Anyone seeing a rise in the use of aluminum building wire?

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Maintained?

How does one maintain K+T? Other that allowing no changes to the HVAC system, so no metal is installed within 2". :D

But I agree in general, I'm speaking more of statistics than personal memory, though, and the fact that the codes have always been written in large part by insurance companies. They want us to be safe too, whether for altruistic reasons or not...
Most common problems I see is improper extensions added to K&T and encapsulating K&T in thermal insulation, it was intended to run in free air with only contact to the insulating knobs or tubes, and quite often I also see more than 15 amp overcurrent protection on 14 AWG conductors, if the device is an edison fuse it will be 30 amps 99% of the time.
 

Volta

Senior Member
Location
Columbus, Ohio
Most common problems I see is improper extensions added to K&T and encapsulating K&T in thermal insulation, it was intended to run in free air with only contact to the insulating knobs or tubes, and quite often I also see more than 15 amp overcurrent protection on 14 AWG conductors, if the device is an edison fuse it will be 30 amps 99% of the time.
Ok, I'm following you there. A good reason to carry S class adapters. I agree, a good many things can be used safely, if applied within their limitations.

It is nice that in this area at least, most of the 'blown-in' insulators seem to be aware of it finally, and won't insulate K+T homes. That didn't seem to be the case even just a few years ago.
 

Fulthrotl

~~Please excuse the mess. Sig under construction~~
So how'd you fix it now?
in this instance, there is a little aluminum set screw bus bar with three screws in it, encapsulated in purple plastic.
i used them, after cutting the wall open moving the box up a foot, so i had fresh wire, using a steel 4SD box,
and putting new drywall in when i was done.

here they are:

http://www.alcopstore.com

from the website....
"According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, homes wired with old
technology aluminum wire “are 55 times more likely to have one or more connections
reach Fire Hazard Conditions than is a home wired with copper.”

i'm cynical about the purple wirenuts, i don't personally feel they are any better than red scotchlocks,
filled with noalox. i know they have a different pressure connector inside, so they say 'cause aluminum
has a 31% greater expansion per degreee of temp. rise than copper. i've seen them melt off tho.
not very reassuring.

other than this house, in this instance, i fix aluminum romex by removing it and replacing it with copper.
when they find out what that costs, after they have been revived, i suggest craigslist. you can find lotsa
folks on there with a screw gun, a wire nut chuck, and two rolls of #14......

and wirenuts and noalox.
i'm just not one of them.
 
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Cow

Senior Member
Location
Eastern Oregon
Cool product. I was thinking regular insulated taps, but didn't know they made anything this small just for this purpose.

I'll have to save it to my favorites.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
short piece of equipment ground bar works just as well, you need to insulate it yourself, but is usually something most of us will have readily available and most are designed for copper or aluminum conductors.
 

jmellc

Senior Member
Location
Central NC
I use nothing but AL for services & have no issues with it. I hate AL for devices, larger wire crowds boxes badly. I've found multiple problems with it. With larger AL for ranges, etc. I've seen only the issues like a terminal loosening & arcing. I see that with CU sometimes too, so no big problem. I recently ran #8 AL to a dryer outlet & may keep doing that. So far, I still use 8/3 cu for ranges but may go to 6/3 AL. Some places here don't always have these sizes. The 8/3 was only at one place, out of 5 I checked.

I have seen ads by 1 AL producer that they can now make 10 & 12 AL that is much better than the past versions. I still think that is too much trouble. Switch & light boxes need the smallest wire we can safely use.
 

jmellc

Senior Member
Location
Central NC
A problem I see too, is that the purple wirenuts are labeled for "cu to al only", "not for al to al". Most common wirenuts we use say "cu only". That wold mean for al/al, using split bolts or pieces of grnd bar, as someone said. How crazy is that? Time is already in short supply. I have asked about al/al wirenuts & no one has such a critter any more.
 

Fulthrotl

~~Please excuse the mess. Sig under construction~~
He's making a reference to the purple wirenuts being a lawsuit waiting to happen if not installed EXACTLY to the manufacturers instructions, causing somebodies house to burn down...
yep. purple wirenuts are $2.25 each or thereabouts, and that pays for the liability insurance when ideal gets sued.
it doesn't pay for your costs when you get sued as well....
 
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