Aluminum big wire anti oxidant

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Should I go squirt a bunch of noalox on the connections at the church camp, in the disconnect box, near the water front?
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On Thu, 20 Mar 2008 15:24:19 -0000, snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com (Chris Lewis) wrote:

I think most people have similar experiences. Al problems were usually traced to workmanship problems and the houses that were going to have problems had them. There are still millions of aluminum wired homes that have never had a problem. The new alloy and CO/ALr devices would perform as well as copper but the reputation is still out there. There is no NEC reason why you could not wire an aluminum house today. In fact ALCAN is trying to rehibilitate the aluminum reputation in presentations to inspectors and contractors as we speak. I doubt it is going to work out for them.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Extensive testing done for the Consumer Product Safety Commission showed properly made aluminum connections failed.
The new alloy wire and CO/ALR devices eliminate expansion problems, but oxide problems remain. With large wire, the wire is deformed when tightening lugs, which breaks the very thin aluminum oxide insulating layer. With 15 & 20A branch circuit devices the oxide can substantially remain intact.
For its lugs Ilsco recommends (?requires) the wire be wire brushed to remove oxide then an antioxide paste used. The equivalent is not likely to be done with small branch circuit wiring.
CPSC testing found a wire nut connection could develop minimal wire-to-wire contact (insulated by the oxide) with most of the current through the spring in the wirenut. The spring is not intended as the conducting path and could get red hot. (No arc at this stage so the new AFCIs won't trip.)
The CPSC estimated the old technology aluminum was 55 times as likely to reach "fire hazard conditions" compared to copper - an increased risk, not a certainty. The new technology should be a lot safer, but I suspect consumers won't want it and a lot of contractors won't want to install it - your bottom line.
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wrote:

CPSC is not a Nationally Recognized Testing Lab http://www.osha.gov/dts/otpca/nrtl / (in fact it is a political organization) so what they say has nothing to do with what the NEC requires. U/L could not reproduce their findings. CO/ALr devices and the Ideal 65 wirenut are still listed and still legal to use ... by "qualified" people.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

So what? And the testing was not done by the CPSC, it was done by a testing lab for the CPSC. Testing for failures does not require an NRTL. The questions were real world experience which UL tests on aluminum may or may not be adequate to reveal. .

I have seen nothing about UL rebutting the tests done for the CPSC. .

Particularly in light of extensive actual testing of aluminum connections, I see no reason to not believe the test results - aluminum connections [15 & 20A] made to manufacturers recommendations can fail because of oxide.
The testing specifically found that Ideal 65 wire nuts were not any better than many other wire nuts that had antioxide paste added.
And the CPSC requested the UL tests, such as on CO/ALR devices, be made with the old technology aluminum wire that has expansion problems instead of the new alloy. The majority of aluminum wiring out there is old technology. The tests were not changed.
Based on the extensive testing, the professional engineer involved with the test has written recommendations ranging from minimal up: http://www.inspect-ny.com/aluminum/alreduce.pdf
--
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wrote:

It has been a while since I looked at this report, it is about 25 years old but it looked more anecdotal with data from accidents than lab testing. That is how most CPSC reports are generated. .

Purple wirenuts and CO/ALr devices are LISTED. That means they have been tesrted under controlled conditions with a standard testing regimine, not anecdotal data.

Inspect-NY is a home inspector site and their main objective is to beat down the selling price of a house.
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Should I go squirt a bunch of noalox on the connections at the church camp, in the disconnect box, near the water front?
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

If you are talking about the CPSC, anecdotal reports probably generated concern and there were probably preliminary tests to get an idea of risk. But *as I stated several times*, the CPSC contracted with a lab to do *extensive tests* on aluminum connections. That involved *many thousands* of connections. It was not anecdotal. I know of no equivalent testing.
The CPSC apparently was headed for forcing a recall of aluminum wire. The CPSC is certainly smart enough to know they need major test results to back up a recall. (Apparently an aluminum company sued and the court ruled that wire and devices are not consumer products and not under the purview of the CPSC. That, of course, makes no judgement on whether a recall would be justified.) .

The CPSC relied on extensive lab tests, not anecdotal information.
[Why do UL tests use new technology wire when most of the installed base is old technology with the expansion problem.] .

