Several houses built in and around Calgary from the mid 1960s through the mid 1970s were wired with aluminum branch wiring. Aluminum wire was used because it was a more affordable alternative to copper. While it is a great conductor and for the most part safe (if properly maintained and installed), there are circumstances than can be cause for concern. The issue is not the length of the wire itself but rather the connection point where it may deteriorate and potentially develop into a fire hazard.
Listed below are some of the reasons:
- Aluminum is a much softer metal than copper and much more prone to damage during installation.
- Aluminum wiring expands and contracts much more than copper when heated. This leads to loose connections (we call this creeping out). As the wire does not have a secure connection it can cause overheating and further expansion and contraction.
- All wires oxidize over time, however, aluminum oxidation unlike copper is a poor conductor thus creating a point of resistance and overheating.
- Incorrect receptacles or conductors are installed. Over the course of the years there are times when additional wiring maybe added and electrical outlets have been replaced in the home. If the outlets have been replaced with receptacles or switches that are not suited for aluminum wiring or connected to copper without appropriate measures in place, the wire can quickly deteriorate.
All of these scenarios can lead to arcing, melting, overheating which can potentially lead to a fire hazard.
Some indicators of existing aluminum wiring in houses may include flickering lights, smoke or sizzling sounds coming from a receptacle or switch, power loss throughout the entire house or even circuit breaker trips for no apparent reason.
Insurance for homes with Aluminum Wiring
If your homes does have aluminum branch wiring Insurances may request to have a certificate of inspection by a certified electrician before getting any coverage. The wiring needs to be inspected, repaired, and/or replaced as needed, and a copy of the certificate of Inspection is required to be given to the insurer.
When you hire a WestPro electrician, we can offer cost-effective methods to resolve any issues arising with aluminum wiring. We offer:
- Aluminum wiring inspection and evaluation
- Aluminum wiring repair
- Aluminum wiring replacement
- Aluminum wiring certificate of Inspection