Proudly Serving Calgary and the Greater Area
Proudly Serving Calgary and the Greater Area
Open Plug And Orange Amperemeter

Plugs, Switches, & Aluminum Wiring

What Are Plugs & Switches?

Your home electrical system is made up of electrical components such as plugs, switches, sockets, and outlets wire in parallel. To generate an electric current through both sides of the terminal, you need to be able to understand the complexities between connecting and looping these different components.

Finding a certified electrician decreases the chance for you to make crucial mistakes such as connecting neutral and hot terminal wires incorrectly and resulting in a powerful undesired shock or even added repair costs. An electrical technician will use a variety of different techniques and tools that the common person does not have to find efficient ways to identify electrical problems. Some of these tools such as voltage testers, electrical meters, circuit tracers, and IR thermal cameras help electricians understand where there are electrical issues. Comprehending the voltage, current rating, shape, size, etc, will determine what electrical component to use in a variety of different situations.


What Is An Electrical Plug?

A plug is a component attached to your device. For example, a plug can have a male connector with pins that match the openings of a socket, also known as the female contacts. Once the merge of these 2 connectors occurs, an electrical current is generated. Some plugs have female contacts that are used only for an earth-ground connection. Some plugs have built-in fuses for safety. Most people refer to receptacles the female outlet found around your house as plugs. 


What Is A Switch?

A switch is a device that is used to connect or disconnect the electrical current between your electrical path and your main electrical circuit. There are many different types of switches which makes it imperative to hire an electrician that knows which application to use in different situations. Some of them have different configurations and multiple sets of contacts which increases the chance of improper connections. Studies conducted have shown that many homeowners try to configure electrical components themselves with over 50% of them not fully understanding the processes involved. This may cause severe problems down the road as it can lead to expensive repairs such as full panel replacements that may run a homeowner thousands of dollars.


Aluminum Wiring In Your Home

Although wiring can be a simple process or DIY solution, most people do not tend to think an awful lot about the importance of choosing the right wiring for your home. If your home was built in the mid-1900s (‘60’s and ’70s) there is a good chance your electrical infrastructure was constructed with aluminum wire. During this time copper wire was expensive, so aluminum wire became a popular alternative. However, it wasn’t long until it was found to have some hazardous properties. If you are unsure of what wiring you have in your home, an electrical contractor will be able to identify this for you. 

 It was found that aluminum breaks down quicker than copper does, and it oxidizes much more easily in addition to being more susceptible to changes in temperature. Aluminum wire to make matters worse undergoes a phenomenon known as Cold Flow, this is when the aluminum wire slowly moves away from the point of connection, this can then lead to hot spots at the terminal and should be checked yearly and tightened as needed. These characteristics lead to a greater potential for a fire starting at your devices. This became such a hazard that in 1973 the use of aluminum wire was completely scrapped, and it is required to be removed by code during any renovations you may be starting.

 A lot of do-it-yourselfers sometimes change their plugs, switches, and lights themselves while these tasks aren’t required to be performed by a licensed electrician, when your home has aluminum it is very easy to make these changes become serious hazards when you mix copper and aluminum. These dissimilar metals react with one another causing corroding where the insulation of the conductors is then eroded, a fire and shock hazard is then created. Hiring an electrical contractor is a great idea as they are already familiar with these issues and experienced in how to deal with them.

Top View Of Open Plug With Damaged Wires

The next mistake made by home-owners make is that they change out their devices with new ones and they are not aware that things need to be rated for the use of aluminum. Aluminum wiring requires specifically marked for use with aluminum to avoid it from causing a fire. These devices are not readily available at most stores and are quickly overlooked as options due to their high price tag.

Side View of Wall Plug With Black And Brown Wiring

Aluminum Wiring Solutions

If your home was built during this time, it might’ve been outfitted with aluminum wiring, posing a potential risk.

As a professional electrical contractor, we can perform a total home rewiring service, removing your dangerous aluminum wiring and replacing it with safer, more efficient copper wire that doesn’t pose a fire hazard, this has the added benefit of potentially lowering your insurance rates as a lot of insurance companies will not insure aluminum wiring throughout your home or charge a premium when it does exist. This is the recommended solution although the most costly one.

Alternatively, our electrical technicians at Platinum Electrical Services can perform one of two options to make your home safer but these are not 100% efficient solutions.

– We can make sure all your devices are aluminum rated, this will decrease the chances of your devices catching fire. This is an expensive option considering the cost of the devices installed and labor required but still, a cheaper option than a complete home rewire.

– The most economical option is by far the least safe of the 3 options, we could perform an aluminum to copper transition utilizing your existing devices that are most likely only rated for copper use. We do so with approved connectors for aluminum and copper that minimizes the chances of corrosion.

Platinum Electrical Services adheres to the highest standard of code and we are committed to our client’s complete safety.  Give us a call today to find out how you can ensure that your house is 100% electrically safe. Instead of increasing your costs, it is recommended that you hire an electrician that properly knows how to work with different components within your home.

At Platinum Electrical Services, we provide you with an experienced electrical technician that uses the most up-to-date tools and knowledge to fully understand your problem. This will then allow them to identify a solution that is efficient and affordable while providing a high-quality service. Call us today to book your home visit!

Always Hire a Professional

No matter how urgent any electrical repair seems, it’s never okay to attempt to handle them on your own. Trying to take care of electrical problems without professional training is extremely dangerous. If you or someone else aren’t hurt during your attempt, there’s still a chance that you’ve left something undone that poses a huge risk to you, your home, or your family. In fact, faulty electrical wiring is the number one cause of house fires in the Canada, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. So in order to make sure that your home is safe, always rely on a professional for any electrical services.

When searching for a reliable electrician, call us at (587) 896-3351 . We specialize in electrical repairs, indoor and outdoor lighting installations, panel upgrades, and even hot tub wiring!

Plugs, Switches, & Aluminum Wiring - FAQ's

Aluminum wiring was used in Alberta between the mid-1960s until the late 1970s. If your home was constructed during this time there is a great chance that the original wiring of your home consisted of aluminum. To be sure of the status of your home’s electrical wiring contact an electrician to perform an electrical inspection.

Aluminum wiring is extremely bad. Aluminum undergoes a phenomenon called Cold Flow where the aluminum over time will slowly move away from the point of connection. This will lead to a hot spot and can cause a fire. Another danger with aluminum wiring is how it reacts to dissimilar metals, aluminum can corrode and become exposed due to the wire nut and insulation being eaten away when it is mixed with another metal without using the proper installation techniques.

Aluminum wiring is sometimes up to code. Due to its dangerous nature only in a certain situations is it allowed to be used in electrical installations. Older homes wired with aluminum wire are aged up to the point that a renovation exposes the wiring method and a replacement is done.

It can cost as much as $3500 a floor to remove aluminum properly. There are a number of added benefits to removing aluminum wire from your home such as your insurance premiums will be cheaper and you will no longer have the lingering dangers caused by aluminum wiring.