Knowing the status of the electrical system in your home is very important. Some homes are very old and they do not have the safe copper wiring instead they have aluminum wiring which is very dangerous for the safety of family members. Aluminum wiring were popular and cheap in the 1950s to 1970s. So it’s possible that the houses constructed at that time still have the aluminum wiring. If you don’t know which kind of wiring you have in your home, call Electrician Everett to find it out.
The dangers of aluminum wiring:
Though aluminum wires are cheaper and have high conductivity, it has many dangers like
- Flickering lights due to the damaged or loose connections.
- Burnt outlets and switches due to overheating.
- Frequent sparking.
- Frequent breaker tripping.
- Burning smell from the outlets or switches.
- Outlets and switches feel warm when touched.
Why are aluminum wirings not suitable?
- Soft material- Aluminum is a soft material and therefore it is prone to quick wear and tear. When it is damaged it leaves the wires exposed, resulting in electric shocks.
- Conductivity- With the passing time, the aluminum wiring gets rusty and loses its conductivity. Aluminum oxide is formed due to the oxidation process which is an insulator. Aluminum oxide or rusty aluminum impedes the flow of current and results in electrical hazards. The white rust of aluminum doesn’t conduct electricity that well, on the other hand, the green rust of copper is conducive and doesn’t affect the current flow.
- Easy expansion and constriction
- Weather- During summer when heat is in full swing, the aluminum wires will expand more than the copper wires. Aluminum expands and contracts when it becomes hot and cool. These regular changes cause the loosening of the connection. Loose connections are prone to overheating and electrical fires. The repeated expansion and contraction of the aluminum wires makes the wires to creep out from the screws that keep it stable on its place. With this, the connection of the wires becomes loose even when the connectors are installed properly. So for the homes which have aluminum wiring summer is weather when special precautions are needed to be taken. It’s said that the homes having aluminum wiring are 55 times more prone to fire hazards.
- Heavy duty appliances- Hot weather is not the only reason for the expansion of the aluminum wires. Use of heavy duty appliances also generates heat which causes the expansion in the aluminum wires. The condition is even worse in the houses where both copper and aluminum wiring are used because both the materials expand and contract at a different rate causing ‘pig tailing’ and the loosening of the connection.
How to fix aluminum wire problems permanently?
- The wires can be looped around the screw in order to make the connections more secure.
- Electrical Joint compounds are used to prevent the rust in the aluminum wires. Joint compounds are used to prevent the connectors from corrosion and to keep the resistance to the current flow low.
- Completely replace the existing wiring with the copper wiring.
- Pigtail the ends of the aluminum wires with crimp connectors known as COPALUM.
- Alumiconn wire lug connector can also be used to connect the aluminum wire ends with copper.
Safety should be the topmost priority for any homeowner. Living in a home which is safe and secure gives a mental peace. It’s your choice if you want to live in a home which poses the risk of fire all the time or you want to be safe and free from all kind of electric worries.