1. Did you use a Ouija board to determine the main objective of the home inspector site?
2. From a Mike Holt newsletter: This website contains extensive information for consumers and building professionals regarding aluminum electrical wiring in residential properties. The contents are the result of study of this topic and represent the opinion of the author. Actual documents, authoritative research, and government resources about aluminum wiring are here. This is the most extensive and authoritative Internet information source for aluminum wiring and related hazards.
The Hazard Aluminum wiring, used in some homes from the mid 1960's to the early 1970's, is a potential fire hazard. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fires and even deaths have been reported to have been caused by this hazard. Problems due to expansion can cause overheating at connections between the wire and devices (switches and outlets) or at splices. CPSC research shows that "homes wired with aluminum wire manufactured before 1972 are 55 times more likely to have one or more connections reach "Fire Hazard Conditions" than are homes wired with copper. "Post 1972" aluminum wire is also a concern. Introduction of the aluminum wire "alloys" in 1972 time frame did not solve most of the connection failure problems. Aluminum wiring is still permitted and used for certain applications, including residential service entrance wiring and single-purpose higher amperage circuits such as 240V air conditioning or electric range circuits.
Click here for the rest of the story: http://www.inspect-ny.com/aluminum.htm
3. From Mike Holt (on FPE breakers): Mike Holt's Comment: The failure rates for these circuit breakers are significant, see the CPSC study. For Additional information about this problem, visit the excellent website http://www.inspect-ny.com/fpe/fpepanel.htm managed by Daniel Friedman http://www.inspect-ny.com .
4. The CPSC actions were based on *extensive testing*. The paper I referred to - the only reference to inspect-ny - was written by a *professional engineer* . The paper was revised in 2007. You have provided no counter to the information in the paper or reason to believe the research was invalid.
5. I can only hope the home inspector site never publishes the papers of Newton, Maxwell or Einstein.
--
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wrote:

Do you have a reference to that suit, this is the forst time I have heard that story but this thing has taken on a life of it's own.
At any rate you have demonstrated why this is a "political" organization. If purple wirenuts and FPE panels are really such a danger, a "safety" organization would have recalled them.
I really don't care right now and you can win but the next time this comes up I will find out who was sitting on the house commerce comittee when this "study" happened and where they take their bribes ... err "political contributions". I bet whoever owned AMP was high on the list (now Tyco)
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

1 ============== From a NFPA - NEC digest, spring 2004 (apparently no longer online):
In 1974, the CPSC determined that hazards associated with aluminum wire systems present an unreasonable risk of injury or death and later filed suit against more than two dozen manufacturers of aluminum wire and devices used in these systems.
2 ===============http://www.alwirerepair.com /
"In the mid-1970s, the CPSC began distributing information concerning the potential hazards of aluminum wiring. It also was working to seek relief for people with homes wired with aluminum. This resulted in a 1976 lawsuit filed by Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corporation against the CPSC, ending in 1979 with a federal appeals court ruling that deemed electrical distribution items not to be consumer products.
"Since the CPSC has jurisdiction over consumer products, the area of electrical wiring falls outside of the CPSCs boundaries. As a result of this ruling, the CPSC investigations into the potential hazards associated with aluminum wiring ceased and efforts to change testing standards or to remove certain products from the UL listing lost their steam."
This is a commercial site selling aluminum repair services and should be evaluated critically. The information is consistent with that from other sources.
===============Also see (3) below. .

