What are the risks associated with aluminum wire? And should you be concerned? Mr. Electric in Calgary answers the most common questions about aluminum wire and recommends what you should do if your home has aluminum wiring.
Is aluminum wiring common?
Aluminum wiring was used extensively between 1969 and 1976. At that time, the price of copper was incredibly high and aluminum was used as a cheaper substitute. However, aluminum is inferior to copper wire and carries with it far more risks. As a result, aluminum wire is no longer used today and hasn’t been for decades. Nonetheless, many homes across Calgary from the ’60s and ’70s still contain aluminum wire.
Is aluminum wiring dangerous?
It’s true that aluminum wire is more hazardous than its copper counterpart and can be dangerous. For one, it’s easier to damage during installation because it’s a softer wire. Aluminum also expands more when heated, thus losing its strength over time. This can then lead to loose connections that cause sparking and arcing.
However, the oxidation between the wires and outlets is the greatest risk associated with aluminum wiring. As these connectors oxide, the connection weakens. To make matters worse, aluminum oxide doesn’t conduct electricity like copper oxide. Instead, it overheats, becoming a serious fire hazard.
What should I do if my home has aluminum wiring?
Given the risks associated with aluminum wiring, wanting to replace it as soon as possible makes sense. After all, no one wants an electrical fire! Plus, many insurance companies refuse to insure homes with aluminum wiring. Unfortunately, replacing all of the aluminum wire in your home is very expensive. If you choose to have this done, you should expect to pay upwards of $10,000.
There is another way. A licensed electrician can modify your home’s existing aluminum wires through a process called pig tailing to make them safe.
What is pig tailing?
Pig tailing is when your electrician adds a short section of copper wire at the end of every aluminum wire. This copper section connects the aluminum wire to electrical outlets, fixtures, and light switches. Remember, copper is a stronger wire that doesn’t expand and contract like aluminum. It also doesn’t oxide, in the same way, making it a far safer option for these connectors. Because the connections are the at-risk areas, pig tailing reduces and eliminates that risk.
All electrical work is risky for the inexperienced and untrained. Pig tailing is no exception. If your home has aluminum wires that need remediation, you should exclusively hire highly experienced electricians in Calgary. They have the knowledge and expertise to install a safe and functional new connection. Furthermore, they can inspect your home’s electric system for additional problems and fix them immediately. All of their work will be done to code and meet your insurer’s requirements.
Aluminum Wire Remediation with Mr. Electric
Aluminum wiring can be dangerous if left unmodified. However, with the help of an experienced electrician like Mr. Electric, you can eliminate most of the risks of aluminum wire.
Mr. Electric offers a range of Calgary electrical repair services, including pig tailing. In addition, they will perform a full diagnostic of your home’s electrical system to ensure that everything is running safely and efficiently. Their priority is your safety. You can rely on Mr. Electric for professional workmanship and quality service.
Contact Mr. Electric today!