Types of Outdated Wiring and Their Hazards

January 12, 2023

If your home was constructed in the 50s, 60s, or 70s, you may be using outdated or insufficient electrical systems to power your modern devices. Many homes in this time period were outfitted with knob & tube wiring or aluminum wiring systems, both of which are extremely hazardous when compared to modern copper wiring solutions. As a leading provider of residential electrical services, the team at Blue Crest Electric knows how detrimental outdated wiring can be for every home. That is why we have compiled some information on two types of outdated wiring and their hazards to demonstrate why they should be replaced as soon as possible.

Learn about some of the most common warning signs of electrical fires.

The Dangers of Aluminum Wiring

When performing a renovation or purchasing a home, a common concern is uncovering what will be behind the drywall. Some homes have not had their walls opened since they were built, meaning that the original wiring is still in place. The main reason this is a concern is because of aluminum wiring and the many hazards it can present. While aluminum was once a popular choice for wiring, it can present the following hazards for today’s homeowners:

Reduced Durability

Aluminum wiring is much softer than standard copper wiring, making it easier to cut and damage. This drastically increases the potential for wear over time as well, making it more prone to damage due to age or environmental conditions.

Lower Conductivity

When aluminum corrodes, it is not as conductive as copper. Copper that corrodes can remain conductive and continue to provide a standard flow of power. This is not the case for aluminum, as the standard flow of electricity can be greatly reduced or even stopped altogether. By losing conductivity, you may notice flickering or experience intermittent outages in your home. In some cases, this can even lead to a total lack of power from some outlets.

Types of Outdated Wiring and Their Hazards

Greater Sensitivity to Heat

Aluminum expands and contracts when it becomes hot. This constant flux in size can result in the connections between wires coming loose, making aluminum wiring more prone to overheating, disconnecting, and causing an electrical fire.

The Dangers of Knob & Tube Wiring

Knob and tube wiring was used in homes in the early 1900s and up until 50 years ago by certain contractors. While it is more likely that homes constructed in the 50s to 70s will be equipped with aluminum wiring, some can still contain knob and tube wiring in them. Knob and tube wiring can be extremely dangerous due to the following reasons:

Deterioration Due to Age

Though knob and tube wiring systems still function in many homes, they have likely deteriorated and worn down due to their age. In addition to wear, knob and tube wiring cannot handle the electrical requirements for modern homes as they use far more power than homes in the 1940s. This means that knob and tube wiring systems are often overloaded, posing a substantial fire hazard.

No Ground Wire

Knob and tube wiring systems lack a ground wire, making them incompatible with modern three-prong appliances and other technology. When plugging a device into an outlet, it is more susceptible to voltage fluctuations and surges, increasing the risk of damage, fire, and electrical shocks.

Lack of Resistance to Moisture

While most modern wiring systems are rated to handle low to moderate moisture, knob and tube wiring systems are not. This makes them a poor and potentially dangerous choice for kitchens, bathrooms, and outdoor areas as they are more humid than other areas of a home.

To learn more about our residential or commercial electrical services, get in touch with the team at Blue Crest Electric. We can be reached through our online contact form and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our services or the details of your project.

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