Are you buying a home? Before you sign the documents and become a homeowner, you have to inspect each and every aspect of the deal. While looking for peeling paint in the bedroom and water leakage in the basement, do not forget to check the electrical system of the real-estate property.
Presence of Aluminum Wires in your Home
Do not call off the deal because of the presence of aluminum wires in the electrical system of the property. It is a fact that the metal is not as safe as copper. Also it poses a high risk of causing a fire hazard. But, remember that the Electrical Safety Authority doesn’t consider aluminum wires unsafe and illegal. The government organization has allowed its use if a licensed electrician makes proper connections and terminations according to the requirements of the Ontario Electrical Safety Code.
Addressing the Problem
Before making a big investment of buying a real-estate property, hire a licensed electrician to inspect it. Consult someone who has adequate experience of handling aluminum wires effectively. If you find that the previous owner has installed aluminum wires in your home, you will have to take care of it. It is because several insurance companies have a problem with its use and may reject your insurance application.
When it comes to addressing the problems associated with aluminum wires in your home, you consider the following three effective solutions:
1. Re-wire the electrical system of your home
Even though expensive, it is the safest solution to the problem. If you replace aluminum wires with copper ones, you will ensure the safety of the electrical devices as well as the lighting fixtures of your home. But, it is essential to hire a licensed electrician for the job. It is because he will have the required skill of replacing the original wires with minimum damage to the drywall.
2. Opt for aluminum compatible devices
If you do not want to re-wire the electrical system of your home, there is an inexpensive solution for you. You can replace the receptacles, switches and wire connectors with ones that have CO/ALR or AL-CU marking. When you opt for electrical devices that are compatible with aluminum wires, you will be able to take care of issues such as corrosion and expansion/contraction of the metal.
The method is inexpensive but it doesn’t offer a comprehensive solution to the problem. It is because it focuses on the electrical devices only and not on lighting fixtures.
3. Choose the “pigtailing” method
Instead of using CO/ALR or AL-CU electrical devices, the electrician can opt for a method called “pigtailing”. It involves splicing one end of the copper pigtail to the original wire. The other end of the wire is connected to the existing electrical device. Electrical Safety Authority approves wire connectors safe for the “pigtailing” method. So, ensure that the electrician uses them and doesn’t opt for cheap wire connectors.
Also, do not forget to use anti-oxidant paste to connect the copper pigtail with the aluminum wire. It will prohibit corrosion and increase conductivity.
The Best Course of Action
Do not get confused about making a choice. Remember that there is no one best solution for addressing the problem of aluminum wires. So, it is better to hire a licensed electrician with specific knowledge on the subject matter. He will be able to guide you efficiently and ensure that you make a wise home-buying decision.