Alu Wire - Electrical - Contractor Talk

Alu Wire

 
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Old 03-24-2011, 07:20 PM   #1
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Alu Wire


I'm getting a home built in '70 and it has alu wire throughout.

What concerns should I have about this? What precautions should I have when adding on with copper?

I imagine that instead of tying in to a circuit with wire nuts, I can use those screw down connectors like I have seen in Europe.

For some history lesson, somone please explain why we were using aluminum instead of copper during that time period. Did it have something to do with the unrest in Chile?
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:01 AM   #2
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Re: Alu Wire


Better check with an electrician about using Chocoblocks, I know you can get AL/CU blocks but I was under the impression that its for AL-AL and CU-CU.

Only other methods I know are Copalum crimps or noalox filled wire nuts.

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Old 03-25-2011, 11:15 AM   #3
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Re: Alu Wire


These are the best connectors on the market in my opinion.
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:22 AM   #4
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Re: Alu Wire


John I've never seen those before, who makes em?
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:44 AM   #5
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Re: Alu Wire


One big problem was wire strippers nicking the conductor.
The nick creates a weak spot.
Bend it once or twice (stuffing the box) and it will break where it was nicked.
Some guys use the pencil sharpening method. I prefer heat stripping.
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Old 03-25-2011, 02:06 PM   #6
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Re: Alu Wire


I use those AlumiConn connectors as well. IMO, they make a more secure connection and have more possible wire combinations. As long as you use a torque screwdriver with them, they make a UL listed splice. I also have some of the Ideal 30-065 purple wirenuts around here somewhere, but I don’t use them anymore.
Last I heard, the Marrette AL connectors were only CSA listed, so not an option here in the states.
In my area, for what it would cost for the Tyco/Amp Copalum connectors and a Certified installer, if you could even find one, you could probably rewire the house for less, so I don't really consider them an option anymore.

http://www.alcopstore.com/
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Old 03-25-2011, 09:59 PM   #7
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Re: Alu Wire


Thanks for the replies so far. Those connectors are what I call the "euro" style connectors. Looks like I had better look for some rated for AL-CU. Thanks for the information about nicking the wire. Don't know how much electrical work will have to be done on the house, but thought I should be prepared.
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:18 PM   #8
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Re: Alu Wire


there is absolutely nothing wrong with al wire. the metal expands and contracts more than copper so when replaceing recepticals and switches, use devices listed for AL.

if your panel is rated al./cu. then you can add copper conductors to the panel. of course insulation rating is applicable
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Old 03-26-2011, 12:17 PM   #9
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Re: Alu Wire


they outlawed it in ny area for fire hazard if i remember correctly

the connectors are a must and it has to be properly done, done properly
its fine but the problem was many were not done properly. I had many a service call in the 80's with AL wire, saw too many burned connections
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Old 03-26-2011, 05:41 PM   #10
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Re: Alu Wire


There's actually plenty wrong with aluminum branch circuit wiring, that's why you can't buy 10/2 or 12/2 aluminum coils anymore.



The choice is yours, why risk it?
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Old 04-12-2011, 01:39 PM   #11
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Re: Alu Wire


John great recommendation, just got some alumiconns and they are awesome.
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Old 04-12-2011, 01:44 PM   #12
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Re: Alu Wire


Quote:
Originally Posted by Magnettica View Post
There's actually plenty wrong with aluminum branch circuit wiring, that's why you can't buy 10/2 or 12/2 aluminum coils anymore.



The choice is yours, why risk it?
30 years ago when AL wiring was big, ge used to have an oven with what they called a hot wire relay. when that thing went ping pong ping pong we always checked for aluminum wire and in most cases found it, it was weird. saw plenty of burnt junction boxes causing that
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Old 04-24-2011, 10:18 PM   #13
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Re: Alu Wire


[quote=cleveman;1160427]

For some history lesson, somone please explain why we were using aluminum instead of copper during that time period[/quote]

In the mid 1960s when the price of copper spiked, aluminium wire was manufactured in sizes small enough to be used in homes. One thing that was known at the time was that aluminium wire requires a larger wire gauge than copper to carry the same current.

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