Replacing Aluminum Wiring

Replacing Aluminum Wiring

Want to replace your aluminum wiring?

At HouseDepot, we have licensed master electricians to serve you. Our electricians have knowledge of the latest electrical safety codes and make a priority of your safety. We replace aluminum wiring for your protection and safety or alternatively where possible we can install al-cu electrical fittings which can reduce the risks associated with aluminum wiring. We provide the best service in the area. We try to set up a schedule that suits you. Just contact us for safe aluminum rewiring.

The safety of aluminum wiring

With regular maintenance and check ups you can keep your wiring function safely. You can make your aluminum wiring safe without having to actually replace it in most cases. For this, you just have to use exact electrical connections which are safe for aluminum wiring, either al-cu or cu-al. The electrical connections also need proper maintenance. Most issues occur at termination points where wiring joins with a fixture or panel.

Major risks of aluminum wiring

The problem of wiring may arise when you move into an older home. At that time it is a matter of safety for your family to get a proper inspection of the wiring. You should consider a certified company like House Depot for finding disrepair or trouble. Your house could be at risk because aluminum wiring easily overheats. Research suggests that aluminum wiring is nearly 55 times more likely to burst into flames than copper. The reason is that the aluminum contracts and expands more quickly than copper.

While bending, aluminum will break down and wear more quickly than copper. Over time, this break down will gradually resist electric current. This resistance to electric current causes excessive heat.

The outer surface of a wire can weaken by having exposure with oxygen. This process is oxidation. aluminum wire oxidizes quickly than copper wire. The other problem is that the aluminum oxide is less conductive than copper oxide and when there is resistance there is a corresponding increase in heat generated by the electrical current passing through. Oxidation weakens the connection and also can cause a fire.

Effect of aluminum wiring on your home insurance

Many insurance agencies do not insure homes having aluminum wiring. These agencies demand replacement of wiring according to present day electrical code but some may simply require an inspection and connector upgrade by a licensed electrician.

What is the cost of replacing aluminum Wiring?

Replacing aluminum wiring is removing aluminum wiring in the entire home. Copper cables are used for the replacement of aluminum. This method is time consuming and requires cutting holes in walls. This is because most electrical wiring runs between the walls. Rewiring a complete home is inexpensive on materials. In comparison, it may be costly in terms of labor. Mainly the cost depends on the size of the home and the accessibility of wiring to an electrician. The age of your home also matters. You can opt for pig-tailing if you don’t want to rewire your entire home. Pig-tailing will be a more inexpensive option for you. In this way, you can bring up your home to modern electrical codes one section at a time. Pig-tailing, adding a short section of wire between two other wires, helps you convert from aluminum wiring to copper. In this way, you can avoid the costly job of complete rewiring.

Best electrical services in GTA

House Depot is an electrical and HVAC service provider. We provide service in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). We have expert electricians who provide quality service. We offer complete electrical service in homes. We replace aluminum wiring; install fixtures and vehicle charging stations. We do electrical diagnosis and troubleshooting as well as Service and Panel Upgrades.

International Power Standards

Electricity in Other Countries

To find out the plug type by country you can visit here

For a graphical map view you can go to  the IEC Website

When you travel make sure all your electronics have adapters to handle the different country’s electrical system but if you just want to keep your phone charged then getting a power supply from the country you are about to visit might be somewhat easier.

The voltage standards used for plugs and receptacles in neighbouring and popular ones for travels

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10 Holiday Lighting Safety Tips

Just because this is the most wonderful time of the year doesn’t mean accidents don’t happen.  Here are ten tips on having a safer holiday.

