When a light switch or electrical outlet doesn’t function correctly, a professional electrician can trace this back to a variety of causes. First, it’s possible this non-functioning device was never connected to the wiring in your building. Secondly, the circuit affected by a switch or outlet may not be completed because of another component. For example, a switch may control an outlet which is unoccupied by a lamp or any other electrical device. Also, an outlet may be connected to a switch which is in the off position. A third cause might be related to a defective breaker, or a breaker which was tripped or turned off, but never switched back on. However, a fourth possibility may relate to a much larger problem.
Sometimes, a switch or outlet fails when it is damaged by arcing. If the arcing was caused by a connection to aluminum wiring, great potential hazards exist. If your home or building was constructed or renovated before 1972, or during the late sixties, it may contain aluminum wiring. Aluminum wiring was used legally during those years, but outlawed for installation in new homes, commercial buildings, remodels and renovations after it was identified with conditions which could lead to electrical fires.
Although aluminum wiring itself is generally no more hazardous than copper, its splices and connections with other metals present a real hazard because they can become corroded and begin arcing. Because arcing in these connections can lead to a fire within surrounding materials, aluminum wire was discontinued. However, many homes still contain aluminum wiring, and research conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reveals that buildings with aluminum wiring pose a fire risk which is 55 times greater than the risks with similar structures wired with copper. So, if you discover an electrical outlet or switch which doesn’t appear to be functioning correctly, it’s possible this outlet or switch was damaged by a connection with aluminum wiring.
If you have safety questions about this type of problem, or any electrical concerns regarding your residence or commercial building, please contact Bryant Electric Service at 512-402-8587. Our licensed electricians are trained and equipped to perform professional safety inspections, and they can repair any type of electrical problem.