Aluminum Wiring: What you need to know

by Libby Broady on Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Insurance companies are increasingly becoming wary of aluminum wiring. Most are now requiring that homes with aluminum wiring have the aluminum components inspected and certified by an electrician in order to be eligible for coverage.

If your home was built during the 1970s, there is good chance that your home has aluminum wiring. It was used extensively in homes throughout Quebec as a cheaper alternative to copper wiring before it was gradually phased out by the end of the decade. There are many homes in the West Island with aluminum wiring most especially in Kirkland and DDO.

Aluminum wiring is not dangerous if it’s installed correctly. In fact, Hydro Quebec power lines are still made of aluminum because it is lighter and less expensive than copper. However, due to aluminum being a softer metal, this type of wiring is more likely to warp, corrode and oxidize, especially when installation is sub-par. This can lead to a fire.

Most problems occur at the plugs, switches, light fixtures and junction boxes, and are often caused by improperly joining the aluminum wire to contacts that are rated for copper use. These installations were likely done by a handyman and not by a qualified electrician. Since these areas are usually easy to access, there is rarely a need to rewire the house to correct the situation; however the process of checking every switch, plug and connection is a time consuming and rather expensive endeavour.

For your safety, and to safeguard your greatest investment, we recommend having your aluminum wiring inspected and certified by a qualified electrician especially if you’re planning to sell your home, shop for a new insurance provider, or if you are experiencing any of the following:

-Flickering of lights

-Switch plates and receptacles are warm

-Plugs don’t work / work intermittently when the circuit is energized