If you’ve purchased an older home in Victoria or the West Shore, then you’ve probably heard this fateful question from your insurance provider: does your home have aluminum wiring? Unfortunately, this is not just an idle curiosity on the part of your insurance broker. Aluminum wiring can not only have serious implications for your home insurance policy but can also affect the safety of your home. The good news is there are solutions for dealing with aluminum wiring in your home. Read on below to see what all the fuss is about and what you can do about it.
Aluminum Wiring: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Why Aluminum: The good
You may be asking yourself: if aluminum wiring is so bad, why was it used in the first place? The short answer is that aluminum wiring is more cost effective. In fact it’s STILL being used, even in new homes. The difference is how and where aluminum wiring is being used. Electricians typically limit the use of aluminum wiring to places within the electrical system where it will not conflict with copper wiring. A good example is the overhead or underground service conductors that feed your home’s electrical meter. So, if aluminum wiring is still being used, then what’s makes it so bad?
Aluminum wiring: The bad
It’s so bendy! … SNAP
The downfall of aluminum wires inside your house is twofold. First, aluminum wires are very malleable. If improperly installed, aluminum wiring can snap and break very easily. Snapped or scored wires can lead to arching or short circuits. Arching creates high temperatures and can quickly turn your home into fire starter. Secondly, aluminum oxidizes over time. Splicing aluminum with copper wiring improperly can create another potentially dangerous situation. This is why aluminum wiring makes insurance companies nervous: since it was installed in the 1970’s, all of that wiring has had plenty of time to oxidize and snap, creating a potential rat’s nest of electrical problems.
Aluminum wiring: The ugly
This is starting to sound expensive, you might be thinking. Don’t worry, the solution isn’t to take a wrecking ball to your home. There is a tried and true (and approved) method of making your existing aluminum wiring safer. It starts with an electrical inspection. Valkyrie Electric provides comprehensive electrical inspections in Victoria for aluminum wiring and other potential hazards. How does an electrical inspection differ from a home inspection? To put it simply, a home inspector is not an electrician. They do not have the same education, tools, or experience to fully assess the health of an electrical system. They might make recommendations, but are not licensed to make repairs. When it comes to home insurance, hiring licensed electricians is a must. Your home is likely your biggest asset. Spending money on professional electrical services is the best way to protect that asset.
Valkyrie Electric is here to help!
Updating your aluminum wiring will typically involve the following: replacing devices like switches and plugs throughout your home, replacing wiring and marrettes at each device, and verifying all splices and terminations. Where there is aluminum and copper wiring spliced together, a special anti-oxidizing compound is used. Not only will new devices modernize the look of your home, knowing your electrical system is safe will help you sleep at night.