Saturday, October 25, 2020

Aluminum Wiring in Ontario Homes

What is Wrong with Aluminum Wiring?

Aluminum wiring was used extensively in homes throughout North America between the mid 1960's until the late 1970's, primarily due to the high cost of copper wiring at the time. If buying a home built during this time period, there is a good chance that it contains aluminum wiring. But is aluminum wiring safe? The short answer is, yes. It is still in use in many applications even today, though not in residential branch circuits.

Home buyers and owners are finding that many insurance companies will not provide or renew insurance coverage on properties with aluminum wiring unless it is inspected by the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) of Ontario, and repaired or replaced as necessary to make it safe. A copy of the inspection certificate will often need to be provided to the insurer before the property can be insured. In some cases, the insurer will require replacement of the aluminum wiring with copper wiring, but this is rare and in most cases not necessary. Check with your insurance company for their requirements.

Symptoms that may indicate a problem with aluminum wiring include:

  • Flickering lights that cannot be traced to a failed bulb or other external cause
  • Switch plates and receptacles covers that are warped, discoloured or warm
  • A smell of hot burning plastic around switches and receptacles
  • Smoke or sparking around electrical devices or outlets
  • Plugs that do not work even when the circuits are energized
  • Unusual static from electronic equipment, such as, the radio, TV or computer
  • Circuit breakers or fuses that trip for no apparent reason

The Good News
The good news is that because all the problems that occur with aluminum wiring occur at the devices and junction boxes, there is usually no need to rewire the house. The wire running through the walls is normally in good shape and does not need to be replaced.


Excerpt from Seacliff Home Inspections website | London Home Inspections 

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