While aluminum wiring hasn't been used in residences since the early 1970s, some homes still have this type of system. Aluminum wiring gained popularity during the 1960s after the price of copper went too high. If your home has aluminum wiring, this may pose a higher risk of fire than a typical system made out of copper wiring. While your system may not be illegal, there are signs that your aluminum wiring will need to be replaced. If you notice lights flickering in your home, if outlets are getting hot, or if you have outlet covers that are melting, your aluminum wiring is at a higher risk for causing a fire.
When Your Lights Start to Flicker
Lights will start to flicker when the connection between the wires and the junction box are getting loose. This happens over time. As aluminum gets hot, it expands, and then when it cools down, it will contract. This causes the connection to eventually become loose. Copper wire doesn't expand and contract in the same way, and this is why it is safer to use. If your lights flicker, especially when someone simply walks across the floor, it's time to have your wiring checked for a potential upgrade.
If Outlet Covers are Hot to the Touch
If you notice that an outlet cover gets hot when you have something plugged in, this indicates that the connection is no longer safe for your home. If an item is plugged in for too long, the outlet can even start to melt from getting too hot. This can quickly lead to a fire in your home, the leading reason aluminum wiring was no longer used in construction after the 1970s.
Your Circuit Trips Frequently
Another sign that your electrical wiring needs to be replaced is when your circuits trip all the time and you don't think you've overloaded them. You may notice that you can no longer run your dishwasher and microwave at the same time, when you could in the past. This indicates that your aluminum wiring is no longer as effective as it was and probably needs to be replaced.
If you have any concerns about the wiring in your home, it's important to call an electrician who can help. While you may not need to completely replace your aluminum wiring, if it becomes a fire hazard the wiring should become a top priority in your home. For assistance, talk to an electrician like Dunedin Electric Co., Inc.