Over the years, new technology and new research has vastly improved the safety and efficiency of electricity in homes. One of these technologies is the type of wire that we use to power your home. Since the mid-60s, aluminum wire has become a popular choice, but special considerations need to be made in its use nowadays.
What is Aluminum Wiring?
During the 60s and 70s, the price of copper wiring went through the roof. Most homeowners couldn’t afford to shell out the extra cash to have their new houses set up with copper. The alternative was a less expensive conductor: aluminum. Although the quality of aluminum wasn’t quite as high as copper, its price point was an attractive selling feature. In order to increase conductivity, manufacturers sold aluminum wire that was slightly thicker than its copper counterparts. This was intended to make up the difference, as it were.
What Issues Are Related to Aluminum Wiring?
Most homes built during that time period were wired with aluminum wiring. Many of the homeowners discovered, however, some disconcerting side effects. Flickering lights, warm cover plates, and burned insulation on the wiring caused a lot of concern. A little bit of digging revealed that the main danger was in the connections. Aluminum wiring would expand three times more than copper wiring, creating a lot of heat in a small space. It was a fire hazard just waiting in the walls.
How Can Those Issues Be Overcome?
Further research determined that if the problem was at the connection points, then special connectors needed to be made in order to offset the expansion. Aluminum wiring and the receptacles are still in use today. As a general rule, keep an eye out for anything marked with AL-CU or CU-AL. Since aluminum wiring is a reality for many homeowners with older homes, it is important to maintain regular inspections to ensure that everything is running smoothly.
If you own a home from the 60s or 70s, there is a good chance that it has been wired with aluminum. In these cases, it’s important not to risk DIY maintenance. Bring in the professionals so that we can keep your home to standard, and your family safe.