  1. You will probably hear this everywhere but do not under any circumstances use a string of lights that is frayed or has suspect insulation, even cracks are too much.
  2. When putting up outdoor lights don’t run the power while you are doing so, especially if the ground is wet.
  3. Try not to use the old style incandescent bulbs, if one shatters you could get a painful shock if you accidently touch it, switch to LED Christmas lights, they are not only safer, they use less power. Not only that, often those strings of lights shut completely off if one bulb doesn’t work forcing you to change every bulb while it is powered up, this can be a bit risky too if something happens like spilling your eggnog on an empty socket, true, it is a small chance, but if something is not impossible there is always a chance it could occur.
  4. Make sure your tree is fire resistant either by buying an artificial tree which has this property or, if you are getting a live tree get a fresh one, dried needles are a fire hazard.
  5. Use the right types of lights outdoors, do not use any set of lights outdoors that is not specifically designed to be outdoor lights.
  6. Check your extension cords for overheating, often you have to string a bunch of things together to get your lights going, extension cords can overheat, check them once in a while and make sure any cords you do use are staying cool.  Outside make sure you use grounded three prong extension cords in GFCI outlets only.
  7. Turn off the lights. Leaving Christmas lights on unattended is a potential risk.  Everyone wants to have their home looking good over the holidays we know, but an electrical fault could make your house into the lump of coal Santa puts in the stockings of those who ignore safety rules.
  8. Don’t overload your circuits by stringing up too many strings of lights on a single outlet or extension cord. You should put no more than three strings of incandescent lights together but with LED lights you can string up to 25 according to the experts.
  9. Labels are there for a reason. Check the ratings on your extension cords.  Low amperage cords with a large load can get very hot.  Also make sure the lights you used are approved by Underwriters Laboratories and have an official UL label.
  10. Use insulated hangers for lights, small nails, tacks, staples or anything else too pointy and completely metal can hit the electrical cord and conduct electricity where you may want it the least, especially with outdoor lights. They have the advantage as well of allowing you can leave them up for next year.

 

From all of us at House Depot, we wish you a happy and safe holiday, a merry Christmas , a happy Hanukkah and a great Kwanzaa.

Is your house stuck in the electrical past?

Electricity has been around for over a hundred years now but our electrical needs and standards for electrical safety have radically changed over time.  Depending on the age of your house you could have knob and tube wiring, aluminium wiring, two prong outlets or a 60 amp service which is probably not meeting your needs.

Knob and tube wiring is extremely unsafe and dates back to the early days of electricity.  It is unlikely that you have this sort of setup unless you happen to own a heritage home which has not had this replaced.  Not only is knob and tube wiring a huge safety risk it is also very likely to not be meeting your electrical needs.  

Aluminium wiring is the result of builders trying to save on materials when the cost of copper began to rise in the mid 60’s.  It turned out to have several important differences than copper which is a better conductor of electricity.  It is not unusual with aluminium wiring to have problems like flickering lights, heat developing at outlets and switches and burned insulation.  Aluminium is softer than copper and more prone to be damaged when electricians strip insulation and make connections.  Aluminium also expands more than copper when heating up, this can loosen connections and cause overheating.  Aluminium oxide is not a very good conductor of electricity so if the wire has begun to rust this can again cause overheating.  If you have aluminium wiring though there is no need to panic, while less safe than copper it is not so unsafe that you must immediately replace all the wiring in your house.  Just be aware that problems can occur and if they become too much for comfort then you can get your home rewired.

2 prong outlets are unsafe.  The chance of causing electrocution is much greater in these old style outlets than the standard three prong grounded outlets which are now required by the electrical code.  Unfortunately you can’t just swap out a two prong outlet with a three prong outlet, they have different wiring.  This makes the problem of bringing your home up to code a bit more difficult but it is something that should be done as soon as possible.

As the years have gone by we have come to have more and more electronic products in the home.  This means the amount of power required has been increasing over time.  Many older houses have a 60 Amp service and the standard is now 100 Amps or 200 Amps.  If you have a 60 Amp service you may experience brown outs when a few appliances turn on at once and the lights dim somewhat.  Unlike the other problems it is not a significant threat to your safety but you could be inconvenienced by things not working right or having sensitive electronics break down.  Upgrading is definitely something you should consider.

I am sure everyone remembers the days of the blackout several years ago.  If you remember how difficult life was for that period of time you understand how much we depend on the right amount of power being there when we need it.  Getting up to code and replacing the electrical systems in your home with something that really meets your needs is a matter of both safety and convenience.

Types of electrical outlets

Types of electrical outlets

There are several different types of electrical outlets.  You have your standard 15 AMP outlet that is familiar to everyone.  

   The next common type of outlet is a GFCI Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter.  This type of outlet cuts off the power in the event that it is about to electrocute you.  It must be installed wherever there is water including kitchens, bathrooms and laundry rooms.

    The next safety type outlet is the AFCI Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter.  This shuts off the power when it detects an arc between the wires which can cause fire very quickly.

