If you reside in a home that was built in the late 60s or early 70s, there is a high probability that the house’s wiring is composed of aluminum wiring and not copper wiring present in the modern day houses. Aluminum wiring in homes is filled with an interesting yet controversial history. Many people are always questioning its safety and the truth is that it is safe. All the same, it is important for one to be conversant with some of the few special considerations. When compared to copper, aluminum has a great similarity with copper but there are some few differences. Read through this article for an insight on some of the differences.
As compared to copper, aluminum is far much softer. Electricians and homeowners who had previously worked with copper discovered that it was extremely easy to cut, nick and even crush aluminum wiring while making the connections or removing the insulations. As a result, they had to be gentle while dealing with aluminum wiring. Damaged aluminum wires can create local hot spots that can result into a great extent of overheating.
As electricity flows through a wire, it tends to heat up. An aluminum wire tends to expand more than copper once it heats up. This repeated expansion and contraction of the wire as it gets heated up and cooled down can bring about creeping of the wire beneath the terminal screws that hold the wire in place. The wire creeping can result into some loose connections in the wiring and at the end of it all overheating.
When rust forms on metals, an oxide is formed on the surface. Contrary to steel where the rust is usually red, rust on aluminum is usually white in color. Rusting on copper wires is usually not a big problem because the copper oxide formed can still allow conduction of electricity. This means that rust on copper does not interfere with the conduction capabilities of the wire. However, when the rust forms on aluminum, the oxide formed is usually a poor conductor of heat and it interferes with the flow of electricity in the wire which can result into overheating.
Despite all that, aluminum wiring has many advantages in that it is very easy to work with, it is of a low cost and is lightweight. Aluminum can be used in many applications and thus should not be looked down upon.