Built my house in the early 1970s, for those who can remember that far back,
was when aluminum was popular as an electrical wire because the price of
copper had skyrocketed. Even though I was on a tight budget, I paid the
price and installed only copper wire in the house. I cut corners to pay for
copper by buying cheaper finishing items that could be easily replaced at a
later date, and they were replaced. Many years later, many remodels later, I
am still happy, safe and comfortable that some of the original wiring is
still in place and working properly.
Back then the NM cable had each wire paper wrapped over the insulation,
additional paper cords to fill out 3 wire cables to make them rounder, then
a paper over wrap under a braided sheath which was soaked in tar then
painted orange. Finally they coated the cable in a wax material to make it
easier to pull through holes in the wood framing. It took time to strip the
ends of the cable and to work your way down to the actual wires. There is
still some of this cable in use in my house.
Bite the bullet, buy copper, save money on something else, you won't regret
Either you built that place earlier than you remember, or your supply house
gave you some real old stock. I was a gofer in my old man's construction
company in that era, and the romex we used was all plastic skin by 1966 when
my father built his dream house. My grandmother's 1961 house had the
multi-layer cloth stuff, as does the original part of the expanded 1960
cookie cutter I am sitting in now.
But to the question at hand- nothing but copper for household wiring and
potable water supply side. PVC is okay for drains. Haven't ever used PEX- I
understand it is popular in Europe- but it has a bad rep in this country
from the cheap crap they put in trailers, er, 'manufactured housing', for
I believe you may have polybutylene and pex confused. Pex seems
totally different than PB.
I believe pex has around 30 years service in Europe. Many contractors
going with pex now as the "copper recyclers" will break out the
drywall to get the copper plumbing and wiring.
Its gotten so bad around here and recycling prices have gotten so high
that contractors have had to hire patrol vehicles to watch their houses
during the night and weekends. Several have reported having the wire
stripped from houses the night it was installed. Copper plumbing taken
out. Heck, one air conditioning supplier in town had the coil stolen
from the air handler they cooled their own building.
I'm waiting for my first theft. I install aluminum ornamental fencing.
Wonder what would happen if I wired an electric fence box to the
fence.......that would be worth seeing.
And the Boston Globe reported a wew weeks ago that a lot of bronze
plaques are disappearing from monuments all over our area.
I attended a funeral at a huge cemetary last monday and couldn't help
noticing that the grave markers were all the "flush with the ground"
ones each having a pretty fair sized bronze plaque on it. I wonder how
long before those start "growing legs" too. (Why did it take me until
just a couple of years ago to realize they went to those ground level
grave markers because mowing the grass is so much easier that way?)
On another newsgroup someone was asking for a way to separate solid
copper pennies from the copper plated zinc ones, because there's far
more than a penny's worth of copper in the solid copper ones.
My kid was given permission to take away some old romex and some heavier
gauge copper wire from a plant rewiring job where he works. He took a
tangled mess of it maybe three cubic feet in volume to a local scrap
metal dealer and came home happy as a pig in s**t with nearly a hundred
bucks in his wallet. I hope his bosses never catch on to what they gave
His boss should be happy. I work for a large company and lots of wiring was
torn out. This is big 4/0 size to about # 12. We sold about $ 40,000 worth
and it only cost us about $ 60,000 to get it removed.
Look for steel to come back in place of aluminum in highway signs and
guardrails. They are taking the entire guardrail out here. Report in
the paper where a company lost a batch of copper wiring. Cut pff from
breaker boxes with the circuits live.
I haven't seen a house built with copper pipe here for 15-20 years. It
is all CPVC and PVC.
The aluminum salesmen are starting to hint at using aluminum in 15 and
20a circuits again. It has always been common in 40a or greater
circuits and the power company uses it almost exclusively.
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