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Electrical  /  January 14, 2022

Ottawa Electrical Repair: What Is Aluminum Wiring?

What is aluminum wiring

Is your home electrical wiring safe? If you have aluminum wiring, then it may be time to call an electrician in Ottawa for professional repair services. Find out why and where to turn for reliable repair services.

What Is Aluminum Wiring?

Most home electrical wiring is currently made with copper. However, some wiring made before 1972 was made of aluminum. Aluminum isn’t a dangerous substance and it still transfers electricity, but it isn’t recommended for use in homes anymore.

Look at your wiring or ask an electrician to inspect your wiring for you. Don’t attempt to remove outlet covers or fixtures to look at the wiring, but see if any is visible in your basement. Electrical wiring is labelled every 12 inches, so look for any of these markings along the outer cover of your wiring:

  • ALUM
  • AL
  • ALUM ACM
  • ALACM
  • ALUMINUM ACM

These markings show that the inner material is aluminum, not copper. The exterior will still be made of plastic or rubber, similar to the insulating materials used in modern wiring. While it may seem like it works just as well as copper, there are some long-term risks associated with using aluminum wiring.

Is Aluminum Wiring Dangerous?

Electricians recommend replacing aluminum wiring in your home. While it can still conduct electricity to power your outlets and lights, there are a few key reasons why this type of wiring is dangerous.

Aluminum wiring is less ductile than copper. This means that, over time, aluminum is more likely to break. Wiring is bent as it’s installed and can become heated as it’s used. These features are more likely to break aluminum wiring, increasing the risk of electrical system failure and an electrical fire.

Aluminum is also much more prone to oxidation, thermal expansion and thermal contraction. These features all work together to increase the risk of wiring issues at connection points.

Thermal expansion and contraction occur as electricity flows through the wiring. Unlike copper, aluminum is much more likely to swell and contract, creating strain on the insulation and the connection point.

This isn’t a serious issue throughout most of the wire, but at the connection points, it makes aluminum wiring much more likely to oxidize. Oxidation makes the problem even worse, increasing the temperature and risk of an electrical fire.

Another problem at the connection points is deformation. Due to the malleability of aluminum, this wiring style can be damaged from over-tightened connection screws. The wiring can become brittle and loose, eventually working its way out of the connection screw.

How Can You Replace Aluminum Wiring in Ottawa?

Aluminum wiring is dangerous for you to work with without the proper training and tools. The length of the wiring and the connection points can be brittle, so you may damage the wiring if you attempt to move it on your own.

Even if the wiring isn’t damaged, connecting and disconnecting electrical wires is a dangerous DIY project. If you don’t use the proper gauge of replacement copper wire or end connectors, then you may not solve the problem or reduce the risk of an electrical fire.

Schedule electrical repair services to replace your aluminum wiring or add connectors to the ends of your wiring. Reach out to a local electrician to find out the best option for your particular electrical situation.

Schedule an Inspection With Handyman Connection

Don’t let old wiring put you and your household at risk. Contact Handyman Connection today to request an inspection and estimate from an electrician in Ottawa. See how easy and convenient it is to work with a professional to restore your home’s safety. Enjoy hassle-free repairs from locally licensed and trained electricians.

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