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Thread: Pigtails, Aluminiu, AFCI devices, and what defines Modifying a circuit

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter d View Post
    I think I would hate doing electrical work if I ran into it that often.

    For us, I think it has a lot to do with several factors as to why it's so rare. The majority of our housing boom ended in the mid 60's and by the 1970's the majority of buildable land in the suburbs had been eaten up with tracts. We didn't have a lot of new housing going up after that and has been steadily declining ever since. But, even when I run into housing from the AL time period, most homes are still wired with copper. If I had to put my best guess on it, it would have to do with ultra skeptical New Englanders who are hesitant to try new products. I'm sure AL was viewed with heavy skepticism like most new products are here.
    it was a west coast thing, a manufactured house thing, and yeah, most of your residential
    was done by the time it arrived.

    ours was in it's boom time. mid 60's to mid 80's. during the late '70's, a local shop here
    had 300 electricians wiring nothing but tract housing. union sparkies, no less, and that shop
    bought aluminum romex by the train car full. 500 unit tracts were common.

    what really drove it here, was the overall package of housing was, and remains, absurd.

    my itty bitty tract house, 1,700 sq. ft. sold new in 1962 for $19,000. one up the street,
    without a pool, is currently in escrow at $790,000. and prices are still climbing. we bought
    at the absolute peak of the bubble, closing on 05/05/05 at $710,000. doubted it would reach
    that again. it's well past it.

    now, the boom in housing, and early spikes in prices on the left coast, led to a number of
    people championing aluminum wire to save costs. i think, about '78 or so, it saved $75 per
    house in costs. and left us with hundreds of thousands of houses here, wired with poo.

    i first took a look at niche marketing this, with the copalum thing, back in 1991. nobody would
    pay to fix it properly then, nobody will pay for it now.

    what'll drive fixing it properly, or in some fashion, is when the insurance companies won't underwrite
    policies for aluminum wired houses unless it's fixed with a certified repair. no, insurance, no
    close of escrow.

    the hot way to market it would be to get in with realtors, and do the houses when they get sold.
    but, getting a realtor to push "infrastructure" isn't going to happen, ever. not without legislation.
    ~New signature under construction.~
    ~~~~Please excuse the mess.~~~~

  2. #22
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    Around here the majority of AL wired dwellings are multi-family, to make it even worse combine it with Zinsco equipment, there is a subdivision aluminum wired prefab homes which were built strangely all the interior walls were framed w/ the 2x's flat,so they used 4 sq boxes & 2 gang rings for everything, then used 2 gang duplex/blank plates or toggle/blanks, looks quite strange, combined w/ odd door trim because of the thinner walls.


    Are there any cable manufacturers who still make AL NM? Seems to me the only thing stopping someone from using a NOS stash of AL is the fact that NEC requires NM be rated for 90C.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by JFletcher View Post
    The 6' exception is total?? I was figuring per circuit. How exactly does the 14 NEC read on that?
    Here it is:

    210.12(B)

    Exception: AFCI protection shall not be required where the extension of the existing circuit conductors is not more than 1.8 m (6 ft) and does not include any additional outlets or devices.

    FWIU, this was added solely for panel swaps, but it is listed as an exception to AFCI protection for "branch circuit extensions or modifications"....

    If the op kept the old devices, he would not be extending the branch ckts by adding pigtails, but he would still be adding conductor to them (and more than 6ft to each if these are avg gen use ckts-probably between 6 and 10 receptacles on each.) I agree with GoldDigger about the code exception not being clear- branch ckt per se or total added conductor? With the pigtails you would have existing conductors being added on to.....

    Of course if the op does replace the devices (which imo he should do- al devices are only as good as who is terminating the al to them and solid al is viciously unforgiving when terminated incorrectly- he would eliminate any future issues w/ device replacement by the less than knowledgeable) than this is a moot point due to afci being required by 406.4(D4).

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter d View Post
    I think I would hate doing electrical work if I ran into it that often.

    For us, I think it has a lot to do with several factors as to why it's so rare. The majority of our housing boom ended in the mid 60's and by the 1970's the majority of buildable land in the suburbs had been eaten up with tracts. We didn't have a lot of new housing going up after that and has been steadily declining ever since. But, even when I run into housing from the AL time period, most homes are still wired with copper. If I had to put my best guess on it, it would have to do with ultra skeptical New Englanders who are hesitant to try new products. I'm sure AL was viewed with heavy skepticism like most new products are here.
    We dont run into it that often here really. There wasnt many houses build in this area then, most are older. Every time I run into it I cringe, I dont think Ive ever touched a 10 or 12ga AL wire that DIDNT break. And 2" of working length is about right. Alumiconn it now, pray it doesnt break again when folding the wire back in the box.

    That's the biggest problem with the stuff, it work hardens after a few flexes and then it's two pieces.
    Electricians do it until it Hertz!

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