Aluminum Wiring

Aluminum Wiring Safety in Your Home

Aluminum wiring dangers in homes have been well documented. However, in homes built from the 1960s to the mid-1970s, aluminum wiring was the standard. How can you know if your home is at risk? Nipper Electric is a trusted source of electrical help in the Virginia Beach area, for problems big or small. We work hard to detect any issues and keep your home safe for years to come.

Higher copper prices made builders and consumers choose aluminum as a substitute. Aluminum seemed to work. Soon most newly constructed homes had aluminum wiring. Then the problems started. So many issues came with aluminum wiring, that banks and buyers required special inspections for aluminum wiring insurance. Everything becomes clear when you look at aluminum wire vs. copper wire for electrical connections.

Copper Wire vs. Aluminum Wiring Electrical Work

While aluminum remains more affordable to install, copper is far better for electrical wiring in any building. The differences between the two point out the faults of aluminum wiring.

Copper Wiring

  • High electrical conductivity
  • Uses a small gauge (thickness) wire to conduct equal electricity
  • Strong enough to withstand installation, doesn’t nick or break easily
  • Not as affected by the heating and cooling that occurs during electrical currents passing
  • Wires stay in place over time
  • Rusted copper wire rusting still conducts electricity, so wiring is not affected

Aluminum Wiring

  • Moderate electrical conductivity
  • Uses a larger gauge (thickness) wire to conduct equal electricity
  • More delicate, easily damaged during installation
  • Heating and cooling that occurs during passage of electrical currents creates creeping
  • Wires move out of place over time, causing loose connections
  • Rusted aluminum wire affects electric conductivity, so wiring works harder and becomes hot

Many of the issues with aluminum wiring result in fire hazards. The worst part is many people don’t even see the warning signs.

Warning Signs
There are some subtle signs that aluminum wiring may be putting your home at risk. If you notice any of the following signs:

  • Flickering lights
  • Wire Insulation that is worn or burnt
  • Switches or receptacles with warm plate covers
  • Plugs falling out of outlets
  • Sparking near outlets
  • Higher electrical bills that are not tied to other events, like holidays or changes in weather
  • Loose connections anywhere

Aluminum Wiring Solutions
Aluminum wiring repair doesn’t have to mean re-wiring your whole house. The answer is often a few simple fixes at the problem site. Our trained and licensed team at Nipper Electric is ready to help you. Some of our aluminum wiring services include:

  • Replacing aluminum wiring receptacles
  • Performing Aluminum wiring pigtails
  • Repairing gaps or loosened connections
  • Creating safe connections between aluminum wiring and copper wiring
  • Checking connections and panels for proper usage
  • Stop hotspots caused by aluminum wire overheating

We inspect for issues and work on areas where copper and aluminum might meet. Copper corrodes aluminum when the two metals meet. The use of aluminum copper wire nuts can also be difficult. Problems will occur later on if aluminum copper wire nuts are not installed correctly. Nipper Electric can safely connect copper wire to aluminum wire to keep your home running. Our staff knows how to use these techniques to protect your home and family.

Let us put your aluminum wiring fears to rest. Call us at 757-842-1710 or schedule an appointment online today.