Albright Electric

Aluminum Wiring Rejuvenation

Aluminum Wiring RejuvinationAlbright Electric
...the job is done right - the first time.

Why Aluminum Wiring May Become a Safety Risk

Between the mid-60's to the late 70's

The wiring that is of major concern is the single strand solid aluminum wiring, connected to receptacles, switches, lights, and appliances such as dishwashers, furnaces, etc. Corrosion of the metals in the connection, particularly the aluminum wire itself, causes increased resistance to the flow of electric current and that resistance causes overheating. Most modern homes have some aluminum wiring, including the main service wires, and the heavier 240 volt circuits that feed other major appliances, such as ranges and air conditioners. The higher voltage wiring does not present the same risk as 15, 20 and 30 amp circuit wiring.

There are some insurance companies in Ontario that require homes with aluminum wiring be inspected and, if required, repaired before they will insure, or renew, a home insurance policy. In business for almost 70 years, Albright Electric has been repairing aluminum wiring since the potential risks were first identified more than 10 years ago.

Signs of trouble in aluminum wire circuitry include:

  • Tripping circuit breakers, for no apparent reason.
  • Circuits that do not work, or work intermittently.
  • Flickering lights.
  • Cover plates on outlets or switches that are warm-to-the-touch.
  • Smoking outlets, switches, or lighting.
  • The smell of burning plastic at outlets, switches, or lighting.

What Should You, the Homeowner Do?

If you have noticed any of the trouble signs, call Albright Electric to inspect your home and determine whether there are any problems caused by deteriorating aluminum connections. DO NOT TRY TO DO IT YOURSELF. You could be shocked, electrocuted or you could make the connections worse by disturbing them. If you are not certain whether your home has aluminum wiring, you may be able to tell by looking at the markings on the surface of the electric cables which are visible in unfinished basements, attics, or garages. Aluminum wiring will have AL or Aluminum marked every few feet along the length of the cable.

Can the Problem Be Fixed?

Problems aluminum wiring are usually found at termination points. This necessitates the opening of all outlets (receptacles, switches, fixtures, appliance connections, and in the panelboard) and visually inspecting terminations for signs of failure and overheating without removing or disturbing the devices or wiring. There should be no signs of overheating such as darkened or discoloured connections, melted insulation, etc. Where problems are found the damaged aluminum conductor needs to be cut back to remove the damaged portion and then have the necessary repairs made. This will include replacing the receptacle or switch with one that is specifically designed for use with aluminum wire or adding a copper pigtail to the existing aluminum wire so that any approved device can be connected.

Repairing the aluminum wiring connections in your home and having an ESA Inspection Certificate will help to ensure that the wiring in your home is safe.

The following links provide additional detailed information on the potential problems associated with Aluminum Wiring.

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