CHARLOTTE – Homes built in the 1960s and 1970s may have been wired using single strand aluminum wiring instead of the more common copper. Aluminum was chosen because it is a fine alternative to copper as a conductor of electricity. Since then many problems have been discovered that have turned the practice away from wiring homes using aluminum as a conductor.
Aluminum is a softer metal that is easy to bend and cut that leads to damage when installing and repairs. Aluminum expands more that copper which causes connections to loosen. Although corrosion is inevitable on all wiring, aluminum corrosion is nonconductive. Most modern outlets and fixtures are made to be used with copper wiring and don’t mix well with aluminum. All of these problems can cause overheating that can lead to malfunction and/or fire. Some symptoms you could encounter if you have aluminum wiring issues in your home include flickering lights, random outages throughout the house, and outlets or switches which are melting.
Current CODE requires new homes to be wired in copper but CODE doesn’t require aluminum wired homes to be rewired using copper. Even so, electricians see many safety benefits of removing troublesome wiring. Alternatively, there may be an option to install special connectors that make existing aluminum wiring safer and more compatible with modern fixtures. At minimum, installing Arc-Fault breakers can help to detect issues before they are a concern.
If you have questions about aluminum wiring or any other electrical concerns, contact GB Electrical Services at (980) 500-2378 or visit GetTheBestElectric.com.