Aluminum Wiring

ALUMINUM WIRING

WHY IS ALUMINUM WIRING DANGEROUS?

The deterioration of aluminum wire, which happens as a result of it expanding and contracting more rapidly than copper wire, causes a resistance to electric currents. This can build up at switches, receptacles, splices and pigtails and can eventually cause overheating, while the electric current is flowing, leading to a potential fire hazard.

Aluminum wiring can be a serious fire hazard in your home, but Gentlemen Electric can help. 

ALUMINUM WIRING INDICATORS

Indicators that a home is wired with aluminum wiring include:

Your home was built between the mid 1960's-mid 1970's

Flickering Lights

Outlets or switches that are warm or hot to the touch

Light bulbs and appliances not lasting as long as they should

Unusual static on radios, televisions or computers

Circuit breakers tripping

Sizzling, crackling or a burning smell coming from outlets, switches, lights or the electrical panel

WHY ALUMINUM WIRING FAILS

Aluminum wiring is fine as a conductor, the issue is when contact is lost between the wires at the connection points due to:
ALUMINUM WIRE CREEP

Creep happens when aluminum conductors are subjected to a constant stress. The aluminum has a tendency to 'creep' or pull away away from the stressed area. This creeping will continue until the stress is equal to the ultimate strength of the aluminum itself.

When an aluminum conductor is wrapped around a screw terminal of a switch or receptacle, the aluminum has a tendency to creep away from the screw, causing high resistance in the circuit and increasing the chances of an arc.

 

ALUMINUM WIRE THERMAL EXPANSION
ALUMINUM WIRE OXIDIZATION
GALVANIC CORROSION

WHY IS ALUMINUM WIRING HAZARDOUS?

Decreased contact between conductors = Increased resistance in the flow of electricity. 

Increased resistance = Increased Temperatures at the connection and the Potential for Arcing.

HOW TO IDENTIFY ALUMINUM WIRING IN YOUR HOME

You will know your home has aluminum wiring if the cable jacket on the wire has “AL” or Aluminum written on it every few feet. You can find the cables in any unfinished area of your home.

If you are unable to locate the markings, try shining a flashlight on the wire at a low angle. If you are still concerned, or discover that you do indeed have aluminum wiring, contact Gentlemen Electric, and we will be pleased to help confirm you have the wiring and discuss what options are available to you.

ALUMINUM WIRING AND HOME INSURANCE

Most insurance companies are now increasing the premiums for homes that have aluminum wiring and require a detailed safety inspection to ensure that the wiring risk has been mitigated. Allowing Gentlemen Electric to provide you with our aluminum wiring solutions can save you money with your insurance provider.

WHAT ALUMINUM WIRING SOLUTIONS ARE AVAILABLE?

If you know your home is wired with aluminum, there are a number of solutions available to you listed here or simply book a free consultation with Gentlemen Electric to discuss options. 

If you are not sure, please give a call and we would be happy to assess your home.

Gentlemen Electric is an electrical contractor serving homes and businesses in Calgary, Okotoks, High River and the Foothills area.

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