Ideal 65 wire nuts are just investigated by a UL standard that may be inadequate. For example it does not use the 'old technology' wire that is most prevalent in 15 & 20A branch circuits. The CPSC requested UL revise its testing methods. The CPSC couldn't recall them, if it wanted to, for reasons in (3) below.
FPE panels are in a different classes. From the CPSC statement when the investigation was closed: "The Commission investigation into Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) circuit breakers began in June, 1980, when Reliance Electric Co., a subsidiary of Exxon Corporation and the parent to FPE, reported to the Commission that many FPE circuit breakers did not fully comply with Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) requirements. Commission testing confirmed that these breakers fail under certain UL calibration test requirements."
FPE falsified information sent to UL, and the limited testing done for the CPSC showed disturbing failures.
As with the testing of aluminum connections, the tests of FPE breakers was contracted to a private lab. The following comments are from a professional engineer involved (relevant to both aluminum and FPE): 3 ================http://www.cahillinspection.com/images/FPE/Aronstein.pdf
"In early 1983, CPSC closed its investigation of FPE breakers, and issued a press release to that effect. The Commission's press release indicates that it was 'unable at this time to link these failures to the development of a hazardous situation,' that 'The Commission staff believes that it currently has insufficient data to accept or refute Reliance's position,' and that they did not have the money to develop the required data.
"Two important events had occurred prior to the Commission's vote that no doubt influenced their decision. In 1981, President Reagan took office. The political climate under the new administration was very much pro-industry, and CPSC was on the chopping block from a budget standpoint. The Commission did not have - and was not likely to get - the funds required for a protracted technical and legal battle with FPE/Reliance.
"Equally important as background is that, in early 1982, CPSC lost a major battle in court on another electrical product - aluminum wiring. Kaiser Aluminum had challenged CPSC's jurisdiction over house wiring, claiming that it was not a consumer product. After a seesaw series of court decisions and appeals, Kaiser ultimately prevailed. Irrespective of any demonstrated hazard, the final ruling was that CPSC did not have jurisdiction unless it could prove that a substantial percentage of new home buyers contracted directly with the electricians for the installation of the wiring. That is generally not the case. It is much more common to have the electrician working under contract to the builder or general contractor. After spending a significant portion of their energy and budget on that project over a period of about eight years, CPSC had to abandon their case on aluminum wiring hazards due to that ruling.
"In terms of the contractual relationships in home construction, the service entrance panel is analogous to the aluminum wiring. The Kaiser appeal could serve as a model for FPE. No matter what level of hazard CPSC might be able to demonstrate associated with the defective Stab-Lok breakers, they had a high probability of losing if FPE chose to challenge their jurisdiction over the product. A precedent had been set in the aluminum wiring case."
========================The CPSC didnt have much choice in dropping the investigation of FPE. .

--
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wrote:

Where is the pile of tombstones? Where are the fires? Shouldn't most of the millions of aluminum wired homes have burned down by now? If you don't want an aluminum house don't buy one but spreading a 30 year old "boogie man" story is not constructive. Certainly amy story that ends with "this is the one and only product that will save you" (the CopAlum device) smacks of marketeering more than safety. Aluminum is not as tolerant of hack work and homeowners should leave it alone. They should also be vigilent of problems but that is true of any electrical system.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Far as I know there is no data to show fires currently are, or are not, caused by aluminum branch circuits. And aluminum is just an increased risk, not a certain cause of fire.
If you have a home that is stable and you add a high watt space heater in a new location you are stressing connections all the way back to the panel that may not have been subject to high current before. What is stable now may not be in the future. .

My original comment was that extensive research has shown properly made connections can fail.
My only recommendation has been a paper based on extensive research. There are a wide range of recommendations down to only vigilance.
IMHO much of the thread has concerned your denial that extensive valid research into aluminum connections was done for the CPSC. .

I never referred to COPALUM. The paper I referenced has COPALUM as only one of the possible fixes. COPALUM is, based on research, the most reliable connection but is quite expensive. If I had aluminum wiring and was redoing connections I wouldnt use it.
You might be interested that next best connection for splicing wires is the new ALUMICON connector. It uses screws which deform the wire.
------------------ In general I think you have very good answers to electrical questions. IMHO you get carried away with 'hot-button' issues on aluminum. .

--
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wrote:

and ignore the current opinion of NFPA and U/L.
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So, should I put some anti oxidant on the aluminum big wire?
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So, should I put some anti oxidant on the aluminum big wire?
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On Wed, 26 Mar 2008 20:55:21 -0400, "Stormin Mormon"

If you can't pull it out of the lug and clean it ... no.
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OK, that's the answer, then.
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Should I go squirt a bunch of noalox on the connections at the church camp, in the disconnect box, near the water front?
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Should I go squirt a bunch of noalox on the connections at the church camp, in the disconnect box, near the water front?
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I guess I should boil it into a simple question. Should I go open the panel box, and dump generous ammounts of noalox on the aluminum connections?
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