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Aluminum Wiring

Not all pigtail methods are created equal when remediating your aluminum wiring. Learn the pros and cons of CSA approved methods

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Is Aluminum Wiring Safe?

This is the big question and the answers can be varied and technical. So here is a non-technical look at why everyone is talking about it.

If your home was built between the 1960s and early 1970s, it is likely your home has aluminum wiring throughout its branch circuits. Homes built after the mid-1970s were built using copper wiring.

Over time aluminum wiring tends to oxidize which can result in overheating and eventually failure. Aluminum also has a higher rate of expansion and becomes flattened at termination points, causing arching, sparks, and possibly fire.

 Due to the increase failure of aluminum wiring, most insurance companies require a thorough electrical safety inspection completed by a certified electrical contractor. These inspections are usually required before issuing a new policy or upon renewal. They can also be required when purchasing or selling the home. Electrical modifications are usually needed to ensure the home is safe on a permeant basis.

There are currently 5 ways to remediate or bridge aluminum/copper connections. Re-Wire, Marette and Anti-oxidant, Copalum© and Alumiconn©

  1. Yearly Maintenance: This method is time consuming and not accepted through out the home insurance industry as a method that is safe or is proven as a method to reduce the risk of fire hazards.
  2. Marette and Anti-oxidant: This method is the most cost effective and a common handyman method. With proper application this method is a good start in improving the safety of your home’s electrical system. However, in CPSC-sponsored laboratory testing and in-the-field tests, a substantial number of these connectors failed and overheated. Currently CSA approved, generally not recommended as a permeant solution.
  3. Copalum: This method requires a crimping tool that can only be operated by an electrician who is certified to use it. It can be limiting if there is not a certified technician in your area. This is one of the preferred methods as it is deemed to be a permeant solution.
  4. Alumiconn: This method also requires a trained electrician to install. This device keeps all wires separate from each other, but is still deemed a pigtail method. This method is considered to be a permeant solution and is readily available in all markets.
  5. Full Re-Wire: Well this is a method, it is costly an unnecessary if remediation is done correctly. This method is only recommended if a large renovation was being done and there was full access to the walls.

    No matter what form of remediation you choose for your home, it is a good step towards ensuring safety of your home and protecting your electrical system from future failure.

     

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About this Process

How to fix your aluminum wiring:

If remediation is done correctly, there is no reason to fully remove the aluminum wiring from your home.  There are 5 industry approve ways to reduce risk and remediate aluminum wiring. Here are the methods listed from most to least effective:

 

  1. Alumiconn
  2. Copalum
  3. Marette and Anti-oxidant
  4. Full Re-Wire
  5. Yearly Maintenance and inspection

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Is Aluminum Wiring dangerous?

If your home was built between the 1960s and early 1970s, it is likely your home has aluminum wiring throughout its branch circuits. Homes built after the mid-1970s were built using copper wiring.

But is it safe?

Why do I need an electrician?

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