Crimp barrel splicing is an old, outdated method of splicing wires that was used for several years, from the 1960′s through the 1980′s in millions of homes across America. Crimp barrels actually replaced the traditional wire-nut that came before it during this period, but the wire-nut actually ended up winning the battle, and today is again the preferred method of splicing wires. The reason this method of splicing became so common was due to the quickness and ease of installation; no more sore finger tips from twisting wire-nuts all day. All the electrician had to do was strip the wires, slide the barrel over them and wrap with electrical tape.
As time went on, slowly but surely, this method turned out to be a terrible way to splice wires, resulting in folks losing power on a circuit and much worse, houses catching fire. The reason that this method of splicing isn’t reliable is because the conductors in the splice often don’t have enough surface area of copper compressed to the barrel or to the other conductors. What happens is, when the current or wattage flows through the splice and there isn’t enough surface area of copper to accommodate all those electrons trying to get through, things get hot. Some of the electrons are now creating an arc so they can get across the splice. Black carbon begins to form and the copper begins to deteriorate. Once carbon is coating the copper, things get even worse with heat and arcing. This is now a potential fire hazard, all the tape has melted away and it’s as if you were striking a piece of flint against a stone, trying to start a fire.
If you feel like you may have crimp barrel splicing throughout your home, give us a call and set up an appointment to find out. We will go through and re-splice every single one of these splices with wire-nuts, and install all new devices. Not only will you be a lot safer, but it really cleans up the look of your home having new shinny devices. Not to mention, your existing outlets can probably use replacing seeing how over time they often become loose and don’t hold plugs in very well, which is also a fire hazard. Your new outlets will be tamper resistant due to new electrical code, which is great for small children’s safety!