Common Aluminum Wiring Problems in BC Homes

If not properly installed with the right conductors or receptacles, and if not properly used, aluminum wiring in BC can be a problem. This is particularly true in the branch circuits of a home — circuits that lead to your outlets, switches, and electrical appliances. Aluminum tends to oxidize and studies have shown that aluminum wiring makes it 55 times more probable that a fire hazard condition will be present.

As a result, in BC, aluminum wiring was banned for use in branch circuits of homes. Almost all insurance companies now require electrical safety inspections by licensed, professional electricians before an insurance policy sale or renewal in older homes where aluminum wiring is (or could be) present.

How to Identify Aluminum Wiring?

If you have safe access to wiring in your home, look for the word ALUMINUM or the acronyms AL ACM, ALUM ACM, AL or Alum on the wire itself.

If you experience any of the following they may also indicate you have aluminum wiring in your house:

  • Homes constructed between 1965 and 1973 are most likely to have aluminum wiring
  • Electrical outlets that spark or smoke
  • Some or all receptacles do not work
  • Static issues with computers, TVs, or radios
  • Circuit breakers trip for no apparent reason
  • Unusual odours around outlets and switches

Contact our certified, professional Abbotsford electricians at 604-308-6195 to examine the wiring if any of the bulleted points above apply to your home.

Specific Problems With Aluminum Wiring

  • Aluminum wiring has a higher rate of expansion than copper wiring. This constant distension can cause the aluminum wire to fail.
  • If the correct connectors and outlets rated for aluminum wiring are not used properly, connections and terminations on outlets and switches can loosen, which may lead to arcing, melting, or an eventual fire.
  • Improper wire stripping and over-tightening of splices can cause the wire to fail.
  • Replacing your receptacles and switches with more decorative devices not rated for aluminum wiring can create a potential fire hazard.
  • Aluminum wiring intrinsically oxidizes when it comes into contact with air. This can cause the aluminum wire to overheat and eventually fail.

How Aluminum Wiring Problems Can Be Resolved

Be aware of signs that may indicate you have aluminum wiring. Take the time to examine the labels on your wiring if easily accessible, to ensure the safety of your family and the protection of your personal property.

There are three steps that may need to be taken to resolve aluminum wiring problems.

  1. The first step is to contact a certified, professional electrical company and have them inspect your home’s wiring, outlets, switches, and electrical panel.
  2. Next, it may be necessary to have the electricians replace existing outlets and switches with Underwriters Laboratories approved units for use with aluminum wiring.
  3. And finally, it may be necessary to replace the aluminum wiring with copper wiring throughout your entire home. Replacement may be required to meet local electrical code standards or to meet insurance company requirements.

About Premium Electric

Located in Abbotsford, British Columbia, Premium Electric’s professional electricians are certified and have a combined 30+ years of electrical experience. We service the Fraser Valley communities of Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Mission, and Maple Ridge, plus other communities within the Vancouver Lower Mainland.

Abbotsford’s Premium Electric is certified by Technical Safety BC — and through other municipalities where we perform a variety of electrical services.

We also provide a warranty and guarantee of safety and quality for all electrical work performed. Always hire a qualified, certified electrician for any electrical installations or repairs for your business or your home. A regular safety electrical inspection will ensure that your electrical systems are properly maintained and serviced.

Call 604-308-6195 or send us an email to speak with our certified, professional electricians and with any questions or concerns you may have about aluminum wiring in BC.

We also offer 24-hour emergency electrical services.

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