Aluminum wire in 1978 mobile home

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  #1  
Old 02-24-06, 08:34 AM
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Exclamation Aluminum wire in 1978 mobile home

Well Hello,Could someone tell me any info on this wire,the mobile is a 1978 Glendale Riviera,It was on a piece of land we purchased,it is in not too bad shape,floors done with plywood etc.,.It was free with the land which we bought (bankrupcy).Anyway it has aluminum wire,it says on the entrance panel that the panel is approved for aluminum or copper.I have read quite a bit about this wire but get confused because they say it was not used after the early 70's,so is this a newer kind they tried?how save is it?are the connections special?This is my first post but read the form every day,We live in Nova Scotia.Canada,so the mobile was likely made here,Thanks Parker
 
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  #2  
Old 02-24-06, 09:10 AM
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Welcome, Parker.

Originally Posted by parker
it has aluminum wire
Where? in branch circuits?

> it says on the entrance panel that the panel is approved for aluminum or copper.
This is normal to this day.


> I have read quite a bit about this wire but get confused because they say
> it was not used after the early 70's,
For branch circuits. It it used every day for exterior feeders and in some places for interiors feeders and heavy duty branch circuits.


> so is this a newer kind they tried?
No.


> how safe is it?
That depends on how it is installed.


> are the connections special?
Yes.


You need to have a closer look in your panel.

Can you provide a photograph of the inside of your panel showing the wires on the ground bar / neutral bus?

This would tell us a lot.
 
  #3  
Old 02-24-06, 09:19 AM
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Aluminum is cheaper than copper. Aluminum was used for regular branch circuit wiring in the 1970s because it is cheaper. After a time, they found that homes with aluminum wiring had more fires that were traced to the electrical wiring than homes with copper wiring.

The problem with aluminum wiring is that it shrinks and contracts differently from copper and other metals. This means that connections made with aluminum wiring tend to work loose over time. As the connections work looser, the amount of heat generated at the connection increases. Fires were traced to poor connections.

Eventually aluminum was made against code for use on regular branch circuits. However, aluminum is still used for wiring non-branch circuits. The difference is that branch circuits have more connections, whereas non-branch circuits have fewer connections. (Compare a branch circuit with 8 receptacles meaning perhaps 9 connections vs. a main panel feed with two connections.) Branch circuit connections are also subject to movement. (For example, plugging in an electrical device may cause slight movement to the wires.)

Is aluminum wiring safe. That's a judgment call. Many insurance companies require that aluminum wiring be replaced before they will insure the house. Others may simply require yearly inspections.

What you should do is a decision only you can make. At the very least, I would recommend a complete inspection by an electrician familiar with aluminum wiring, and then supplemental inspections yearly. Obviously, any problems needs to be addressed.

As for special considerations when using aluminum wiring, there are many. Any connections need to be made in a special manner. I am not familiar with them, but I do know that you cannot simply connect aluminum wiring directly to receptacles and switches.
 
  #4  
Old 02-24-06, 09:48 AM
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Aluminum Wire

First of all Thanks,I can not provide photo as it is over 200 miles away,All the wires that lead out to the diff. locations in the trailor are green older type,they do have the ground wire(bare).So as this was done in the factory and the problem was already known i quess they used diff. plugins etc.?My hopes are to redo the mobile as it did not really cost anything and this is one of the first things i noticed.How big a deal would it be to rewire if you had the interior paneling out,I just think that it would be cheaper to remodel than to even buy used,as it is already on the lot,a decent used one would cost about 22,000.oo Can. up here,Thanks for the help Parker
 
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Old 02-24-06, 10:20 AM
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Originally Posted by parker
they do have the ground wire(bare).
Bare aluminum?

> So as this was done in the factory and the problem was already known
> I guess they used diff. plugins etc.?
It could be copper-clad aluminum or copper.
Color will rule out uncoated aluminum.


> How big a deal would it be to rewire if you had the interior paneling out
No big deal.
 
  #6  
Old 02-24-06, 10:35 AM
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not bare aluminum

Thanks again,No the aluminum wire is covered the same as the copper is today,plastic is skinned back at the connections,the ground wire is copper and is bare,as usual.See the problem is I just noticed it when we were about to leave for back here,I did notice the wires were aluminum colour,the older covering was dark green,and marked Au,but thats all i noticed at the time,not sure if there was more info. on the wire coating or not,Thanks for the quick help,Parker
 
  #7  
Old 02-24-06, 11:03 AM
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marked Au
Au = gold.
Al = aluminum.
Cu = copper.
 
  #8  
Old 02-24-06, 11:22 AM
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Red face My mistake Al

Thanks Bolide,Really sorry to waste your time on that one ,it must have been Al,Like I said I just noticed it as i was about to leave,Thanks again Sorry parker
 
  #9  
Old 02-24-06, 04:04 PM
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Rewiring could be a challenge if yours is like mine.

Where do the cables go after leaving your main panel? Mine go in a big gob up into the ceiling then travel to wherever, just above the ceiling tile and below the insulation. Apparently they run up there till they turn and go down the wall. I don't know how a person could pull new wire without taking the ceiling down, not good.

Is the paneling already off? If not, that's another challenge. Not only do they have a million brads in each panel they also glue the paneling to the wall studs. Let me tell ya, they used some good glue on mine.

Yours could be different.

Worth looking at and good luck!

Baldwin
 
  #10  
Old 02-24-06, 07:31 PM
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Rewiring mobile home

Thanks Baldwin,they do go up over head,soon of the ceiling has been replaced with a hanging ceiling,the paneling is still up but does not seem to be glued,not the ones i checked anyway.See the main thing i am wondering is would getting the work done,a lot of which i can do myself(wiring,siding)be cheaper than buying a used one.I want to get away from the big morgage payment,we got six and half acres in a good spot for eleven thow.canadian,the mobile was free,its a 1978 Glendale Reviera 68x14,the floors are redone with plywood,the belly needs some patching,but the rest seems in pretty good shape,so what do you think? Thanks for the info Parker
 
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