Aluminium Wiring in your home
Costs to repair aluminum wiring vary depending on the option a homeowner chooses to re-mediate the problem. Simple pig-tails will cost the least but are temporary fixes that require ongoing maintenance by an electrician to re-tighten the connections. Rewiring the entire home will cost the most but is a very effective solution and requires no further maintenance.
Which Aluminum Wiring Solution?
Aluminum wiring can be replaced or repaired to effectively and permanently reduce the possibility of fire and injury due to failing (overheating) wire connections and splices. It is highly recommended that you hire a qualified electrician to perform this remediation. There are numerous potential solutions for the permanent repair of hazardous aluminum wire connections and splices.
All repair methods or products considered should be supported with satisfactory, documented evidence that they meet the following criteria:
Safe. The method or product must be safe and not increase the risk of fire or other hazards.
Effective. The method or product must be effective and successfully eliminate or substantially mitigate the fire hazard.
Permanent. The method or product must affect a permanent repair. Methods or products designed to address temporary or emergency repair situations, but which may fail over time, are not considered permanent.
Recommended Options for Repairing Aluminum Wiring
Rewire and Replace Aluminum Wiring
The ultimate solution to the aluminum wire problem for the homeowner is to have the aluminum replaced with copper. Although it is the ultimate solution, it is also the most costly and time consuming. Walls and ceilings may have to be cut to allow access to the wiring for removal and replacement.
Replacement of the aluminum branch circuit conductors with copper wire eliminates the primary cause of the potential hazards, the aluminum wire itself. Depending on the architectural style of your home and the number and locations of unfinished spaces (e.g., basements and attics), it may be relatively easy for a qualified electrician to rewire your home. A new copper wire branch circuit system would be installed, and the existing aluminum wire could be abandoned inside the walls. This is the best method available; but for many homes, rewiring with copper is impractical and/or prohibitively expensive.
The COPALUM Retermination Program is quicker and less costly than rewiring. All 15 and 20 ampere branch circuits (having No.10 AWG or No.12 AWG solid aluminum conductors) are reterminated. In most cases, walls and ceilings do not have to be cut. Using a special COPALUM connector, a short section of copper wire is attached to the ends of the aluminum wire at connection points (a technique commonly referred to as “pigtailing”). Pigtailing with a COPALUM connector is considered to be a safe and permanent repair of the existing aluminum wiring. The repair should include every connection or splice involving aluminum wire in the home, including outlets, dimmers, switches, fixtures, appliances, and junction boxes. The repaired system, with short copper wire extensions at every termination throughout the home, permits the use of standard wiring devices, including receptacles and switches. The COPALUM repair method is recommended on the basis of research, laboratory tests, and demonstration projects. This repair method has been thoroughly proven by more than a quarter of a century of field experience to provide a permanent, low-resistance electrical connection to aluminum wire. The COPALUM repair method eliminates the aluminum connection failure problems and still uses the existing, installed aluminum wire. The COPALUM repair method has been shown to be practical for installation in an occupied and furnished home.