Aluminum Wiring – Is It Time For An Upgrade?
If you want to learn more about aluminum wiring, look back to the 1960s. The price of copper increased hugely during this time, forcing contractors to look for ways to save money on new home construction. Aluminum began replacing copper as the primary electrical wiring material, substantially lowering construction costs for new homes. The problem was that despite the lower costs, aluminum wiring proved to be unsafe — leading to a higher risk of residential fires. There are still some homes built during this time period still wired with aluminum. So if you own an older home, your wiring system may not be safe enough to accommodate the increased power from your modern appliances and electronics. It is important to have these wiring systems replaced as early as possible.
Understanding The Dangers of Aluminum Wiring
If your home’s electrical system is outdated, the risk of a residential fire is high. In addition, the cost of maintaining an electrical system with aluminum wiring can rise significantly from poor energy efficiency and the cost frequent repairs. Aluminum wiring also decreases property value and can cause difficulty selling your home. Here are some of the top reasons aluminum wiring is deemed unsafe for residential dwellings:
- Aluminum wiring is softer and more malleable than copper wiring, so it can be damaged much more easily easily.
- Aluminum breaks down faster when twisted or bent, reducing its conductivity. When wiring loses conductivity, heat builds up quickly and poses the risk of fire.
- Aluminum wiring expands when it is heated. Connections to outlets, lamps or electronic devices become loose and unstable over time.
- Unlike copper wiring, aluminum wiring is more susceptible to rust. This can destabilize connections, increase the risk of fires and cause the need for extensive repairs of the wiring system.
Although it is widely thought that aluminum wiring is no longer used, it is still permitted in residential homes. When you are looking for homeowners insurance, you may have a hard time if you have aluminum wiring in your home. Some companies refuse to insure homes that have this type of electrical system, while others will charge you much higher premiums for insuring your property.
Signs Your Aluminum Wiring is Malfunctioning
If your lights flicker all the time, this could mean that the connections to your outlets are getting loose from the constant heating and expanding of your aluminum wiring. If someone is walking on the second floor and your dining room light starts to flicker, it is time to get your electrical wiring system updated immediately. Check the cover plates on the outlets around your house. If any of the plates feel warm to the touch, have become discolored or have even melted in places, then your wiring is unsafe. Electrical outlets should never be warm to the touch. If left ignored, the outlet will eventually get so hot that it will either begin to melt the cords plugged into it or completely ignite. Or both!
Avoid the cost of extensive repairs and protect your home from fire hazards by upgrading your system and getting it up to code.
Call Ryan Gath Electric For Re-Wiring
Even if your home was built after the 1960s, it is still important to have your system inspected by a local electrician to ensure that there are no obvious and immediate hazards. You should have a good idea of what material and structure your wiring system is made of, how old it is and if it is in poor condition that requires an update. Procrastinating a rewire until the system fails entirely will only cost more in the long run, as the risk of fire only increases as your system gets old. Getting your electrical system inspected updated by a professional will ensure that your electrical system is working safely and efficiently, and can continue to accommodate the use of any modern appliances and electronics.
Call Ryan Gath Electric today to request a FREE estimate for an aluminum wiring upgrade in your MA, NH or ME home or business. Our professionally trained, master-level technicians have the expertise and the experience to provide you the very best service, no matter the job. We’ve been the top local residential and commercial electricians for over a decade, PLUS we offer same-day service when available. Call today!