What Your Electrician in North Scottsdale, AZ Wants You to Know About Residential Aluminum Wiring

September 13, 2017 10:45 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

If you have ever purchased a home, or at least gotten as far as an accepted offer, then you are familiar with needing a home inspection done. Your loan company will factor in the results of the inspection with all other determinants to help them decide if and how much they are willing to let you borrow.

Checking for aluminum wiring is a part of the inspection—and you don’t want the house to have aluminum wires. In many cases, however, as long as the rest of the property is up to legal par, the loan company will revisit once the current homeowners have updated the aluminum wires to copper.

Home wiring is not something that’s out there for the eyes to see, which can make it difficult to know if you indeed have aluminum wires. So, let’s take a look at the things your electrician in North Scottsdale, AZ wants you to know about residential aluminum wiring.

There are many things in your home that require power. Because of this need, houses are equipped with branch circuits that power smaller fixtures like lights and standard electrical outlets and appliances like garbage disposals and dishwashers. In the mid-1960s and 1970s, it was typical to use aluminum wiring as branch circuits.

Here are some important facts about aluminum wiring to keep in mind:

  • Unless you are an experienced electrician, never attempt to replace aluminum wiring in your home. The risk of injury is too high.
  • Estimates show that two million homes, if not more, are still wired with unsafe aluminum wiring.
  • While the problem may not be solely with the wires themselves, you’ll find it in the connection points and splices at electric panels, power outlets and switches.
  • Homes wired with aluminum are more than 50 times more likely than those with copper wiring to have at least one wire connection at an outlet posing a very real fire hazard threat.

Aluminum wiring is no longer in use for a number of reasons. Here are some of the problems associated with it:

  • Aluminum is soft: Every time you tighten the set screw on a switch or outlet, the action causes the aluminum wires to flatten. The connection will come loose and cause arcing, which can lead to fires.
  • Movement due to temperature change: Like most things, aluminum will move with temperature. A wire with an electrical current flowing through heats up, and then expands. The problem is that aluminum expands more than copper; therefore, constant expansion and contraction can loosen connections, again leading to arcing and fires.
  • Oxidation and corrosion: Aluminum wires exposed to oxygen will oxidize, creating a byproduct called aluminum oxide. This can deteriorate connections. Corrosion occurs when moisture is present; there will be galvanic corrosion at the connections.

In order to bring a house up to current safety standards, it needs to be rewired with new copper wiring. For a wiring inspection or aluminum wiring replacement or rejuvenation, call us at Eavenson Electric Co. We will get a professional electrician in North Scottsdale, AZ out to your home to check things out. Contact us today!

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