Aluminum Wiring

Aluminum Wiring

Warning - If your home was built between 1965 and 1973, an electrical fire could be right around the corner!

From 1965 and 1973, aluminum wiring was sometimes substituted for copper branch circuit wiring in residential electrical systems. Back in those days there was a shortage of copper, and it was hard to get. So Electrical Contractors and homeowners started to install aluminum wiring.  It was close to ten years of installing aluminum wiring when it was discovered that aluminum wiring was not safe.

There are some cases where aluminum wiring can be safe. An example would be: aluminum wiring can be acceptable for outside services if properly maintained. However many jurisdictions will not allow any type aluminum wiring, no matter what the circumstances are.

Aluminum wire is more likely to become defective much quicker than copper due to certain qualities inherent in the metal itself. Neglected connections in outlets, switches and light fixtures containing aluminum wiring become increasingly dangerous over time. Poor connections cause wiring to overheat, creating a potential fire hazard and electrical shock.

Problems with aluminum wiring:

Aluminum wiring expands and contracts.  When current is going through the wire it heats up and expands.  When there is no current, it contracts.  After so many of these cycles, the connections at the devices and in the electrical panels will loosen over time, which can cause fires.

Aluminum also oxides or corrodes.  If it’s connected to another type of metal incorrectly, like copper for example, it can possibly cause a fire too. The National Electric Code requires that aluminum wire be connected together using special UL listed device, with an anti-oxidant compound.

Another problem we see a lot is when someone attaches copper wire to aluminum wire. This is dangerous and leads to fires.

Fixtures and devices must all be listed by UL listing authorities stating that it can be hooked up to Aluminum wiring.

Should I purchase a home with Aluminum wiring?

It’s very important to know all the facts before purchasing a home.  It’s our opinion that homes that have aluminum wiring should have a complete rewire due to the dangers associated with aluminum wiring.  At the very least, all fixtures should be checked, all receptacles and switches should be replaced in conjunction with UL listed splicing techniques.

It should be noted that most insurance agencies will not cover homes with aluminum wiring in Florida.

If you have any questions, whether your home or potential new home has aluminum wiring, or if your insurance company is going to drop you, then call the experts at In Charge Electric today at (352) 350-7878 or please request service from our contact page.

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