Aluminum wiring is significantly different from copper wiring. Unfortunately, the differences are generally negative. This leads to various questions regarding aluminum wiring as a whole. Is aluminum wiring safe to keep in houses? Is it up to code on a residential property? Will it cause a fire? We have created an outline on aluminum wires to explore these questions and provide the answers you need. Our goal is to help you understand the risks posed by aluminum wiring and understand how to deal with it moving forward.
Is Aluminum Wiring Dangerous?
Aluminum wiring has the potential to work completely fine. Plenty of houses have had aluminum wiring for years and have never experienced problems as a result. However, aluminum wiring does have the potential to be dangerous. A homeowner can go years without a problem only to have one pop up when they least expect it.
Unfortunately, aluminum wiring should be replaced because it can present serious problems. Aluminum wires have the potential to overheat to the point where they can start fires. As a result, it’s essential to treat any situation involving aluminum wires with caution.
What Is Wrong with Aluminum Wiring?
Aluminum wiring functions similar to copper wiring in that they both transmit electricity. A key difference is the cost of materials. Aluminum is significantly cheaper than copper, making aluminum wire more cost-effective than copper wire. As a result, many construction companies have historically opted for aluminum wiring over copper wiring in building construction. While this was common in the past, it’s much less common now.
This is due to the danger that aluminum wiring presents. Aluminum wiring heats up and expands during use. While copper wire also does this, aluminum wiring does it to a more significant extent. When the wire cools back down after being heated, it contracts. This constant shift between expansion and contraction causes the aluminum wiring to degrade over time.
The constant movement can cause the wire to loosen from the screws holding it in place, which can create a dangerous connection. Meanwhile, the degradation of the wire causes it to become more unstable. Both issues lead to overheating, which can cause a fire in your house.
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What Does Aluminum Wiring Look Like?
Due to the danger presented by aluminum wiring, most people want to know what it looks like to know whether they have it in their house.
At first glance, aluminum wiring does not look much different from other types of wires. By simply looking at a bundle of wires, it may be impossible to tell the difference between a copper wire and an aluminum wire. However, aluminum wiring is usually labeled to indicate its materials.
When examining a potential aluminum wire, look for labels that say:
If any of these are present on a wire, it’s made of aluminum. When no labels are present, it would be difficult to safely check whether the wire is aluminum. The best way to find the answer you need is to call a licensed electrician to inspect the wiring in your home. A skilled technician can help you replace outdated wires, perform a lighting installation, or resolve other types of electrical issues in your living space.
Why Is Aluminum Wiring Dangerous?
Aluminum wiring is dangerous because it’s a fire hazard. Over time, it can reach a point where it heats up so much that it causes a fire. As a result, homes with aluminum wiring need special attention to minimize the risk that aluminum presents.
These homes should be inspected by a company that provides reliable electrical services to identify any issues. A professional electrician can detect whether there are any problems with the wire currently or if it’s fine for the time being.
However, these inspections should happen regularly. Aluminum wiring degrades over time. While it may be fine during one inspection, it may start to degrade from that point forward. Failing to seek routine inspections can cause this problem to be overlooked, which creates a hazard.
The safest solution is replacing the aluminum wiring altogether. Many homeowners choose to go this route rather than deal with constant inspections and continuous risk. Replacing dangerous aluminum wire with safe copper wire significantly reduces the risk of problems occurring with your wiring.
Some homeowners choose to make replacing aluminum wiring part of an entire electrical system revamp. This may include installing new outlets, new light fixtures, electrical panel replacement, and anything else the home needs. In this case, help from a professional electrician is a must.
Electrical Repair and Installation Services
Working with an electrician is the best way to deal with aluminum wiring issues in your home. An electrician can inspect the aluminum wiring to ensure it’s safe and manage the process of replacing the wiring to make the entire house even safer.
Our team of local electricians in Philadelphia, PA offer comprehensive wiring installation services for homeowners. In addition, we offer a variety of other electrical services including electric vehicle (EV) charger installation, whole-house generator replacement, electrical outlet installation, ceiling fan repair, and light fixture replacement.
We provide our comprehensive wiring services throughout the week and are available 24/7 to respond to emergencies. Give our certified electricians a call at (484) 206-8594 to receive assistance with damaged wiring or other electrical hazards in your house. We will be there for you no matter what.