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Thread: Aluminum wiring

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
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    Jax, Fl
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    Quote Originally Posted by petersonra View Post
    maybe the answer is to use the existing box as a jbox by adding a cover and put the device in a box next to it using one of the boxes designed for installation in existing walls. paint the cover and it is barely noticeable.
    Ha.. I don't think they would go for that one! Just wasn't sure if anyone has encountered an inspector that made them replace the box with a deep pop-in

  2. #22
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    Oct 2017
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    Centennia,l CO, USA
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    Aluminum wiring

    Not sure if replying to this thread is the proper way to ask for related info, but will try since this thread seems to be the most recent on the subject.

    The proper approach to dealing with aluminum branch circuits in an early 70's home seems to be controversial and confusing even as to how necessary it is.
    I am dealing with possible purchase of a home built in 1971. A home inspector has identified aluminum wiring where someone has "pigtailed" the wires at the main panel with Ideal #65 purple wirenuts and at least some receptacles with red wirenuts (not sure if NOOX was used). Trying to find an independent inspector to review this, but they all seem to be in the electrical business with different views on the subject and I do not know who to trust. Talked with the local building department and they have no specific requirement on this subject and said if it does not show signs of a problem it is best to leave it alone. However, this leaves me concerned since someone has already done something with it. The local fire department says they have no recollection of there ever being any fires related to aluminum wiring in their service area and they have no jurisdiction over residential requirements. The NEC does not seem to address this accept to say products should be used as labeled. Some insurance companies will not issue a policy on any home with aluminum branch wiring while others just require that it be retrofitted with a "pigtail". However they do not identify what method is to be used to connect the pigtail copper wire to the existing aluminum.

    Most of the discussion I have found on this subject is somewhat "un-official" quoting the Consumer Product Safety Administration ( which a law suit found had no jurisdiction in the matter), a New York association of home inspectors, or one possible "expert" who did a study years ago. Some think all of these may have had their own agendas and might not be reliable. Even the Underwriter's Labs have been called into question for listing the Ideal purple wire nuts which others say were not tested under real use conditions. If this is really a problem why has it never been addressed by the NEC which seems to be the authority on everything else electrical.

    Does anyone have any good current guidance on this subject? Sorry for the long question, just trying to figure what to do.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveCG View Post
    ....Most of the discussion I have found on this subject is somewhat "un-official" quoting the Consumer Product Safety Administration ( which a law suit found had no jurisdiction in the matter), a New York association of home inspectors, or one possible "expert" who did a study years ago. Some think all of these may have had their own agendas and might not be reliable. Even the Underwriter's Labs have been called into question for listing the Ideal purple wire nuts which others say were not tested under real use conditions. If this is really a problem why has it never been addressed by the NEC which seems to be the authority on everything else electrical.

    Does anyone have any good current guidance on this subject? Sorry for the long question, just trying to figure what to do.
    Your never going to get a clear cut answer because there is too much stigma attached to AL house wiring.

    There were fires and other failures not because of the wire but because devices were not compatible with the "softer" characteristics of AL. The wire would expand under load at a different rate than the device screws and arcing would ensue over time. If you use devices listed for AL there should be none of those problems. The other problem with AL is its not as sturdy as CU so you have to be careful working with it.

    There's not a lot of fire data with AL wire because there aren't a lot of electrical fires anyway. The odds are in your favour if you just leave it alone. The other thing to think about is that most of the bad AL wiring has already failed or been replaced or abandoned. Every year your house works without a problem is proof that there is no problem.

    The NEC has nothing to say about AL wire because its not their job to tell you what kind of wire to use.

    If it were my house I would rip it out, not because its AL but because its old. I ripped out the old wiring in my house, it was CU from the 1950s. Better than half the houses on my block haven't done that, for whatever that's worth. If you decide to keep your AL wire then you have your choice of Alumicon connectors, purple wire nuts, or AL rated devices and you'll spend the next ten years of you life worrying if you made the right choice.
    If Billy Idol or John Denver is on your play list go and reevaluate your life.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
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    Kansas Cty, Mo, USA
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    Quote Originally Posted by ActionDave View Post
    .... Every year your house works without a problem is proof that there is no problem....

    .... If you decide to keep your AL wire then you have your choice of Alumicon connectors, purple wire nuts, or AL rated devices and you'll spend the next ten years of you life worrying if you made the right choice.
    Very solid advice. The only thing I would add:

    Have smoke detectors installed up to the most current standard (because it's a good idea anyway) and rest easy

  5. #25
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Location
    Denver CO
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    3

    Aluminum/CU connections

    At the parts house the other a counter man told me one of the customers told him he had been failed by an inspector for using purple wirenuts. His reason? They were not a device that could be torqued on the wires, like the Alumicon. I have never "yet" heard of that even though I know the code is heading that direction. We will all be owning torque screwdrivers and more. Ideal still has their UL listing but I have not found anything that says we are only allowed a "torque" type device for this application. Knowledge? MtyBee

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    LA basin, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveCG View Post
    ..I am dealing with possible purchase of a home built in 1971. A home inspector has identified aluminum wiring.. just trying to figure what to do.
    Get the most expensive rewire estimate to negotiate off the purchase price, then flip the house for its full value to some sucker who doesn’t care about aluminum wiring.

    Sometimes economics works better than technical solutions.
    Roger Ramjet NoFixNoPay

  7. #27
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    May 2003
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    Leesburg, VA
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter d View Post


    I've only seen AL NM cable twice in my life, and CU clad AL once. Thankfully it's extremely rare here so we don't have a need to deal with it much.
    Being that I am an aging electrician, and a helper of the 70's, I have installed 1000's upon 1000's of feet of AL and Cu clad Al.

    None of the properties I did burnt to the ground I HOPE, but I hated working with that stuff, labor wise it took more time, was a royal PIA and every piece of work clothing I had was stained with No-Lox
    Brian John
    Leesburg, VA

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