Aluminum Rewiring in Cincinnati

Avoid a Major Electrical Problem

Aluminum wiring is an issue that many Cincinnati residents are dealing with today. Should I keep it?  Should I replace it completely?  Can I make it safe? Is it a hazard? Can I sell my house with aluminum wiring or even get it insured?  These are all good questions.

Aluminum wiring is used in some circumstances today.  In fact, many service wires coming into homes consist of aluminum wiring.  This is completely safe!

What aluminum wire is not safe then?

Houses built during from roughly 1965 to 1973 may contain single-strand aluminum wiring which feed 15-amp and 20-amp circuits in houses. Aluminum wiring was substituted due to the high cost of copper during this time period.  It is run in place of copper from the electric panel and connects to outlets, switches, lights etc.

Why is it not safe?

For almost a decade, aluminum wiring was used in place of copper.  Over time, it became evident that aluminum became defective faster than copper due to certain qualities inherent in the metal.  The use of aluminum branch wiring was discontinued.

Aluminum wiring usually fails at connections and splices.  This includes connections to outlets, switches, and light fixtures. Neglected connections become increasingly dangerous over time as poor connections can cause the aluminum wiring to overheat, spark and create a potential fire hazard.

What are my options?

First and foremost, It is highly recommended that you hire a qualified electrician to perform any work on aluminum wiring. Not only for the safety of the homeowner but also to comply with all standards for insurance and selling your home in the future.

Rewire and Replace Aluminum Wiring

Obviously, the best solution is to rid the house of the aluminum wire circuits and replace with copper wiring. Although it is the ultimate solution, it is also the most costly and time consuming. Walls and ceilings may have to be cut to allow access to the wiring for removal and replacement.  If you are completing a remodel of a house, there is no better time to replace the aluminum wiring as the walls and circuits would most likely be opened.

Replacement of the aluminum wiring with copper will eliminate the primary cause of the potential hazards, the aluminum wire itself. Depending on how your home is designed (location of crawl space, basements and attics), it may be relatively easy for a qualified electrician to rewire your home. A new copper wire branch circuit system would be installed, and the existing aluminum wire could be abandoned inside the walls.

Installation of Approved AlumiConn Connectors

A second option which has been approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and numerous insurance companies as a safe method for aluminum wiring repair is the  AlumiConn connector.  AlumiConn is a lug style connector which allows the safe connection from aluminum wiring to copper.  An AlumiConn connector usually has two to four separate ports which eliminate intermixing of conductors. It coats aluminum wires with a thin layer of silicone sealant to provide resistance from oxidation, and uses set screws to break up surface oxides and provide a secure mechanical connection. The set screws must be properly torqued in order to be compliant.

The advantage of the AlumiConn retrofit is that it is much more cost effective than a complete rewire.  A certified electrician should complete this method.

3 Signs That You May Need to Replace/Repair Aluminum Wiring

You don’t want to wait until it’s too late to replace or retrofit aluminum wiring in your home or office. If not properly checked and corrected, the chances of a service outage or worse is very real.  Action should be taken immediately if one or any of the following are occurring in your home:

  1. No power to one or multiple circuits (outlet, switch, lights)
  2. Your power is flickering on and off
  3. You smell or see smoke/fire from any outlet, switch or light

If you notice these or any other issues in your house, call Mapp & Smith Electrical Services at 513-693-9225 today to schedule a service call. We offer residential and commercial aluminum wiring replacement and aluminum wire retrofitting services in the Cincinnati, Ohio area.