Aluminum electrical wirings have been widely used in the ’60s and ’70s for the construction of homes. First, aluminum is cheaper than copper. Second, there wasn’t much information regarding the dangers of aluminum wiring. However, we know that aluminum wirings increase the risk of fire. This is the reason why it is more difficult to get insurance if your electrical wiring system is made of aluminum.
In this article, we will discuss the dangers of aluminum wiring. Next, we will discuss the home insurance possibilities for homes with this type of wires. If you live in a home with aluminum wiring, you can check out this article to find out everything you need to know.
Table of Contents
The Dangers of Aluminum Wiring
Aluminum Wires are Less Ductile
Aluminum wires break down faster when they are bent. It also subjects them to fatigue and the wires are more prone to internal breakdown. On top of that, this type of wire is more prone to vibrations and it causes the connection to become looser. Since your wires are loose, the wires become weaker and this makes them deteriorate faster. This may become the cause of excessive heating that can lead to a fire in your home.
Aluminum Wires are Softer and have a Higher Electrical Resistance
Aluminum wires hold a higher malleability. As a result, it is more sensitive to compression and it will continue to deform. This will result in a higher electrical resistance because the deformation of the wire will produce in a loose connection. On top of that, aluminum wires already have higher electrical resistance, to begin with so it needs to be larger in diameter. Damaged wires increase the risk of overheating that may lead to a fire in your property.
Aluminum Wires is Prone to Deformation
Wires expand as a result of a change in temperature. However, aluminum is more prone to contraction and expansion. This also contributes to faster degradation of the wire. Apart from this, aluminum wire deteriorates faster due to oxidation leading to quicker degradation. Moreover, aluminum wire undergoes galvanic corrosion when exposed to moisture and increases the speed of the wire’s deterioration. Consequentially, the deteriorated wire will increase the chance of fire.
How would I know if my Home has Aluminum Wire?
If you are just planning to buy a house or you’ve just moved into a new home, you may want to get acquainted with your electric wiring. Aluminum wires can be distinguished easily by its color and as the name suggests aluminum wires carry an aluminum color. However, you can also check the markings or the label on the wire. Usually, the label would say “aluminum” or “AL”. On the other hand, if your home was built or renovated between the years 1965 to 1973, there is a higher chance that your home has aluminum wiring.
Aluminum Wiring and Home Insurance
As we have discussed, aluminum wires increase the risk of fire. This is why most insurance companies are stricter when it comes to insuring properties with aluminum wires. You can still apply for home insurance, but it is best to discuss the situation with your insurance company to reach an agreement when it comes to your insurance policy, premium, and deductible. However, this discussion may be a bit difficult for homeowners because it usually doesn’t go in their favor. If your home has aluminum wires, is there a way to insure my property easily?
The dangers posed by aluminum wire should be enough reason for you to change the wiring system in your home. It is best to switch to copper wiring entirely, but some homes resort to “pig-tailing” and it is the “splicing of short pieces of solid copper wire to the end of the aluminum wire. The copper pieces are then used to make connections with the outlet, light switch, etc.” Source.
When you use the pig-tailing method or other methods to correct the aluminum wiring, some insurance companies may be able to process your insurance application easier. However, the issue of aluminum wiring goes beyond the ease of buying homeowner’s insurance for your property. Replacing your aluminum wire will help prevent fire and is much safer for your family.