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Dangers of Aluminum Wire in Your House

Do you have a fire hazard lurking behind your electrical outlets? If your home was made with aluminum wiring, you might. Homes built before after 1965 and before 1973 may include aluminum electrical wiring. Aluminum is softer than the copper contractors use today, and because of this is represents some risks to homeowners. If you have aluminum wiring, you need to make sure that your home is safe.

electricians charlotteDangers of Aluminum Wiring
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, around two million homes in the United States have aluminum wiring, and without the right precautions every single outlet and light switch or other electrical connection in those homes presents a serious fire risk.

Because it is a softer metal than the copper used today, aluminum will expand and contract more than copper. At connections where the wires are twisted together in a similar fashion to copper, this expansion and contraction causes heat. Add the risk of oxidation, which is common with aluminum wiring, and you have a high fire risk. While this risk is only found at connections, not the long runs of wire flowing through the home, it is still substantial. The average home has 200 or more connections, presenting a significant number of fire hazards.

Solutions for Aluminum Wiring
If you have aluminum wiring in your home, you need to take measures to protect yourself and your kids. Here are some solutions to consider:

  • Remove the aluminum and rewire the house with copper wiring. This is costly, but it is the safest option and ideal if you know you will remain in the house for a long time.
  • Use switches and receptacles rated for aluminum wiring, and connect lights using aluminum rated wire nuts, which protect the aluminum from oxidation.
  • Ask a certified electrician to use the Copalum method to install electrical items, which helps limit the risk of aluminum wiring by using a high pressure crimping tool to make the final connection secure and limit the heat between connected wires.

No matter what route you take, make sure you never work on you aluminum wiring without the help of a licensed electrician. The team at LiveWire Electrical is ready to help you with your aluminum wiring needs in the greater Charlotte area.

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