Do you own a home with aluminum wiring? Though it is no longer the choice material used for wiring in homes today, many homes from the 1960s and 1970s have this material as the primary source of wiring. Some homeowners have made the choice to switch to copper wiring to update their home and make it safer, though others keep existing wiring and upgrade over time.
If you have aluminum wiring but are not looking aluminum wire replacement it you may be wondering, is it ok to connect copper wire to aluminum wire? When you are renovating or adding additional lighting to your home you may wish to connect newer copper wiring to the older aluminum wiring. This can be done safely, but it is important to ensure that you obtain the assistance of a licensed electrician. As copper and aluminum expand at different rates, connecting these types of wiring together improperly can be a fire hazard and safety risk.
Though it is true that you can connect copper wire to aluminum wire, you might not want to. In this article, we will outline what you should know about aluminum wiring and help you determine which option is right for your home. Consider reaching out to a certified electrician to help you make the safest option for your home.
How Will I Know If I Have Aluminum Wiring?
If you live in a newly built home, you do not have to worry about aluminum wiring. If you had a home inspection done at the time you purchased your home, this is something that should have been discovered at that time. But if you need assurance, you can look at the wiring in your home and look for whether it has an “Aluminum” or “AI” label on it. A licensed electrician can also help you out if you aren’t sure what the wiring in your home is. Generally speaking, homes built from the mid-1960’ to late-1970’s may have aluminum wiring.
Is Copper Wire Better than Aluminum Wire?
Copper wiring is the standard material used in the wiring of modern homes. Though aluminum wiring was explored as an option its use was discontinued due to safety concerns. Aluminum expands more than copper and over time this heating up and cooling can result in the wiring creeping out from its terminal causing loose connections and overheating. Additionally, rusting of aluminum wiring can cause overheating. Both issues make aluminum wiring a fire hazard and are not ideal to have. If you have aluminum wiring you should be mindful of these issues.
Should I replace Aluminum Wiring in My Home?
Replacing your aluminum wiring is a good idea but is not something that you must do if everything is currently functioning well. You should be aware of the risks associated with aluminum wiring and may wish to consider making replacement of aluminum wiring a goal for the future. Copper wire is a safer choice and it may even save you money in the long term with reduced home insurance costs.
How Much Does Aluminum Wiring Replacement Cost?
The cost of replacing aluminum wiring will vary from home to home based on its size and the amount of wiring that needs to be replaced. It would be a good idea to have a certified and licensed electrician provide you with a quote specific to your home. We feel that replacing aluminum wiring is a worthy home upgrade as it can immediately make your home safer.
Always remember that when it comes to connecting copper wiring to aluminum wiring, it can be done, but to ensure safety you should consider obtaining the assistance of a certified electrician to connect your wiring. It is not worth taking a risk when it comes to your loved ones and your most important financial investment.
At Penfold Electric we have more than 40 years of experience and have helped countless clients upgrade their homes to copper wiring. If you have questions about the safety of aluminum wiring in your home or would like a quote on the cost of replacement, give us a call. We would be pleased to answer your questions and help you feel good about the electrical components of your home.