What You Need to Know About Aluminum Wiring

June 28th, 2023
The electrical system is one of the most important components of your house. Think about what a day without electricity may look like. You wouldn’t be able to work (no internet), cook, or go about your regular daily tasks. However, despite its importance, we often take for granted how this electricity comes to be. This ignorance is a blessing, however, if you do not take the time to properly install, inspect and regularly check up on your electrical system, it can also be a curse, due to the many potential hazards. 

Today we will discuss one potential hazard -- aluminum wiring.

History of Aluminum Wiring in Canada

In research done by the Consumer Product Safety Commission it was found that 1/5 homes wired with aluminum had potentially dangerous connections. Aluminum wiring was used extensively in Canada from the mid 1960’s - mid 1970’s, chosen for its low cost compared to copper wiring. Some houses are wired completely with aluminum, others exclusively with copper, and some have a combination of both.

Why is Aluminum Wiring Hazardous?

When we identify aluminium wiring as a hazard, it is not because it is inherently dangerous, but due an incorrect installation. Aluminum wiring requires more care to instal in order to be safe. However, if properly connected and terminated, according to the Ontario Electrical Safety Code and the manufacturer’s instructions, it is safe.  

Common Issues Caused by Aluminum Wiring and How to Address Them

Determining if you have aluminum wiring should only be done by a licensed electrician, as it requires inspection of your wires. NEVER review this yourself for risk of electrocution, or worse. Some non-dangerous indicators that you have aluminium wiring in your house are: 1. extremely warm cover plates, switches or receptacles, 2. mysteriously inoperative switches or receptacles, 3. smoke. 

If you are experiencing any of the 3 indicators above, call a Licensed Electrical Contractor to come take a look. By law it must be a Licensed Electrical Contractor who does any electrical work in your house. The law is there to protect you, as you read above, the few dollars you will save in the short term are not worth the risk of massive fines, fire, electrocution, or worse, in the future. 
You can review what is required to become a Licensed Electrical Contractor and how to verify you are working with one in our previous blog post here.
If the Licensed Electrical Contractor discovers aluminum wiring in your house, before they begin work, make sure they are familiar with aluminum wiring. If so, they should first assess the job to clarify what corrective action must be take and then take out any necessary notifications with the Electrical Security Authority (ESA) of Ontario. ESA will then also review the electrical work being proposed. Be sure to get a copy of the ESA Certificate of Acceptance from your Licensed Electrical Contractor for your records to ensure the quality of their work. 
Aluminum Wiring Myths Busted
Learn more about aluminum wiring from the ESA here.
Experiencing Any of the Above Issues?
Contact Kulic Ltd, we have years of experience with aluminum wiring. We can inspect and maintain your home´s aluminium wiring safely.
See our licensing with the ESA here.
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