Aluminum Wiring Pigtail
Aluminum Wiring in Homes
Many homes in the Ottawa area have aluminum wiring which is outdated and should be replaced. This is especially true for homes built in the 1960s and 1970s. During that time period, the price of copper was very high, causing home builders in North America to choose aluminum for wiring to save money. Unfortunately, we now know that homes with aluminum wiring are at much higher risk of electrical fires than homes with copper wiring.
Issues With Aluminum Wiring in Your House
Studies performed by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission suggest that homes with electrical wiring “are 55 times more likely to have one or more connections that reach “Fire Hazard Conditions” than are homes wired with copper.” With the increased fire hazard risks, many insurance companies in Ontario are not willing to provide insurance for homes that use aluminum wiring, or the insurance provider may require a Certificate of Inspection by the Electrical Safety Authority before they will provide insurance.
Aluminum Wiring Repair
While it’s true homes with aluminum wiring present greater fire hazard risks, the wire itself isn’t usually the issue. The Ontario Electrical Safety Code still allows for the use of aluminum wiring, even in residential homes. A home with aluminum wiring doesn’t always need a complete home rewire. Often a smaller scale repair after an inspection by a Licensed Electrical Contractor can be done to remove the risks and allow a home to pass inspection by the ESA.
Aluminum to Copper Wire Pigtail
The most common repair done by electricians to reduce and remove issues caused by aluminum wiring is called pigtailing. This is a more conservative method of repair, saving homeowners time and money, and is generally possible as long as the wiring itself isn’t damaged. Electrical contractors can attach a copper cable to the ends of aluminum wires at the connection points in your home. An assessment by an electrical contractor is needed to determine if copper wire pigtails are appropriate for your home.
Converting Aluminum Wiring to Copper
After an assessment, it may be determined that pigtailing is not feasible for your home, and you may need to convert the wiring of your home from aluminum to copper. This is a more expensive solution, but it also provides more benefits, especially when it comes to selling your home and general peace of mind. Homeowners may also be able to negotiate deals with their insurance provider to obtain lower-cost insurance after the upgrade or have their insurance provider cover some of the costs of replacement. Your electrician will work with you to minimize disruption to your home life during the replacement process.
Call us at 613-225-3249 or fill in our contact form to discuss your questions and concerns about aluminum wiring in your home with the experts.
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Mike Fuller Electric Ltd.
1692 Ortona Avenue
By appointment on Saturday and Sundays