AL wires

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Old 12-27-02, 09:55 AM
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AL wires

What happens if you don't put that "grease" when you use AL conductors? I've run some AL wire from the meter base to the panel, and din't put any "grease". Should I go back and squirt some in there? I guess the "grease" is there to protect the AL from corroding.
 
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Old 12-27-02, 11:59 AM
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RickJ6956
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The "grease" ("no-ox"?) is there to help prevent the wires from loosening and is extremely important!

AL wires heat and expand as the load increases. When they cool down, they loosen. The next time a load is placed on them, they heat faster because they no longer have solid contact. This heating/loosening cycle will eventually cause a fire, because AL wires will heat up to glowing-hot even with loads well below the circuit rating.

It is a seriously dangerous situation and should be corrected immediately.
 
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Old 12-27-02, 12:44 PM
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I understand the wires would warm and get hot if there is resistance between the AL cable and the terminal. I will loosen the connections and put some "grease" on them as soon as it gets warm (outside). This if for a vacation home, and everything is shut off for the winter.
 
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Old 12-28-02, 05:31 AM
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RickJ6956
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I would suggest that you remove the wires and dip them in the no-ox.

My experience: Some AL wire was used as a service input in the original Home Shopping Channel TV studio where I worked. In the control room one night, we smelled something burning. Called the fire department and shut off all but two small lights, one camera and some low-draw peripheral gear.

No fire, but those AL leads were glowing red/white. The wood mounting plate was scorched. The Fire Marshall said we caught it just in time. He also strongly suggested that we move either the door or the panel because in the event of the panel causing a fire, we couldn't get out.

We had no problems after the no-ox was applied.
 
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Old 12-28-02, 06:52 AM
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Removing them might be a problem for one panel, but I can loosen the connection and put a lot of no-ox on them (and lift the wires with a screw driver so the no-ox will get on all sides).
 
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Old 12-28-02, 10:48 AM
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I grease the screws on all those lugs also. Dry threads sieze and will not tighten properly. You can also re-tighten then after a year or 2 if they are greased. At my shop we oil every bolt we install.
 
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Old 12-30-02, 06:14 PM
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I agree with Rick, it is a very serious situation. I live in a home built in 1972, and it has AL wire upstairs. You really have to be careful/knowlegable when you work with this stuff. I had a neighbor who connected some CU and AL wires together for a baseboard heater and almost 3 mile islanded the place! It is getting really difficult to find the CU/AL recepticals and switches these days and they are expensive. But you have to match them up......no .99 recepticals for me!
 
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Old 01-02-03, 01:00 PM
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solipsist9
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yet another discussion about why aluminum wire should be banned.
john
 
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