If you find out, or already know that you have aluminum wiring in your home for the electrical lines, then there may be a few concerns in your mind after hearing all the gossip about aluminum wiring. With different views and suggestions, believing in a certain type of wiring is a skeptical approach in itself. Hence, it is safe to clear the myths on aluminum wiring and understand the real concerns with this kind of wiring, and if there are any problems associated with them. A good professional electrician knows the features of the particular wiring setup and can always guide you about them while inspecting your house electrical wiring system. However, if you have not yet called for help professionally, you may get an idea of what to anticipate by reading this.
Aluminum Electrical Wiring Basics
Going back to history, we come to know that after the 1960s, aluminum got introduced for electrical wiring in many places. The reason for this was the high price of copper wires, which made it extremely expensive for many people to opt for copper wiring installation. As a result, in many places, people started getting aluminum wiring for their homes, as a much cost-effective alternative to copper, which is not as good as copper but still works almost similarly.
A question might arise in such a context that if it works similarly, then whether there are chances of any problem now after several years of use. Apparently, there is no problem if the wires were installed and are maintained in a proper organized way. It depends on the quality of electrical wire installation done for the home initially. It also depends on the electrician and team who did the work while the making of the home. If the wires provided were of decent or good quality, and wiring was done properly, then you can continue using it for years without any trouble unless you see a problem.
What Could Be The Problems About Aluminum Electrical Wiring?
There may be two distinct types of problems with aluminum electrical wiring, which may compel you to get the help of a good electrician on this: one is a loose connection, and another is overheating. Both of these are caused due to the properties of the material, aluminum, itself.
- Aluminum is softer than copper as a metal. That is the reason why it can get damaged, corroded, dented, etc., easily while the electrician is working with it. The basic home wiring to setting up an appliance or extending the wire to another point or room, all needs working on the wires. In the process, wires may get damaged in handling. That is why electricians need to provide extra caution in handling aluminum wires. Moreover, if there is any damage formed in the wires at one or several places, then this gives in a way to local hot spots. And this creates overheating in the wires.
- Aluminum expands and contracts more under heat and cold compared to copper. When electricity runs through wires, they get hot and expand. And then they shrink. Repeated expansion and contraction through the years makes wires creep and makes them loose under the screws which keep wires in place and fixed. That’s how many connections get loose with aluminum wiring.
- Aluminum oxide formation is another point of concerns which bars the flow of electricity with the oxide coated wires, and therefore causes overheating of the wires. Oxides form in copper wires too, but they do not give friction to electricity. Hence, any part of the exposed wire of aluminum that gets oxidized is trouble and would need replacement there.
These are the problems, which brings in problems in electrical appliances, lights, and fixtures in a house when the wiring is of aluminum. As a result, you see lights flickering, plugs not getting connected at once, cover panels getting overheated, cracklings sound, fire sparks, and such things. Only a good licensed electrician can take care of them and fix them. Therefore, you need to have a basic idea of both the material and the system of wiring, in addition to hiring a professional electrician who knows about his job and the different kind of wires.