If you have aluminum wiring in your home your insurance company may want you to make it more safe. Depending on what you, the home owner, wants to accomplish there are four ways to deal with aluminum wiring.
Re-wiring Your Forever-Home
If the home is your “forever” home, complete replacement of the existing aluminum wiring with a wiring system designed to the latest Electrical Safety Code standards is the choice. A competent, licensed electrical contractor will have on his team an insulation specialist. Attic work always disturbs the insulation and its integrity must be preserved. Another team member will be a interior carpenter/finisher that can dismantle and replace trim pieces and repair/repaint access holes so the home will look like no one has worked in it. It is unwise to employ a contractor that does not provide this turnkey service. This does not have to be done all at once, but can be done in conjunction with other major renovations as long as your insurance company will allow it.
Permanent Repair Without Rewiring – Alumiconn Connectors
Replacing all the switches, receptacles and light fixture junctions using Alumiconn connectors is a permanent solution for aluminum wiring that does not require you to rewire your home. Alumiconn is the preferred method should re-wiring not be an option. Installing Alumiconn devices requires special equipment and expertise and the Alumiconn connectors are superior technology, so it would be reasonable to expect an extended warranty period when choosing this method of repair. At The Shock Doctors we have extended our normal 3 year warranty to 10 years on this product.
Rejuvenation by “Pig-tailing” Method
“Pigtailing” (use of special wire nuts and compound to attach copper tails to the existing aluminum) is an acceptable method, but should not be considered a permanent repair. This is because the antioxidant compound used when making the repairs will deteriorate over time, leaving the wire connections unprotected once again. The Shock Doctors will provide this method if requested, and guarantee the workmanship for a full three years.
Least Desirable Method of Aluminum Wiring Repair
Finally, if your only interest is immediate safety, the Electrical Safety Code has prescriptive methods for replacing the existing devices “like-for-like” with CO/ALR devices. Before deciding on this method you must be aware that this method limits the choice of device styles and colours. Many light fixtures are not CO/ALR rated and special measures must be taken for their installation by a licensed electrical contractor.