San Diego Aluminum Wiring
During the 1970's, aluminum (instead of copper) wiring became quite popular and was extensively used. Since that time, aluminum wiring has been implicated in a number of house fires, and most jurisdictions no longer permit it in new electrical wiring installations. We recommend, even if you're allowed to, that you do not use aluminum for new electrical wiring.
Don't panic if your San Diego house has aluminum wiring. Aluminum wiring, when properly installed, can be just as safe as copper. San Diego aluminum wiring is, however, very unforgiving of improper installation.
Problems with Aluminum Wiring in San Diego Houses
The main problem with aluminum wiring is a phenomenon known as "cold creep." When aluminum wiring warms up, it expands. When it cools down, it contracts. Unlike copper wires, when San Diego aluminum wiring goes through a number of warm/cool cycles it loses a bit of tightness each time. To make the problem worse, aluminum oxidizes, or corrodes, when in contact with certain types of metal, so the resistance of the connection goes up. Which causes it to heat up and corrode / oxidize more. Eventually the aluminum wire may start getting very hot, melt the insulation or fixture it's attached to, and possibly cause a fire.
People usually encounter aluminum wiring when they move into a San Diego house that was built during the 1970's. If your home has aluminum wiring, you should hire a licensed electrical contractor to check the following things:
- Fixtures (eg: outlets and switches) directly attached to aluminum wiring should be rated for it. The device will be stamped with "Al/Cu" or "CO/ALR". The latter supersedes the former, but both are safe. These fixtures are somewhat more expensive than the ordinary ones.
- Wires should be properly connected (at least 3/4 way around the screw in a clockwise direction). Connections should be tight. While repeated tightening of the screws can make the problem worse, during the inspection it would pay off to snug up each connection. Note that aluminum wiring is still often used for the main service entrance cable. It should be inspected.
- "push-in" terminals are an extreme hazard with aluminum wire. Any connections using push-in terminals should be redone with the proper screw connections immediately.
- There should be no signs of overheating: darkened connections, melted insulation, or "baked" fixtures. Any such damage should be repaired immediately.
- Connections between aluminum and copper wire need to be handled specially.
The NEC requires that the wire be connected together using special crimp devices, with an anti-oxidant grease. The tools and materials for the latter are quite expensive - not practical to do it yourself unless you can rent the tool. [Note that regulations are changing rapidly in this area. Suggest that you discuss any work with an inspector if you're going to do more than one or two connections.
- Any non-rated receptacle can be connected to aluminum wiring by means of a short copper "pigtail". See (5) above.
If, when considering purchasing a home in San Diego that has aluminum wiring, an inspection of the wiring shows no problems or only one or two, we believe that you can consider the wiring safe. If there are signs of problems in many places, we suggest you look elsewhere. If the wrong receptacles are used, you can replace them with the proper type, or use pigtails. It is best to have this done by a professional San Diego Electrician.
Our San Diego Aluminum Wiring Contractors Provide These Services
- Aluminum Wiring
- Electrical Wiring
- Aluminum Wires
- Copper Wiring
- Electrical Wires
- Wiring Circuits
- Lights Switches
- Electrical Repairs
- Home Wiring
- Copper Wires
- House Wiring
Why San Diego Should Hire Us for Aluminum Wiring Corrections
As your San Diego electrician, Point Loma Electric takes pride in providing quality aluminum wiring correction services and on-time results. Our team is experienced in dealing with all kinds of residential electrical problems. You'd be surprised at some of the electrical wiring messes we've seen...and fixed! So rest assured that when you hire Point Loma Electric for your San Diego rewiring or aluminum wiring correction needs, you'll be hiring fully licensed and insured electricians that provide quality work.
We have been in business since 1988, and we are experts when it comes to improving the electrical systems and wiring of older homes. Whether your home needs a complete rewiring to take care of that old aluminum or knob and tube wiring, or you need a meter upgrade in order to handle today's electricity demands, our professional San Diego electricians can handle all your electrical needs.
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