aluminum vs copper wire


Old 02-22-05, 01:01 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 14
aluminum vs copper wire

What exactly is the problem with using copper outlets with aluminum wiring?
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Old 02-22-05, 01:21 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
I assume you mean copper-rated receptacles. The problem is that the connections loosen up over time. Then heat builds up. Then it starts a fire. Then your house burns down. Of course all that doesn't happen to everybody, just a few people.
Old 02-23-05, 02:17 PM
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As the electrons travel through the wire it heats up. As it heats up it expands. When the electrons stop flowing, it cools and shrinks down. Over time the expandind and contracting can and will loosen the conection at the plug, swith, etc. With a loose conection you get more sparking and heat. I have seen many a house with melted wires at the plugs. The good news is two fold, one the wire damage is mostly at the connections, not in the walls. And seconf there are a couple of fixes. First as allway amke sure ALL circuits are OFF before doing any fixes. Go to any electrical suppy store and explain that your house has Aluminum wire. The can either sell you a special wire nut or a tube of a compound that allows you attach 2 differant metals without getting corrosion. Then you pigtail (a short piece of copper wire about 6") from the aluminum wire on one end to the plug,switch, etc on the other end. Be sure to use THHN wire of the same gauge as the aluminum wire, eg:14 or 12. Now when the aluminum wire does its expanding and contrasting, it will be in the wire nut attached to the copper wire surrounded in the gel. And the copper will be at the screww on the plug, etc. This is also a great time to replace all plugs and switches as they may be a little chared.
Old 02-23-05, 03:07 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Canada
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