After realizing you have aluminum wiring, you might feel a sense of dread. Does all the wiring have to be replaced, and does that mean you have to put a bunch of holes in the walls?
Only a full electrical inspection can reveal whether you need aluminum wiring retrofits or replacement. Here’s what to expect:
- Aluminum wiring in good condition can potentially be left in place. Unless your insurer or a home buyer demand replacement, you can leave healthy aluminum wiring in place and make retrofits with copper-aluminum connections.
- Aluminum to copper conversion is for your safety. Homes with aluminum wiring are 55 times more likely to have a fire hazard than those with copper, according to NACHI.
- Rewiring a home is difficult, but it’s not the end of the world. A residential electrician with experience in upgrades, remodeling, and installations can handle your aluminum wiring conversion faster and with less intrusiveness than you might imagine.
- You’ll never have to rewire your home again. A quality installation of copper wiring lasts 100 years or more. Even the next homeowner will probably never need a major wiring replacement.
Insurance Might Cover Aluminum Wiring Replacement
We can’t speak for your homeowner’s insurance provider, but many do cover some or all of the cost of aluminum wiring replacement or retrofitting. It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask.
The fact that your insurer might chip in for the electrical repairs should give you a clue about how dangerous it can be. Again, aluminum doesn’t mean your house is necessarily in danger. But if an electrical inspection reveals bad connections or degraded wiring, the insurance company might rather pay a little to replace it rather than risk paying out a major claim for a house fire.
Aluminum Wiring Pigtails Aren’t Always a Permanent Solution
Some people hear that aluminum wiring just needs different connections (the “purple wire nuts”) and then go to the hardware store. They buy a case and install them on their own or get a handyman to do so. This is a big mistake.
An electrician needs to look at your aluminum wiring to make sure it’s hasn’t been damaged by what’s called “creep,” meaning expansion and contraction have caused permanent deformities in the wiring. You could add copper-aluminum connectors at every point and still have bad wiring.
Some of the aluminum connectors out there are specifically not recommended by inspectors, insurers, and the National Fire Protection Association as more than a temporary solution before you replace all your home wiring.
Aluminum Wiring Replacement in Sonoma County
In short, there are no shortcuts. You need a licensed electrician to make all necessary repairs and retrofits and sign off on your wiring, or you need a full copper wiring conversion.
Get real answers specific to your home’s wiring. Contact us to schedule a visit for aluminum wiring inspection in Sonoma or Marin County so we can determine if you need repairs or rewiring.