Aluminum is a highly resistant and durable alloy. It is often used as a copper and steel substitute in construction. Aluminum wire is used mainly for supplying power and acts as cabling in national and household power grids. The reason it is used is because of its flexibility and low production cost. Aluminum is also a light weight alloy and is used as a coating to prevent oxidization processes such as rusting. Many countries have begun to replace standard copper cables with aluminum wiring. An alloy known as 8000 aluminum is used for creating aluminum wires. The reason for this is the rising copper prices. Aluminum requires a larger cross section to pass the same current as copper. There are many drawbacks to using aluminum wiring. Aluminum can oxidize if exposed certain atmospheric conditions. The oxidization process can lead to aluminum oxide formation. This compound is an electrical insulator and can prevent electrical currents passing through it. Therefore it is essential that aluminum cables and wires be air tight to prevent oxidization from occurring. Aluminum can expand and contract under high temperatures.
To upgrade an existing home with aluminum wiring the home must be built before 1974. Household appliances must be rated to allow the usage of aluminum wire. Installing aluminum wiring is a difficult task. If not installed correctly it can lead to fires as with all incorrect installations. Aluminum wire gauges are used for decorations and sculpturing. Aluminum wire can be fused together to form flexible rails or bars. There are great risks to using aluminum wiring over copper cables. However if wired properly the risk is almost non-existent. Corrosion is the main issue in aluminum wiring. It is mandatory that households with aluminum wiring be checked by professionals once every few years. However the low cost of purchase and repair makes aluminum wiring the popular choice.
Copper wiring can cause severe damage to many electrical items and systems. Aluminum wiring will stop functioning once it has been damaged to a certain point. This point acts as a failsafe and will prevent any damage to household appliances. Copper wiring is known to pass unstable currents to household appliances which can cause effects known as brown outs and can even cause fires if not addressed immediately. When creating or adding aluminum wire to an existing wiring system it is best to call in an electrical technician before attempting any installation.
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