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How Copper Beat Out Aluminium in Electrical Wiring

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A lot of older homes were made with aluminum wiring. In the 60s and 70s copper prices rose at an incredible rate and that’s when the electricians turned to aluminum wiring. Even though it was an acceptable material of the time, nowadays it is been realized aluminum wiring is actually dangerous. If you talk to any residential electric contractor they will tell you that a lot of electrical wiring repairs are done on older homes that have electrical problems because of the aluminum wiring. Copper is now thought to be a lot safer it is also even better for home energy efficiency as well.

Aluminum wires are a lot lighter weight than copper which makes them much more susceptible to changes in temperature. They tend to expand when they get hot in the contract when they cool. Being so much more pliable than copper can cause problems according to residential electric contractors.

Another problem that aluminum wiring has is that it can be cut a broken easily because of how soft the material is. Residential electric contractors who are more familiar with copper wiring tend to handle aluminum wiring to roughly and can accidentally damage it. Any damage in these type of wires can end up causing an electrical fire.

While aluminum is an OK conductor of electricity it’s not nearly as good as copper. When aluminum oxidizes it corrodes and aluminum oxide is an extremely bad conductor of electricity. When electrical currents try to pass through corroded aluminum wires, they can get hot which often lets out a sudden discharge of electricity which can also lead to fires.

Copper on the other hand is a great conductor of electricity and even when it rests and oxidizes it has a copper oxide on the surface that is still conductive. This is why copper is thought to be the best type of material for electrical wiring now.

The great thing about copper is that it is much less expensive than aluminum. Part of the reason that it’s cheaper is because the diameter of the copper wire doesn’t have to be as large as the aluminum wire in order to properly carry a current.

Copper is also one of the strongest materials coupled with being the least expensive as mentioned above. Not many other materials I have all the components needed in order to carry a current. Most materials have pros and cons but coffer so far has only pros. For example, gold has little resistance and is a good heat conductor but weighs a lot more. Gold is only used for the tiniest wires in electronics because of the weight. Silver is also too expensive although it is a good conductor.

Making the switch
If you were wondering how to change from aluminum wiring to copper wiring in your home, the answers don’t. Don’t try to do it yourself. Call a professional residential electric contractor. The reason being is, it’s a big job that can be very dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Surely the first thing on your mind when you think about switching from aluminum wiring to copper is how much does it cost? The amount will vary by company. The best thing to do is to find several residential electric contractors and have them all give you quotes and then you can compare them. You can plan for a couple thousand for a medium sized house. A lot of eletrical companies and contractors will work with you when it comes to pricing. As long as their materials and time are covered, you may be in luck. Ask about a payment system or if that doesn’t work, using a credit card is a version of a payment system, as long as you don’t get sucked into the debt world. But first, talk to your chosen electrician and find out what the whole project will cost and how imperative it is. Then you can make further decisions if necessary.

Do it now
What’s the big deal all of a sudden? Well, there has been an increase in electric fires in residential homes and most of them are due to aluminum wiring becoming faulty and problematic. This is why insurance companies are starting to require that home’s address this problem.

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