Is Albuquerque Home Aluminum Wiring Dangerous and If it is What Should You do About It?
If your Albuquerque home has aluminum wiring, an inspector has probably already pointed it to you. You may doubt if you need to get it fixed, as with many other peculiarities and aspects of your house. Unfortunately, there aren’t many obvious symptoms of impending failure with aluminum-wired connections. It has been reported that connections and splices made with aluminum wiring fail and overheat for no apparent reason. In this piece, we’ll go into the history of aluminum wiring and whether it’s safe for residential use.
Your home may need to be rewired if the initials “AL” appear on the panel jacket. The National Fire Protection Association estimates that half of all house fires are caused by electrical problems. As the price of copper skyrocketed from 1965 to 1973, aluminum wiring was widely used as a cheaper alternative.
After ten years of widespread adoption, the shortcomings of aluminum wiring were exposed:
Defects appear in aluminum much more quickly than in copper.
Aluminum wire can provide a fire hazard if the connections in your switches, outlets and light fixtures are ever neglected. This overheating of the wiring directly results from the sloppy connections and poses a fire risk.
Homes with aluminum wiring may not be insured.
Homes connected with aluminum wire produced before 1972 [‘old technology’ aluminum wire] are 55 times more likely to have one or more connections achieve “Fire Hazard Conditions” than a home wired with copper, as stated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
Wherein Lies the Problem with Aluminum Wiring?
When compared to copper, aluminum is a softer metal and can easily be crimped, nicked, or pinched. Overheating can occur if this kind of damage creates hot patches.
Aluminum loses some of its conductivity as it oxidizes. This causes electrical issues when plugging in appliances and fixtures. Copper does not undergo this change throughout its oxidation process and retains its electrical conductivity.
Aluminum wires expand gradually as they heat up from an electrical current. In the absence of current, the wire will cool and compress. There may be loose connections due to continual expansion and contraction. Arcing can occur if the wiring is too far from the point of contact. In a nutshell, arcing is a fire hazard.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, about two million houses and mobile homes have been built using aluminum wire since 1965. Resale homes built between 1965 and 1972 likely feature aluminum wiring, so be aware of this if you’re looking at these properties.
Aluminum Wiring: A Temporary Fix
When repairing aluminum wiring, pig-tailing is a typical practice. The negative effects of aluminum connections to fixtures can be reduced if an electrician attaches a short length of copper wire to the end of the aluminum wire. Your electrician should be consulted regarding pig tailing.
Recommendations for Those Who Discover Aluminum Wiring in Their House
The CPSC advises the following approaches for dealing with copper wiring.
Copper wiring should be used for the rewiring. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) recommends COPALUM connections, specialized connectors placed by a certified electrician, as the best way to permanently fix aluminum wiring in a home short of rewiring the entire home with copper. The COPALUM technique of repair is the priciest alternative, but it removes all potential sites of failure when connecting fixtures. This is a variation on the pigtail fix. A specific crimping tool is used to apply this connector, and the connection is made under very high pressure.
Dial the number for Add On Electric at 505-804-953
Just because you have aluminum wiring in your home does not mean you have to have all of it updated. However, it’s wise — and sometimes necessary — to have your house pass an inspection. Add On Electric is happy to assist those who have found this page after searching online for “electrician near me” or “Albuquerque electricians.” We’re experts when it comes to rewiring residential properties. Give us a call at 505-804-9534