Aluminum wiring problems in BC occur when the wiring isn’t properly used or has not been properly installed with the right conductors or receptacles. 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 problems make 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 the aluminum wiring is (or could be) present.
How to Identify Aluminum Wiring Problems?
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 could indicate you may have aluminum wiring problems 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
Specific Aluminum Wiring Problems
- 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 aluminum 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.
- The first step is to contact a certified, professional electrical company, and have them inspect your home’s wiring, outlets, switches, and electrical panel.
- Next, it may be necessary to have the electricians replace existing outlets and switches with Underwriters Laboratories approved units for use with aluminum wiring.
- And finally, it may be necessary to replace the aluminum wiring in your home with copper wiring throughout. Replacement wiring 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.
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.
If you are experiencing aluminum wiring problems, call 604-308-6195 or send us an email to speak with our certified, professional electricians. We’d be happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have about aluminum wiring in BC.
We also offer 24-hour emergency electrical services.
For more information on aluminum wiring problems in BC, visit this Technical Safety BC page.