Aluminum Wiring in Tampa
Beware of the Hidden Dangers of Aluminum Wiring
It may or may not come as a surprise to you, but from the mid-1960s to the 1970s, homes were commonly built using aluminum wiring due to a shortage of copper. This alternate wiring was, in fact, a serious issue that has far-reaching implications for homeowners even today. Homes with this type of wiring are at a greater risk of danger because aluminum wiring heats up more than copper, which can damage the connections and start a fire. This potential fire hazard has led to significant concerns among homeowners, insurance companies, and the real estate market.
The era when aluminum wiring was extensively used in residential construction was driven by economic factors and supply shortages. Copper, the traditional choice for wiring due to its superior conductivity and safety features, became expensive and scarce during this period. As a result, aluminum became a more affordable alternative. However, aluminum wiring introduced unforeseen risks that took time to fully grasp.
The primary concern with aluminum wiring lies in its behavior under electrical load. Aluminum has different thermal expansion characteristics compared to copper, which can lead to loosening of connections over time. When electricity flows through aluminum wiring, it generates heat as a natural part of the process. However, due to aluminum’s higher resistance and its tendency to expand and contract more than copper when heated, the connections between wires and terminals can become loose. These loose connections create a high-resistance junction that generates even more heat, potentially leading to overheating, arcing, and, in the worst cases, fires.
The issues associated with aluminum wiring have become widely recognized, prompting action from both regulatory bodies and the insurance industry. Many insurance companies have adopted stringent policies regarding homes with aluminum wiring, often refusing to insure them or imposing higher premiums. This is due to the substantial risk posed by potential fire hazards and the increased likelihood of claims related to electrical fires in homes with aluminum wiring.
For homeowners looking to sell their properties, the presence of aluminum wiring can be a significant obstacle. Many buyers and their lenders are cautious about purchasing homes with this type of wiring due to the potential safety concerns and insurance difficulties. In fact, real estate transactions can be hindered or even derailed if the issue of aluminum wiring is not properly addressed.
One potential solution that has been explored to mitigate the risks associated with aluminum wiring is the use of Alumicon Connectors. These connectors are designed to bridge the gap between aluminum wiring and devices designed for use with copper wiring. However, it’s important to note that not all insurance companies accept Alumicon Connectors as a suitable fix for aluminum wiring. Therefore, homeowners must consult with their Homeowner’s Insurance provider to verify whether they are willing to accept this solution.
In cases where Alumicon Connectors are not accepted, the only comprehensive solution is rewiring the home with copper wiring. While this can be a more extensive and costly endeavor, it ensures that the home’s electrical system meets modern safety standards and eliminates the risks associated with aluminum wiring.
In conclusion, the legacy of aluminum wiring from the 1960s and 1970s serves as a reminder of the importance of understanding the materials and techniques used in home construction. The economic pressures that led to its adoption have left homeowners with a unique set of challenges, including safety concerns, insurance complications, and real estate market implications. If you’re unsure whether your home contains aluminum wiring, it’s advisable to have a professional inspection to assess the type of wiring in your home and determine the best course of action to ensure the safety and marketability of your property.
Do you have aluminum wiring in your Tampa home? Call Small Jobs Electric® at 813-968-5856 to receive safe, reliable solutions. We serve homeowners throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco counties.
What Are Your Options?
There are two solutions to fix the issue of aluminum wiring: You can either rewire your home, or you can have us install aluminum connectors. Aluminum connectors are connectors with three separate ports to eliminate the intermixing of conductors. They coat the aluminum wires with thin layers of a silicone sealant that provides protection from oxidation. These connectors usually handle 12-10 solid aluminum and 18-10 solid or stranded copper. Unfortunately, they usually don’t work for large appliances because the voltage necessary to power these items is too high.
The number of aluminum connectors that can fit into a box varies. This, however, depends on how it is wired.
Usually, there are three connectors per box, each with its own purpose. The breakdown of each connector’s purpose is as follows:
- The first connector is for the hot wires
- The second one is for your neutral wires
- The third one is for the ground wires
Aluminum connectors are not reusable. Once you’ve used it, you cannot reuse it. This is because the sealant becomes ineffectual after the first installation.
Don’t Let Outdated Aluminum Wiring Put Your Family at Risk
If your home was built in the 1960s or 1970s, your home may be at risk of having aluminum wiring. This type of wiring has a very high chance of a fire hazard. For your safety as well as your families, please don’t take the risk!
Contact our professional Tampa electricians at 813-968-5856 for further information about how we can assist you.