Aluminum Wiring Insurance in Vancouver

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“My insurance broker asked if my home has Aluminum wiring – should I be worried if my home has this type of wiring?”

The current electrical wire in Vancouver homes is copper.  Since copper is a superior conductor than aluminum, aluminum wire must be larger to safely carry the same current as copper.

Due to the increased cost of copper during the early 1950s and late 1970s, many homes built or renovated at this time in Vancouver were wired with aluminum. This wiring may be recognized by the letters AL or the word ALUMINUM stamped on the plastic covering or cable.

In 1977 the Government of Ontario created a Commission of Inquiry on the use of aluminum wiring in residential applications. Following a comprehensive investigation, the Commission found that Aluminum wiring is safe if is properly installed and recommended that aluminum wiring continue to be allowed for residential use.

So why the concern in the first place?

There are basically three reasons why aluminum wiring may be of concern:

It has a propensity to overheat at the receptacle.

It is easily cut or scratch since it is a more malleable product than copper.

It has a predisposition to change shape at the terminal screws and become loose.

Care to be taken with aluminum wiring:

Do not overuse.

Copper and Aluminum must not be connected together except using connectors.

When getting replacement receptacles, switches or fixtures ensure that they are suited for aluminum wiring.

As part of your home preventive maintenance, switches and receptacles should be regularly checked by removing the cover plates and visually inspecting the wires for any signs of burning, looseness, heat and/or odour.

Extra care must be taken by the homeowner, if you suspect problems may exist,  include discoloration of the wall receptacle, flickering lights, or the odour of hot plastic insulation, have a licensed electrician inspect the aluminum wiring, including connections.

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The Good News

Fortunately, for homeowners who are faced with doubt obtaining insurance on houses with aluminium wiring, there are insurance companies who can take on new business if a electrical home inspection has been performed by a licensed electrician, and there are no visible damage or deficiencies related to the electrical wiring, the right insurance agency  can write a policy with no discrimination against aluminium wiring.

Have any questions about buying or selling a home with aluminum wiring? Call us at 604-800-1665 or contact us.

Electrical Safety Authority: Issues with Aluminum Wiring