Did you know that aluminum wiring, once a popular solution during the 1970’s is actually no long permitted? New installations, in most places by law, cannot consist of aluminum wiring. This regulation was put in place after the wiring was named as the cause of numerous house fires. However, if you have aluminum wiring in your home, there is some good news. The wiring can actually be a safe solution provided it was installed correctly. Incorrect installation is what is said to be the cause of the danger associated with this wiring. With a proper aluminum wiring inspection, you can avoid these dangers.
How is aluminum wiring different from copper wiring? When aluminum wiring heats up as it’s being used, it actually expands. As the wiring cools, it begins to contract again. This is where the main difference exists between aluminum and copper wiring. After the wiring continually expands and contracts, it starts to become looser. The “cold creep, as it often called, does not happen with copper wiring. Another unique characteristic to aluminum wiring is the tendency to oxidize. This oxidation occurs when the aluminum comes in contact with other certain metals. Once the aluminum starts to oxidize, it must work harder in order to produce the same amount of electricity. This causes the wiring to become hotter than when it was originally installed and this can even speed up the oxidation process. When aluminum oxidizes it heats up more to conduct the same amount of electricity, which then causes more oxidation. If the wiring gets hot enough, it can melt the surfaces it is attached to, and that is where the danger of fire occurs.
Since most of the wiring in your home is behind your walls and fixtures, you might not realize that you have this wiring. If you’re looking to purchase a home with aluminum wiring, or have just found sections of the wiring in your current home, it’s vital to have an inspector or licensed electrician to examine to wiring for safety.