What You Can Do If Your Home Has Aluminum Wiring
Many older homes were wired using aluminum before the weaknesses (such as a tendency to expand or contract at a higher rate than other metals) of that material became known. This article discusses some of the options available to you in case aluminum wiring has been discovered in your home during an electrical inspection.
Replace the Wiring
The option of rewiring the home aims at removing the problematic wires so that you do not have to worry about the risks of having those wires in your home. However, several factors will determine whether it is suitable to rewire your home. For instance, you may rewire the home if you were planning to renovate the house. However, rewiring may not be feasible if your home has a very tight crawlspace. This is because it may be very hard to access and remove all the wires running through that area. It's also an expensive process, which can be problematic for some homeowners.
Crimp All Connections with Copper-Aluminum Connectors
Aluminum wire connections easily heat up because the wires can become loose due to extensive expansion and contraction cycles, as stated previously. This problem can be dealt with by using a special method with specific materials called capalum crimping. This method ensures that the connection is very tight and that it will not generate high levels of heat as current flows through it. This will reduce the chances of an electrical fire breaking out due to excessive heat accumulation in the wiring.
Tighten Each Connector
Another way to buy some time while you plan for a more permanent solution is to check all aluminum wire connections. Tighten all the connections that have become loose over time. This approach is different from copalum crimping because no special materials are procured for the process. You just tighten the existing connectors using available tools (such as pliers). This will reduce the likelihood of overheating resulting from loose connections. Rely on professional advice to determine the frequency of checking and tightening the wiring connections.
Do Not Disturb the Wiring
You may be lucky to discover that the aluminum wiring in your home is still in excellent condition. This can be confirmed by an inspection and the absence of trouble signs, such as flickering lights and blown fuses. Such aluminum wiring can work for several years, and this can give you time to ponder your next steps.
The decision to take a particular course of action should be made in close consultation with a certified electrician, such as those at Home Cabling Solutions. He or she will advise you based on the risk level presented by the condition of your aluminum wiring and how often it's used.