15 Apr When Should I Replace Old Electrical Wiring?
Is Your Electrical Wiring Outdated?
Aluminum was used for electrical wiring in residential houses in the 1960s and 1970s due to the high prices of copper wires. However, copper is now more preferred to solid aluminum for electrical wiring in homes. It is preferred because of the risks associated with using older aluminum electrical wiring.
Aluminum wiring expands and contracts more than would be necessary to contain electricity. This means old homes that use old electrical writing types carry some risks for fire damage. In contrast, copper electrical wiring is safe to use.
Most electrical appliances are also manufactured without considering the particular properties of aluminum wiring. The lack of consistency in the usage of power leads to inefficient consumption, leading to an increase in power bills, lower device performance, or reduce the life of electrical devices.
It is necessary to replace your old electrical wiring types with the newer copper wiring types if your home uses old aluminum electrical wiring installed before the 1970s.
Why is Copper Used For Most Electrical Wiring In Homes Today?
Copper has a higher conductivity than aluminum and many other metals. Although copper oxide is used for electrical wiring instead of pure copper, it has better conductivity properties than aluminum oxide. Even older electrical wiring used aluminum oxides and not the pure form of the metal.
Therefore, copper electrical wiring does not interfere with the flow of electricity, which means you get a stable connection to electrical devices. It also provides efficient use of the power, thus does not increase bills unnecessarily. Even if you wanted to make aluminum electrical wiring less resistant to electricity flow, you would need to apply an anti-oxidant cream. This would increase the cost of wiring your home.
Copper is also less prone to oxidation than aluminum, and hence wiring made of copper provides a stable electrical and power connectivity. Copper wiring is also readily available for home wiring needs. If you need to replace only a section of your wiring, it is easier to find copper wiring for replacement in shops.
Further, copper wiring replacements are less costly than replacing aluminum wiring with another one. The electricians might need to make special considerations when replacing an aluminum wiring with another one. It might even be hard to find an electrician with the special skills required to repair aluminum wirings. As such, it is advisable to replace your old aluminum wiring with new copper wiring.
Today, copper wires are also cheaper than aluminum wires used for residential electrical wiring.
When To Replace Older Electrical Wiring
If you are experiencing regular tripping on the electrical breaker or blowing fuses too often, your gadgets overload the electrical wiring. It may be time for a replacement. The electrical wiring system could be outdated if your home was built 30 or more years ago.
Old electrical wiring causes lights to dim or flicker every time you switch on a device at home. Power surges on electrical outlets may also result from strained outlets. This can be fixed by replacing the old wiring in your home. You can also repair or replace your wiring system to create more outlets and stop relying heavily on extension cords to connect your devices.
Homeowners using old electrical wiring can choose to rewire the house with copper wires completely. Some, however, prefer splicing copper wire to the aluminum wire and connecting the former to the electrical device. This is known as pig-tailing and is a very cost-effective option to renew your home’s electrical wiring. It also saves time because it is quick to do.
Electricians use a variety of devices and connectors to accomplish this pig-tailing. Instead of pig-tailing, you can replace the aluminum wiring with copper wiring and solve the problem for good. Copper wiring does not need any special attention when installed.
Homeowners in some areas are unable to obtain insurance for an old house that still uses older aluminum wiring types.
Aluminum alloys also have different rates of expansion. Those used in the 1960s have a different rate of expansion from those used in modern times. The higher rate of expansion of the older aluminum electrical wiring may result in the wire creeping or deforming permanently. This problem has been noted on many wiring systems. Homes can be exposed to fires because the excess expansion loosens connections all the time.
If you have to limit this risk in older homes, you will need special fixtures specially designed for aluminum wiring. One of those fixtures is pig-tailing.
Replacing of older electrical wiring may be necessary if there was an improper installation. The workman may not have scoured the wires. They also may have failed to apply corrosion-resistant substances. In some cases, these wires may not properly be wrapped around terminal screws on electrical devices such as switches and other connectors. The connection screws also require adequate torque to prevent damage to the aluminum wire.
Oxidation on the aluminum wires may occur when steel screws are used on electrical connectors and devices such as switches where the aluminum wire is used for wiring. This happens especially if a screw has inadequate torque or is of poor quality. You can identify poor quality screws if you do not find a proper quality rating on them. This oxidation makes the wire an electrical insulator than a conductor it is meant to be. This affects the efficiency of electrical transmission.
Most home electrical devices use copper today. Connecting them to aluminum wiring may cause poor connectivity because the two are of different electrical properties. The devices may suffer due to the unstable connection.
Further, if you are constructing a new home, it is unnecessary to use aluminum electrical wirings. They will cost you more than copper wires in terms of maintenance and replacement.
Modern homes also use smart devices, computer systems, gaming systems that use a lot of power. Using copper wires minimizes the risk of fires and damage on these devices. You will not incur unnecessary repair costs due to electrical damages to your devices. This is because copper wires will provide a stable connection that does not damage the device’s electrical properties.
If you suspect your home still has its original electrical wiring or you experience any signs of electrical issues, call Mister Sparky of Kansas City for an in-home safety inspection. We are trained to identify any problems with your wiring and we always provide written straightforward pricing with any repair recommendation.
Mister Sparky Electrician KC, America’s On-Time Electrician, serves the Kansas City, MO area with a team of certified electricians also in Overland park. In addition to emergency electrical repairs, some of the electrician services provided by the company include electrical outlet repair, ceiling fan installation, lighting installation, electrical wiring repair, landscape lighting installation and home electrical inspections. Call us today at (816) 535-8808 to schedule an appointment!