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Aluminum Wiring- what's all the kerfuffle?

May 25th 2015

ALUMINUM WIRING...what's all the kerfuffle?

• Aluminum wiring was recalled because it is known to be a fire hazard.
• Aluminum wiring is no longer used for interior wiring systems.
• The Ontario Electrical Safety Code permits the installation of aluminum wiring.
• Adequate precautions shall be given to the terminations and splicing of aluminum conductors
Did you know that Aluminum wiring in residential installations will operate as safely as any other type of wiring if the proper materials are used and it is installed as per the manufacturer's instructions and the Ontario Hydro Electrical Safety Code.
Many homes built  in the late 1960's and during the 1970's contained Aluminum wiring.  We didn't stop building homes in London Ontario during that period of time so we have lots of neighbourhoods with aluminum wiring here.  As these homes saw improvements and renovations copper wiring was introduced into the mix.  
What's the problem? Copper and Aluminum expand at different rates which can cause connectivity problems or fire hazards.
The Ontario Hydro Electrical Safety code isn't panicking and neither should you.
Because the problems with aluminum wriing occur at the TERMINATION POINTS replacing the receptacles and switches with an approved type for aluminum wiring is an easy fix! 
It is also recommended that the ends of the solid aluminum conductors be coated with a compound called an anti-oxidate.
In Canada, a less expensive and still approved alternative to using dedicated copper/aluminum devices is to connect a short piece of copper wire to the ends of the aluminum wire before connecting to a device approved for copper only. This is called a "pigtail". Using this method, the newer Decorra-style and GFCI outlets may be used. In this case, the connector used for  the pigtail joint must be an approved type.
Do your due diligence. Make sure you choose an educated insurance company. Look for an ESA certificate, ask for an ESA certificate or get an ESA certificate and then move on to choosing colour paint colours for the family room.

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