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Old 03-10-2009, 05:42 PM  
Skins Brew
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Default Aluminum Wiring Question

Hey all,

I guess this is my first post in these forums, so Hello everyone!

I have a question about aluminum wiring. My wife and I are buying this house (under contract) that has aluminum wiring. The seller has agreed to make the repairs to make the house electrically safe. I have a brief understanding of what they do with the COPALUM method and my question is will I be able to add stuff like a bathroom vent fan or ceiling fan with out calling an electrician to do the COPALUM thing?


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Old 03-10-2009, 07:46 PM  
speedy petey
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NO!

I would not plan on doing ANYTHING with the existing wiring. Anything new you do would have to be run all new right from the panel.


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Old 03-10-2009, 10:56 PM  
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Welcome Skins Brew:
I completely agree with Speedy Petey. I just want to add a little more to his answer. After seeing aluminum wiring with a few years on it I want to advise ripping it all out and replacing it with copper. In my experience aluminum is a fire hazard; I don't know how they got it past Underwriter's Laboratory as being worthy to wire a house with.
Price? Well, copper is down some right now and there are probably some electricians out of work but whatever it costs can't compare with replacing the pile of ashes that used to be home.
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Old 03-11-2009, 08:27 AM  
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Aluminum is what your local energy company is bring into you main distribution panel.
Aluminum is not bad, it just requires special handling which makes copper the preferrable material for electrical distribution.
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Old 03-11-2009, 01:52 PM  
speedy petey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kok328 View Post
Aluminum is what your local energy company is bring into you main distribution panel.
Aluminum is not bad, it just requires special handling which makes copper the preferrable material for electrical distribution.
This is true, but AL is no longer allowed for smaller branch circuits. Not that you could buy it if you wanted to.
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Old 03-11-2009, 07:58 PM  
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Hey Speedy Petey:
Man, am I glad to hear that! I have seen too many receptacles in mobile homes that burned out and scorched the wall. I can only wonder how many of them we didn't get to see; mobile home fires cover a lot of stuff up because they are usually a total loss.
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Old 03-11-2009, 09:11 PM  
speedy petey
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You are not kidding!

Trailers/mobiles truly are a death trap if wires with AL branch circuits.


For feeders, large circuits and services AL really is fine today, provided it is installed properly. Same can be said for copper I guess too.

I have seen first hand the aftermath of a bad (copper) wire termination in a meter pan. There was a cooled/hardened puddle of molten copper at the bottom of the enclosure. I kid you not.
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Old 03-12-2009, 03:11 PM  
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Default Hmmm

You guy's think the mice I find cooked in the panel knew the difference?
Bottom line, if you have branch circuits with Aluminum wiring, you really should have it evaluated by a Licensed Electrician now.
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Old 03-13-2009, 07:59 AM  
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I agree with Glenn about totally replacing the aluminum wiring. You never know what has been done to patch and repair behind the walls where it can't be seen.
hth, Doug
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Old 03-19-2009, 02:33 PM  
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I use to live outside of Chicago and it was a farming county, where the codes were considerably lower than the city. Of course the builders will try and cut costs anyway they can so they used Al romex in the whole city (at that time). The problem I ran into ALL the time wasn't the wire itself, but the way the electricians would wire the switches and outlets. So many times they would just backwire the outlets. Well.. the brass spring inside the outlets and the Al wire didn't like each other and eventually would start to eat at each other until the wire broke or start to arc in the outlet. I would have to go in and "side wire" every outlet and switch in the house. And trying to "trouble shoot" a bad circuit... when they run Romex the cables don't seem to go where you think they should!! Not like pipe!


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