Safely Managing Aluminum Wire in Your Home

November 1, 2015 12:04 am Published by Leave your thoughts

For homeowners whose homes were built in the late 1960s and early 1970s, the problem of aluminum wiring is one that’s likely to present itself. At the time, aluminum was a cheaper alternative to copper wire, which was scarce and expensive. Unfortunately, the hazards associated with aluminum wire were not yet known, and it was only after problems began appearing that many areas started to prohibit the use of aluminum wire.

What’s the problem?

Aluminum wire isn’t inherently bad, but it does pose risks that homeowners would be wise to avoid. Basically, the way aluminum expands and contracts loosens the connection between the wire and the receptacle, such as a light switch, light fixture or electrical outlet. This, in turn, can increase the risk of electrical fires.

Not surprisingly, after making the connection between the occurrence of electrical fires and the presence of aluminum wire, insurance companies began to grow wary of aluminum wire and started refusing to insure homeowners unless they remedied the situation.

To replace or not to replace?

Upon hearing that aluminum wire may prevent them from getting homeowners’ insurance, homeowners are likely to assume that the only solution is to have all of their wiring replaced. However, take it from an electrician in North Scottsdale, AZ: this is unnecessary! Rather than incur a sizable expense—and one that doesn’t provide any substantial benefit over the alternative—it’s possible to put your insurance company at ease and reduce your risk by investing in pig-tailing.

Pig-tailing is a process that enables copper wire to be joined to aluminum wire, thereby converting dangerous aluminum wire into safer, less risky copper wire. This is accomplished by cutting and stripping the aluminum wire and attaching it to a white copper wire with its external sheathing removed by way of a connector. The process should then be repeated for the black wire. The white wire should be connected to the plug outlet, followed by the black wire, and then the ground wire should be connected to the outlet and the electrical box.

Once everything is back in place, you should have a functioning connection. Naturally, this process will need to be repeated for every outlet or connection in the house, which can be time-consuming and frustrating. After the pig-tailing project is complete, you’ll need to have your home inspected, at which point, assuming it passes inspection, your insurance company will need proof before insuring your home.

Call in a professional

When it comes to electrical work, even the most seasoned do-it-yourselfers may balk at trying to remedy a problem on their own, and this is no less true of dealing with aluminum wire than it is of smaller electrical issues. If you are pondering doing your own electrical work and have even the slightest misgivings about doing so, it’s time to contact an electrician in North Scottsdale, AZ. An experienced professional can complete the job more quickly and more safely, saving you time, stress and probably even some money in the long run.

Call Eavenson Electric Co today to learn more about what aluminum wiring might mean for your home, or to schedule an appointment for pig-tailing.

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