All You Need To Know About Copper VS. Aluminum Wiring

When you ask most homeowners about the wiring in their home, they are confident that the wire is made of copper. After all, isn’t that what all electrical wire is made of? And many would be correct, that they have copper wiring. But others will be very shocked to learn that the wiring in their homes is made of aluminum. But both are safe choices as long as a licensed electrician correctly installs them.

What Is A Good Material To Use For Electrical Wiring?

As you might have guessed, the first criteria for metal wiring is to conduct electricity well. But it might shock you to learn that no one uses the metal that conducts electricity the best. And that is because the metal happens to be silver. And it would be extremely expensive to wire your home with thousands of feet of silver wire. So we use the second and third best conductors, which happen to be copper and aluminum. Both are safe and meet industry standards, so you should not be concerned about discovering aluminum wiring in your home.

Copper’s Pros And Cons

Copper has a lot of pros and only one real con when it comes to being the perfect choice for electrical wire. First, once annealed, it conducts 100% of the electrons that flow through it, so it is a great choice to transport electricity. The metal is somewhat soft and very malleable or flexible. And this makes it ideal for pulling into wire. It is also more substantial than aluminum once it is in the form of a wire. Most electricians will tell you that copper offers the perfect combination of strength and durability as well as flexibility.

The one drawback of copper is the price. While it is cheaper than silver, it is about double the cost of aluminum. So for a project that is on a tight budget, copper is going to lose out to the more economical choice that offers almost the same conductivity and durability.

Aluminum’s Pros And Cons

The weight of aluminum is about two-thirds less than copper. And it is also a soft and pliable metal that is easily fashioned into a wire. These pros make aluminum very easy to work with during a wiring installation. And though the strength is not quite that of copper wire, aluminum is still sturdy enough to meet electrical codes. But what wins many jobs for aluminum wiring is its affordability. The price is about half that of a similar gauge and quality copper wire.

The drawback of aluminum wiring is something called ‘cold creep.” This term describes the expansion of the wire as it heats and cools. While it is not a deal-breaker, there are special installation precautions that must be taken to ensure the integrity of the wiring. Expansion coils are installed to prevent the wire’s movement from separating electrical connections and causing an electrical fire. But when properly installed by a licensed electrician, aluminum wiring is a safe alternative to the more costly cooper.

Only Relay On A Professional

When you have concerns about your home’s electrical wiring, call (541) 234-8864. The licensed electricians at Excel Electric are very familiar with the proper installation techniques for both copper and aluminum wiring. Our crew will let you know if there are any safety issues regarding the wiring used in your home or the installation process. And we are always happy to answer your questions and provide an evaluation of your home’s entire electrical system to provide you with added peace of mind.