Aluminum Wireing

I have a house with Aluminum wiring throughout. My electrician replace all plugs and switches with new ones. Tightened up the electrical box. My electrician said it will need to be tightened in anther 30yrs because of how soft the aluminum wire is, which is fine for me.
A few people (Home Inspector / Another electrician) told me I should replace it with copper because of a fire hazard.
I'm going with my friend electrician who says its fine for another 30yrs.
Thoughts?
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Born2 wrote:

My thought is I am _VERY_ uncomfortable w/ Al wiring--there's a reason it has been essentially abandoned for all except large conductors.
That said, whether if I were in _your_ house I would replace all the wiring depends on factors I can't tell remotely--primarily the current condition and the conditions in the house itself. If there are no signs of oxidation or over-heating at any locations at present, that would mitigate the concern somewhat. If, otoh, even one or two of the outlets and/or switches were replaced because of such conditions, I would probably have done the replacement at the same time simply to remove the potential down the road. Another one is related to the climatic conditions--in a dry environment w/ no basement, I'd also be concerned less. In a damp climate, otoh, I'd have much higher level of concern.
The problem w/ the 30-yr scenario is it only takes one night while asleep on any particular night to negate the whole thing. IMO, the comfort of not having that one nagging area is fairly high on my list of things I wouldn't like. While having Cu doesn't totally negate the possibility of the same thing, history has shown a higher propensity for problems w/ Al.
I don't know that I would do it the first week after getting a new house, but it would certainly be on my list of "to-do" items and I would also discount the value of the house in case of a purchase to cover that expected expense in making any offer. I'd have to find the house/property otherwise an overwhelming opportunity or of extreme desirability to overcome the general aversion against Al wiring, however, in the first place.
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dpb wrote:

If i were looking at a house(to buy), and i discovered it had #12 or #14 branch circuits using AL wire then I'd politely decline to proceed with the purchase and walk away from it. I've seen way to many AL wires with corrosion and heated joints - i dont want anyting to do with it. I havnt seen problems (only minor ones) with large AL service conductors but even then, if i were doing a service for my own house? it would be copper - no question about it. Eric
Eric
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Born2 wrote:

Trade houses with your 'friend' and let him and his kids sleep in the house with the aluminum wiring.
My house has the supposedly safe copper-clad aluminum wiring and I will be replacing all of it this fall. I'm not a fear-mongoring wacko that doesn't have granite counters because of radon but there is a reason why animals run from fire.
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It's not that they need be new. It's that they need be certified for aluminum wiring. Are they? Do you have any of the boxes they came in? If not, you can remove one and look what is embossed on the plastic. Be sure to reinstall it the way one is supposed to. (I think that means tightly but I'm not sure. :) )

Don't konw what that means.
More below

Don't confuse copper-clad aluminum with aluminum. AIUI the first has no problems.

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Born2 wrote:

Replacing the wiring is pretty much prohibited by cost.
The best site on aluminum wiring I have seen is: http://www.inspect-ny.com/aluminum/aluminum.htm Last time I looked most of the information at the site was derived from a Consumer Product Safety Commission investigation, which spent a lot of time looking at aluminum wiring (and tried to force a recall).
The best link at the site for options is: http://www.inspect-ny.com/aluminum/alreduce.htm This is written by a professional engineer who did extensive research on aluminum connections for the CPSC. Based on the research, the paper has a wide range of fixes, including just monitoring. Using rated CO/ALR devices is one option, but there is a recommended procedure for making the connection including applying antioxide paste to the wire then abrading the wire to remove the surface layer of aluminum oxide, which is an insulator. There is also a detailed procedure for making connections with wirenuts.
The only fix recommended by the CPSC is using special COPALUM high pressure crimp connections which can only be done by a trained electrician using a special tool; quite expensive if you can even find the electrician.
If I had aluminum wiring I would at least go through circuits that are likely to have high amp loads, redo all wirenut connections, and pigtail out copper wires to receptacles - using the recommendations in the alreduce paper.
bud--
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wrote:

There is a new device that is as good or better than Copalum and does not require special tools and training. http://www.kinginnovation.com/products/alumiconn.html Also bear in mind the inspect-ny site is a home inspector site with the major intent of driving down the purchase price of homes. Most of these scary stories are 20-30 years old. I think if your aluminum wired home is not having problems it probably won't if you don't screw with it. These problems were usually traced to bad workmanship by the original installer or homeowner intervention. I don't like aluminum on "binding screw" devices but I also think there is a lot of hype in the legend. There is no problem at all in aluminum in a "barrel and set screw" type lug. In fact most of the lugs are aluminum alloys themselves. They actually test better with aluminum wire than with copper.
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Thanks.
That's the way I felt since the house is 30yrs old and my electrician replaced ALL switches and plugs. I thought it was the home inspector trying to drum up some business for HIS electrician friend. You basically said the same as my friend.

