Is Having An Aluminum Wiring Safe?

Aluminum Wire Replacement | Zoom Electricians

The aluminum wiring used in homes during the 1960s and 1970s is considered a significant fire risk. Problems with installation, outlet connections, and metal caused wiring to degrade and fail over time. If you have aluminum wiring in your home, you should repair or replace it immediately. Many 1960s and 1970s homes still have their original wiring. Unfortunately, the residential aluminum wiring installed during this period had several flaws.

According to the United States According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, homes with aluminum wiring are 55 times more likely to experience “fire hazard conditions,” such as hot receptacles, electrical sparks, and charred materials. Replacing your home’s electrical wiring is a major undertaking that you should not be undertaken alone. Instead, reach out to Zoom Electricians. Our licensed technicians have the necessary training, experience, and tools to complete whole-home aluminum wire replacement quickly and efficiently.

As the connections among aluminum wires worsen, their connections to outlets and switches become a fire hazard. As electrical resistance builds up inside the wire, resistance points become hotter and hotter. The connection point may eventually become dangerous enough to ignite the surrounding material. Electricity in the wire may even arc in some cases as it attempts to contact the connected device.

In load temperature changes, aluminum expands and contracts far more than copper, which can cause connections to come loose or expose bare wires. Prolonged exposure can cause wires to corrode and oxidize and overheat where they connect to outlets, light fixtures, or splices.

Aside from the expansion, loosening, and oxidation issues, aluminum wires become less malleable and more prone to breaks, frayed edges, and fire risk over time. Furthermore, these issues begin to reinforce one another in a vicious cycle:

  • The expansion and loosening cause the connections to deteriorate, increasing the fire risk.
  • The higher the resistance in the wire, the hotter it becomes.
  • The wire expands more as it heats up.
  • The connections deteriorate as the wire expands.

The best way to avoid aluminum wiring fire hazards is to replace it. Hiring the experts at Zoom Electricians is the best way to replace your wiring. We can install safe wiring that will remain safe for many years. Zoom Electricians is the place to call whenever you need an inspection, repairs, whole-home rewiring, or electrical questions, especially about your aluminum wires.

That is not to say that all aluminum wiring is hazardous. Aluminum wires with large diameters are safe for commercial use and even in some airplanes. However, when it’s incorporated into an older home’s electrical system, it’s worth a closer look, so here are some frequently asked questions about aluminum wiring that can help:


What Are The Cons of Using Aluminum Wiring?

Aluminum Wire Replacement and Repair | Zoom Electricians

Despite copper’s success in most wiring applications, aluminum is still used in a few, and you must understand the reasons for its expiration. The disadvantages of aluminum are detailed below.

  1. Certain fire hazards are associated with aluminum. Aluminum wiring poses a fire risk if it is installed incorrectly or corrodes.
  2. Insurance companies are hesitant to provide coverage if you have aluminum wiring. Even if a particular company agrees to provide insurance, it will charge a hefty premium.
  3. Aluminum wiring requires specialized parts such as lugs, screws, and other terminal components, all of which must pass compatibility tests.
  4. Aluminum wiring requires more replacement than copper wiring due to wear and tear.
  5. Only an expert electrician can troubleshoot aluminum wiring.

Are special outlets required for aluminum wiring?

  • It is unnecessary to have a special aluminum outlet; however, when purchasing replacement electrical outlets for aluminum wiring, ensure they are all compatible. Receptacles approved for aluminum wiring are typically stamped CO/ALR, CU-AL, or AL-CU. Aluminum wire is not rated in more modern “decora” switches and outlets. Do not use outlets with the letters AL and a line through them. These receptacles do not work with aluminum wiring.

Which is Superior: Aluminum or Copper Wiring?

Copper and aluminum are two of the most common materials used in home wiring. Here’s the distinction between the two:

  • Aluminum wire – is generally easier to work with than copper wire because it is lighter and more malleable, making it an ideal wiring material for long distances. Likewise, it is significantly less expensive than copper, so much so that you will typically get half the amount of copper wire for the same price as aluminum. The disadvantage of aluminum wiring is that it is prone to corrosion and thus cannot match the lifespan of copper wire. Similarly, its softness makes it susceptible to breakage and loss of connections.
  • Copper wire – is the most common choice for many wiring applications, owing to its durability and high conductivity. However, it is not without flaws. Aside from being more expensive, it is also heavier, which necessitates the construction of more structural support. As a result, you will have to make a larger investment. Copper is highly recommended for home use, primarily because the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. Check your electrical system with a certified electrician to see if you have any aluminum wiring that needs to be replaced with copper to ensure years of trouble-free connections.

Why Isn’t Aluminum Used in Electrical Wiring?

  • Because of certain properties inherent in aluminum, it degrades faster than copper. Loose connections in aluminum-wired outlets, switches, and light fixtures are becoming increasingly dangerous. It has a higher resistance than copper, and poor connections cause the wiring to overheat, potentially resulting in a fire. When aluminum is compared to copper, copper has higher electrical conductivity and lower resistance than aluminum, which is why it is used for electrical wiring. Outdoor overhead cables are made of aluminum reinforced with steel.

Is Pigtail Aluminum Wiring Safe?

  • Pigtailing aluminum wiring is safe as long as proper terminals and connections are made without damaging the wire and materials used by the Electrical Code. When installed by a professional electrician, aluminum wiring pigtails will make your home safer. Keeping connections safe and performing their proper functions necessitates expertise and meticulous attention to detail.

Remember that you must work with a fully qualified, competent, and skilled electrician familiar with the special care and concern required for aluminum wiring. If you have further questions, feel free to get in touch with Zoom Electricians’ experts.

Before attempting any work on your own, always seek the advice of a professional electrician. Contact Zoom Electricians today if you have any questions or concerns about aluminum wiring at home.

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