In this post, we’ll look at answering some of the most common FAQ about aluminum wiring in houses.
History of Aluminum Wiring.
Historically, aluminum wiring, which is lighter than copper, was also thought to conduct electricity better than copper. Aluminum wiring in houses has been around since the late 1800s. Even today, most utility companies still utilize aluminum wiring for their power grids.
When was aluminum wiring used?
With copper prices reaching an all-time high during the 1960s to mid-1970s, many residential developers switched over installing aluminum wiring in new residential home construction.
Is aluminum wiring safe?
This is one of the most common questions we get asked. The answer is yes. Overall, when installed properly, aluminum wiring in houses is safe and can still be used.
However, even though there have been no recalls, there are a number of issues with aluminum wiring that we should discuss including:
- Easily Damaged – Aluminum wiring is a lot softer than copper so it can be damaged more easily.
- Rust Won’t Conduct Electricity – Copper rust will still conduct electricity, however, aluminum rust won’t conduct electricity as well.
- Cold Flow Wire Creep – When aluminum becomes stressed (such as overheating) the metal can become deformed or “creep,” which can cause loose connections.
- Affected by Improper Installation – The terminations on aluminum wiring must be installed correctly (terminations/ connections = light switches, fixtures, receptacles, panels). If improperly installed, overheating, loose connections, and other common aluminum wiring problems can arise over time.
How to identify aluminum wiring.
You can tell if you have aluminum wiring in your home if the wiring is marked with any of the following:
ALUMINUM, AL, ALUM ACM, AL ACM, ALUMINUM ACM.
In 1960 there were only about 40,000 single-family homes built annually across Canada. By 1974, that number had risen to nearly 160,000 annually. During that time, the Fraser Valley and the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) in British Columbia also had a lot of homes being built. As you might guess, aluminum wiring in houses in BC were quite common.
See our Knob and Tube Wiring FAQs if you have an older home with knob and tube wiring.
If you suspect your home has aluminum wiring, or if you know you have aluminum wiring and it is causing some issues, call our Abbotsford electricians at 604-308-6195.
About Premium Electric
Along with replacing aluminum wiring in houses we also do electrical panel upgrades. We guarantee and warranty all our residential electrical work, which will be completed with minimal household disruption.
You might also like the following related blog article Checking Electrical Wiring in Older Homes.