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Nobody has ever established the danger when CO/ALr devices were used and properly installed. These devices use a binding screw with an alloy that matches the expansion characteristics of the aluminum wire, the screw is bigger and the bearing surface is ridged. If your electrician used CO/ALr devices you should be fine.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

So simple! Why didn't I think of that, seems like it would be pretty effective. Any idea how big they really are? Looks like it might be tough to squeeze into a junction box.
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You can order a sample to see yourself but they are fairly small. If you are pigtailing the wires you can usually shove this back in the box pretty easy
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

It is comforting that you know the intent of the site.

Last time I looked, the "home inspector" site was almost entirely information that came from the CPSC investigation of 15 and 20 Amp branch circuit connections. That included extensive testing of aluminum wire connections. I know of no other extensive tests. One finding was that 'properly' made aluminum connections could fail. Since the CPSC tried to force a recall of aluminum wire, they must have thought their research was adequate as a basis for the recall and able to withstand the inevitable lawsuit. (The court found, in the inevitable lawsuit, that aluminum wire was not a "consumer product" and could not be regulated by the CPSC.)

My understanding is that connectors for large aluminum wire deform the wire (with screw or crimp) which breaks the aluminum oxide layer. That is not likely with wirenuts or "binding screws". The AlumiConn connectors look like they would also deform the wire and break the oxide without other prep. Looks interesting.
bud--
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Born2 wrote:

It it was properly done using proper materials, you should be fine for those 30 years. At my age, I don't worry about 30 years from now. :-)
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
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Hi;
I had aluminum wiring in my house that was built in 1971. I bought the house in '88' so it was 17 years old at the time. I went to install a ceiling fan and noticed that the wire ends were very brittle and they broke off in my hand. I really had some concerns but didn't act on them. In 1994, I decided to replace my deteriorated clapboard siding with vynal. I tore off all the clapboard siding and while I was there, I replaced all of the wire runs in the exterior walls with copper. This was very easy since the studs were already exposed. By the time I worked all the way around the house, all the aluminum wire runs were replaced with copper. Then there were only about 5 or 6 interior wall wire runs to do. I did one or two a weekend. It was a very easy job for a do-it-yourselfer. I had the city inspector check it out and everything was a first time pass. I am really glad I did it after checking the conditions of most of the aluminum wires. They were in really bad shape. I also replaced all of the electrical outlets and switches at the same time. They were cheap and I had no issues with a different outlet going out every 2 or three months or so. I completed the whole project in 1994 and have never had a problem since. I would strongly encourage you to consider replacing your aluminum with copper. You should also make contact with your home owners insurance agent. Copper wiring lowered my insurance rates.
Take Care Pat
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I would not chance it. At least replace the wiring to the heavy appliances, refrig, washer/dryer, furnace, aire cond, power tools, etc. Powering a few lights or a vacuum cleaner or tv should be fine.
Mark

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On Thu, 31 Aug 2006 02:05:25 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@UNLISTED.com wrote:

Huh? I suggest you look at the power draw of a vacuum cleaner before you say things like that. Most "real" vacuums use more current (13a or so) than the furnace blower (1/4hp), washer (1/2hp) and frige (1/6HP) combined. The dryer will be using 8ga wire in a setscrew type lug if it is aluminum so that is not even a factor.
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I forgot to mention. I hope this guy used the APPROVED outlets switches, etc. They clamp tighter on the wire. Dont even think of using those cheap 49 cent ones you get at HD or Walmart.
They are labelled CO/ALR.
Mark
--

On Wed, 30 Aug 2006 14:15:24 GMT, "Born2" < snipped-for-privacy@filth.ik> wrote:

>I have a house with Aluminum wiring throughout. My electrician replace all
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IMHO, I am not your electrician, or own your home:
Aluminum wire is safe. Before the flames, I still use it, and many electricians use it for service enterance cables. Services are almost 100% inspected, so they are they are looked at enough to prevent future problems.
It is when unsafely used, it becomes unsafe. The NEC addresses the safe installation of Aluminum, and when electricians don't use the codes, is when dangerious situations happen. So I think we can all agree, only dangerious wiring is wiring an unsafe electrician installed.
Contact your insurance company, see if they 'cover' your home. Check with electrical code enforcement. Add this to your ablity to reason, and then decide your course of action.
If I had aluminum wiring in my house, I would ensure all connections(where the problems generally happen) were safe. Meaning I would pig tail all ends with copper, so I can use regular receptacles, and check all existing connections for the proper wire nuts. Then if I was still concerned, I would put an arc-fault protection on those circuits, since it's the arcing at bad connections in the past that has caused problems, not the wire itself. The AFCI breakers might be cheaper than rewiring a whole house. But then this is me trying to guess about wiring, I do not currently have.
Was your current electrican licensed, and insured? You only want qualified persons working on your house.
later,
tom
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wrote:

The AFCI breaker (currently sold) will not detect a series arc. Maybe some day they will come out with that mythical device but they haven't been successful so far..
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