Do You Own An Older Home Or Are You Considering Buying One? If so, You Should Know How to Identify Aluminum Wiring
Residential Wiring is Generally Hidden Behind Walls and Within An Outer Jacket to Protect It. That Means You Will Need To Know Where To Look and What to Look For If You Want To Identify Potential Aluminum Wiring in Your Home or Property.
Does My Home Have Aluminum Wiring?
Homebuilding contractors used aluminum wiring from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s.
At the time, it was considered a good option. But it’s now known to be a major issue and can lead to dangerous electrical fires.
Generally, there are two main reasons homeowners become aware of aluminum wiring:
- Your insurance company has contacted you;
- Your neighbours are having their aluminum wiring replaced.
Both of these are good signs that your home has aluminum wiring.
But don’t sweat it! Repair and replacement are possible.
Why is Aluminum Wiring Bad?
Over time, aluminum wire connections fail. This happens most frequently in outlets, switches, and panels. And, these failed connections can lead to fire hazard conditions.
Because of this, many insurance companies consider aluminum wiring to be a liability and won’t insure your home until it’s fixed.
(For more detailed info about aluminum wiring, when it was used, and why it is so dangerous, please visit our Aluminum Wiring page.)
How to Tell if You Have Aluminum Wiring
Most residential aluminum wiring installed in the mid-1960s and 1970s was plastic-sheathed or cloth cable (NM type wire, otherwise known as “Romex”).
Both are difficult to tell apart from a copper cable because they look so similar.
If you can see the wiring in your home, here are some ways to identify if it’s aluminum:
Residential wires will be most visible in unfinished basements, attics, or garages.
Look for the printed or embossed markings on the outer insulation, or jacket, of the wires.
If the wire markings are hard to see, use a flashlight. Now, shine the light on the surface of the wire’s jacket at a low angle.
Wires with aluminum conductors will have “Al” or “Aluminum” and other information marked every few feet along its length. You can find the markings on one side of the wire jacket.
NM type aluminum wiring jacket marked with ‘Aluminum
Note: If you find “CU-clad” or “Copper-clad” in addition to “Al” or “Aluminum” markings on the wire, this is still an issue. It just means that the cable uses copper-coated aluminum wire.
Still Can’t Tell If the Wire is Aluminum?
If you think you may have aluminum wiring, it’s best to contact a qualified electrician.
A local electrician will be able to quickly, safely, and cleanly identify aluminum wire in your home and show you the identifying marks.
So whether you’re able to spot aluminum wiring or need us to check it out, call us at 587-333-3373 or click the ‘contact us’ button.
Our aluminum wiring evaluations are free and come with a no-obligation repair quote.
Because at Exquisite Electric, your safety is our number one priority.
At Your Service!
Exquisite Electric offers Free aluminum wiring inspections and repair quotes in the Calgary, Okotoks, and the Foothills area.
By: Exquisite Electric
August 17, 2017