Extending Aluminum Range Wire with Copper

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  #1  
Old 01-13-05, 11:38 PM
TheRhino
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Extending Aluminum Range Wire with Copper

I'm remodeling a 30 year old kitchen and need to move the location of the range over (on the same wall) by 2 feet. The existing wire that goes into the receptacle contains 2 thick aluminum(??) wires and then wires that are threaded around those, all contained in black insulation.

The Range breaker is a double pole 40AMP, so am I assuming that both thick wires are hot, and the threaded wire is the shared return/ground

I went to Home Depot and the guy told me to connect with regular wire nuts a piece of Black, White, and Ground wire in black insulation (in a junction box) then run that to the receptacle. I did this, and then installed cabinets and countertop over top of that junction box. The stove seems to work fine, although it has not been stressed.

Now I'm worried that that was aluminum wire and i connected copper to it. Is this bad? I'm not sure why I didn't think about it at the time, but I might be able to run new wire from the panel, down the wall, underneath the floor and up into the kitchen. Should I re-wire or is it safe the way it is?

Many thanks in advance.
 
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Old 01-14-05, 12:35 AM
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Yes its Bad.

I would get the aluminum wire replaced

This is a good link is on aluminum wire.

http://www.inspect-ny.com/aluminum.htm
 
  #3  
Old 01-14-05, 12:43 AM
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I recommend pulling a new line.

If you choose to keep the existing aluminum wire, I would purchase similar wire for the extension and use the existing receptacle, or one that is properly rated for aluminum wire.

The reason has to do with the potential fire hazard associated with electrolytic action between aluminum and copper or brass. (Plumbers often refer to this as "galvanic action" to describe the corrosive action that occurs between galvanized iron and copper pipes.)

As long as you use correctly rated receptacles you should be OK with aluminum. The terminal screws should be marked CO-ALR for 15 to 20 amp service, and CU-AL for higher amps.
 
  #4  
Old 01-14-05, 02:42 AM
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You could double check that wire at the panel, by throwing the breaker and carefully backing it out for a peek. Maybe it's just coated/plated (e.g. tin). The cut ends will prove it.
 
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Old 01-15-05, 10:23 AM
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You have several problems with what you did.

The ground wire should never have been black.
The only twist-on wire connector for aluminum is not rated for use with the size wires you are dealing with.
The junction box needs to remain accessible without removing any part of the building finish.
 
  #6  
Old 01-15-05, 10:34 AM
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TheRhino,

I would run a new 6-3 w/ground copper wire from the panel to the location and wire it into a new 50 amp outlet. I would also replace the 40 amp breaker with a new 2 pole 50 amp breaker. This will remove all doubt.

A range is something that is used virtually everday and can pull some serious amperage. The heating up and cooling down sequence that occurs over time can loosen up any connections. If it were me, I'd rest a whole lote easier knowing I went that extra step and eliminated any potential problems.

Just my opinion...
 
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Old 01-17-05, 07:04 AM
TheRhino
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You all have been a great help. So now I must rewire this circuit, and I have 2 options i wanted to get your thoughts on.

1. I think the best way will be to go through the wall the panel is in, down through the floor, under the wall that seperates the room the panel is in and the kitchen, and up through the kitchen floor to the outlet.

2. If that is not accessable, can I run the wire through the panel, down the wall, then have it come out into the closet (with the panel and the HW heater), and straight through the adjoining wall into the kitchen? Only concern is the wire will then be exposed. Would I then need to run it in conduit?

Thanks for all your help!!
 
  #8  
Old 01-18-05, 01:45 AM
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Originally Posted by TheRhino
come out into the closet
Isn't that a contradiction in terms?
Originally Posted by TheRhino
Only concern is the wire will then be exposed. Would I then need to run it in conduit?
Yeah. Two boxes and conduit

or,

frame off that bit of the closet and cover it in drywall, etc.
 
  #9  
Old 01-18-05, 05:17 AM
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TheRhino,

It's good you are running new wire for this ckt.

If it were me I would route the wire the most practical, shortest, yet safest way. Think ahead where it needs to be protected and allow for extra length. I like to add a 10-15% fluff to the overall. You don't want to get it all run and find out you are 6 inches short. This wire is pennies a foot and in this case, longer is better...
 
  #10  
Old 01-18-05, 08:00 PM
TheRhino
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Exclamation

OK Guys.. I went back to the panel and found that is it one that is not stocked in the home improvement stores. I think it is an ITA Industries (could be way off, forgot the paper I wrote it down on).

The reason this matters is that the existing breaker is a double pole 40AMP, and I doubt I can find a replacement 50amp breaker. I don't want to rewire the entire subpanel.

Now the question becomes: If I keep the existing 40amp 2xpole breaker, should I run 6-3 wire to a new 4 prong outlet? or do I run 6-2 to a three prong outlet? Advantages over one or the other?

Many thanks in advance-
 
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