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Install copper wire for your home: costs and estimates

Estimating the cost of replacing your old home wiring with new copper wiring

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Installing copper wire is one of the best investments you can make to keep your home safe. Although electrical wire prices and copper wire prices in particular can add a lot to the cost of remodeling your home, it is impossible to put a price on the peace of mind that comes from knowing your wiring system is up to code.

Newer homes usually have sufficient wiring, but houses built during the 1960s or 1970s may have old, unsafe aluminum wiring instead. Builders often used aluminum wire until the mid-1970s because it was cheaper than copper wire. Most old homes have not been upgraded to eliminate the safety hazard that aging aluminum wiring can cause.

Aluminum wiring in older homes can be affected by galvanic corrosion. When aluminum wiring comes into contact with brass, copper and steel parts, the wiring will corrode over time to leave gaps between the wiring and connectors. These gaps and the corrosion in general will cause heat that could turn to copper wiring (credit: Tina Lawson)fire.

Government agencies eventually banned the use of aluminum wiring in homes and commercial properties after builders recognized the problem. Today, some insurance companies will not insure a home that has aluminum wiring.

Homes built after 1972 may have aluminum alloy wiring introduced at the time to solve the problems of earlier aluminum wiring. These homes may still need retrofitting if the wire used was smaller than eight-gauge.

If you are unsure if your home has aluminum wiring and what type wiring it is, a qualified electrician can assess your electrical system and alert you to any potential problems. If you are renovating your home, it's a good idea to rewire the home and install copper wire, regardless of electrical wire prices.

If you are not already renovating, then a complete rewiring of your home may be too disruptive and expensive. You may want to consider alternatives that allow you to retrofit existing wiring systems to make them safer. Cold-welding is one of these options. This procedure involves using a special tool to crimp a copper wire to an aluminum wire, then connecting the copper wire addition to the outlet or fixture that's being upgraded.

Another option is pigtail repair, which is similar to cold-welding. This method uses special twist-type connectors that are compatible with both copper and aluminum wires, and connects a new copper wire to an existing aluminum wire and then to the outlet or fixture.

The bottom line is that while the price of copper wire may be high, your family's safety and the safety of your home are worth even more. If you've decided to install copper wire and have finished checking electrical wire prices, contact Reply! to find the best contractors for the job.

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