaken aluminum wire over time, which may lead to faulty electrical connections and even safety risks.
Expansion and Contraction Danger
When temperatures rise and fall, aluminum wire expands and contracts, which may cause connections to loosen over time. As a consequence of this motion, arcing and sparking can occur at connection sites. This increases the fire risk of aluminum wire. Increased resistance, which generates more heat, is another dangerous consequence of loose connections in the electrical system.
Some gadgets and devices only work with copper wiring. This is why homes with aluminum wiring should carefully consider compatibility issues when making repairs or upgrades. Many homeowners find it better to replace the aluminum wires with copper wiring.
Difficulty in Repairs
Because of its unique properties, repairing aluminum wire is no easy task. In fact, it’s easy to damage aluminum wiring during repairs because it’s softer than copper. Fixing problems with wiring typically calls for specialized tools and methods. Homeowners who try to fix aluminum wiring on their own may run into problems, including serious injury. This is why you should always leave electrical wiring repairs in the hands of a professional.
It can be difficult to get homeowners insurance for houses that use aluminum wiring. Insurance companies usually raise rates or even reject policies altogether if they determine that aluminum wire poses a fire risk. Homeowners in Forest Lake should be aware of these insurance issues. They should also think about fixing their aluminum wiring if they want to ensure coverage and reduce hazards.
Diminished Resale Value
Aluminum wiring may greatly affect a home’s marketability and resale value. Potential purchasers might be wary of purchasing a home with aluminum wiring because of the risks involved. In order to increase their house’s marketability and safeguard its worth, homeowners in Forest Lake should think about replacing aluminum wires with copper wiring.
Upgrading Your Home’s Wiring
The most common and widely recommended fix is to switch out aluminum wires for copper. Replacing them may seem like a lot of money upfront, but the advantages to your safety, your insurance, and your home value far outweigh the financial cost. Homeowners should always hire professional electricians to evaluate the current wiring system before moving forward with a replacement. The electricians can check the state of the aluminum wire, pinpoint any dangers, and perform the upgrade. A complete or partial replacement may be necessary, along with the installation of safety precautions. Professional electricians can make sure there are no fire concerns by using specialist connectors like AlumiConn or COPALUM crimps. To further improve safety, they may apply antioxidant chemicals to aluminum wires.
Plugz Electric provides aluminum wiring replacement as well as several other electrical services throughout Forest Lake. Whether your home needs new outlets installed, surge protection, or an indoor lighting installation, we’re here to help. Give us a call today to learn more about upgrading your home’s electrical wiring.