     Another useful outlet is the 20 Amp outlet.  Standard outlets handle a load of around 15 Amps.  A 20 AMP circuit provides 30% more available power than the ordinary 15 AMP circuits.  However to use these safely you have to make sure you have a 20 AMP outlet and a 20 AMP breaker.  If you’re not sure if an outlet or circuit is rated at 20A, a good way to tell is if the outlet has a little notch added into the left-side prong opening. This means that it’s a 20A outlet and the circuit that it’s on is rated at 20A.

     Switched outlets have a built in switch for turning the power at the outlet on or off.

     The really useful outlet which I wish was installed more often is the USB outlet.  Along with the regular plug outlet it comes with USB ports for charging devices.

     Smart outlets are fun for technophiles.  You can turn a smart outlet on or off using your smart phone from anywhere in the world.

There are special 240 Volt high power outlets for things that use very large amounts of electricity such as dryers.

How to change a light switch

How to change a light switch

     Changing a light switch is a fairly simple process.  However if wiring is being changed or extended it requires a permit from the ESA and should best be done by a licensed electrician.

     Obviously step one is to turn off the breaker so the power is not live.  Once this is done you can proceed in the manner demonstrated in the following video.

 

How to change an electrical outlet

How to change an electrical outlet

Do not attempt this yourself if you don’t have a basic understanding of electrical principles and wiring although they are not hard to learn and can be mastered fairly quickly.

Make sure you have the same type of outlet as the one you are replacing, if the wiring changes you have to get a permit to do the work and the job is much more difficult and beyond the scope of this article.

First thing first, before you touch the outlet at all make sure you have turned off the breaker.

Now you are ready to proceed, the following video shows an actual outlet change.  The wiring in your outlet may be different but the principle is the same, make sure every wire goes into the corresponding spot on the new receptacle.

If you can manage to connect all the right wires with the right outlets on your home entertainment centre you ought to find the job is easier than that.

What to check when hiring an electrician

What to check when hiring an electrician

First and most important question, are you a licensed electrician and what is your ECRA/ESA License number.

 

Electrical work is dangerous and always best left to a Licensed Electrical Contractor with the expertise, equipment and training to do the job safely. Licensed Electrical Contractors are the only business in Ontario legally allowed to do electrical work in your home, and failing to hire one could result in injury, death, loss of property, or denied insurance claims.

Always hire a Licensed Electrical Contractor. It’s the law.

 

What permits are required?  If the electrician tells you none or asks that you get the permit for the electrical work they are likely unlicensed.

The following points can indicate an unlicensed contractor…..

 

Here’s how you can spot UNLICENSED electrical contractors:

  • They ask you to take out the permit with the Electrical Safety Authority.
  • They don’t have an ECRA/ESA licence number on their work vehicle.
  • Their estimate doesn’t include an ECRA/ESA licence number or ESA fees for the permit.
  • They can’t show you their ECRA/ESA licence number when you ask for it.
  • When you call and ask for their ECRA/ESA licence number they immediately hang up.
  • You can’t find the company’s name in the Find a Licensed Electrical Contractor Near You tool on the ESA website.            sample classified ad for unlicensed electrical contractor
  • They do more than just electrical work including drywall, flooring, plumbing, snow removal, eavestrough cleaning, and other home maintenance and improvement work.
  • You found their name on the Internet and the only way to contact them was to email a general mailbox and they respond to your inquiry by phone.
  • They say you don’t need to involve ESA and you don’t need a permit.
  • They offer a discount if you pay cash, accept only cash and/or won’t provide a receipt.
  • They show up in a labelled work van but operate under a different name.
  • They ask you to purchase all the supplies.
  • They say you don’t need to involve your local electric utility to change your electrical panel or upgrade your electrical service.
  • Your General Contractor insists he has an LEC doing work but he can’t produce an electrical permit and you never see a vehicle with an ECRA/ESA licence on it.
  • They tell you “If anyone asks, tell them that you did the work yourself.”

Think you may be dealing with an unlicensed electrical contractor? Report it to ESA and they’ll investigate.

 

Getting an ESA inspection

Getting an ESA inspection

Any electrical work that requires an ESA permit must be inspected by an Electrical Safety Authority inspector.  When the work is completed you must:

Then and only then is your electrical job complete.  If you believe defects found in the inspection were in error there is an appeal process.