aluminum wire

Reply

  #1  
Old 03-02-07, 07:37 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: usa
Posts: 56
aluminum wire

I was in a home where someone had roughed in 12/2 aluminum romex for electric baseboard heat.This part of the house has all the outlets and switches wired with aluminum wire also.I've heard a lot of negative about aluminum wire.Any thoughts?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 03-02-07, 07:47 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
In the US aluminum wire is no longer allowed by code to be used for new (or remodeled) installations for branch circuits. What you saw is a code violation.
 
  #3  
Old 03-02-07, 09:18 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 111
Originally Posted by racraft

"In the US aluminum wire is no longer allowed by code to be used for new (or remodeled) installations for branch circuits."

Bob,
Can you provide the section to support this?
 
  #4  
Old 03-02-07, 09:21 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 32,807
Is the baseboard heater on a 15 amp breaker? That is max for 12/2/Al. If heater requires a 20 amp breaker the wire has to be replaced if I understand code correctly.
 
  #5  
Old 03-02-07, 10:49 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 111
Yes, generally, 12 AWG AL is limited to 15 amps.
I would question if this actually aluminum. I don’t think anyone has made aluminum “Romex” or type NM cable in 12 AWG for years. If this were left over from the 70’s I don’t think it would meet the standards of section 310.14.

When was the change from AA-1350 to AA-8000?
 
  #6  
Old 03-02-07, 01:02 PM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Now in Sun City, AZ
Posts: 134
Could that be 'tinned' copper?
 
  #7  
Old 03-02-07, 07:11 PM
Member
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 433
Originally Posted by MTTwister View Post
Could that be 'tinned' copper?

+1................
 
  #8  
Old 03-02-07, 08:58 PM
Member
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: New Bern, NC
Posts: 1,623
================quote

Originally Posted by racraft

"In the US aluminum wire is no longer allowed by code to be used for new (or remodeled) installations for branch circuits."

Bob,
Can you provide the section to support this?

==================/quote

start with 110.5 then prove where aluminum is expressly allowed. I think it is restricted to feeders and services.
 
  #9  
Old 03-02-07, 09:18 PM
Ed Imeduc's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Mountain Williams Missouri
Posts: 18,389
Wink

Id say just pull it out of there. If you dont want the home to burn down
 
  #10  
Old 03-02-07, 09:25 PM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 111
Section 110.5 says: “Conductors normally used to carry current shall be of copper unless otherwise provided in this Code.”

Section 310.14 gives provisions for aluminum conductors, including sizes 10 and 12 AWG.

The NEC Handbook has comments recognizing the use of 10 and 12 AWG AL conductors, and termination to 15 and 20 amp devices, in new installations.

I find nothing that limits AL to feeders or services.
 
  #11  
Old 03-03-07, 04:23 AM
Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Wilmington
Posts: 4,219
The problem with aluminum wiring was not the wire, but the device it connected to, outlets, switches etc. They were made of metals not compatible and the connection would loosen or corrode. The wire was used from about 1968 to about 1973. There are devices that work just fine with aluminum and are marked ALR, or CO/ALR. There is also a connector process to add copper pigtails to the aluminum wire that makes everything copper compatible. The wire is not banned if already installed, but it should be inspected for correct devices and tight connections. As correctly stated above, #12 is for 15A, #10 is for 20A. Aluminum is still in common usage for POCO feeds and service drops.
 
  #12  
Old 03-03-07, 10:21 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
I may be incorrect, and it may be that aluminum is allowed, provided it is the newer type. However, local codes may prohibit it for branch circuits. However, I think it would be very difficult to find. Further, I do not think an electrician would install it. Finally, I do not think an insurance company would approve of it's installation.
 
  #13  
Old 03-03-07, 08:56 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
I think it would be absolutely nuts to install new aluminum wiring in new 15 or 20 amp branch circuits. As has already been stated, there's nothing wrong with aluminum wire. It's the connections that cause all the problems. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC) does not consider CO/ALR or CU/AL receptacles and switches safe enough. The only method considered safe are COPALUM connectors, which are expensive to have done (and you cannot do them yourself).
 
  #14  
Old 03-03-07, 09:51 PM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: North of Boston, MA.
Posts: 2,113
Red face When?

When was this roughed in? I assume it is a "cape", and the previouse owners, (now retired) wanted to finish it off. But as time went on never got around to it.So now the new owners think " we have a head start". No you have nothing. Rip it out and start fresh. Anything done (as a rough) 20/30 YRS ago is useless.

Most times.. if open.. It is much faster to start fresh, rather than try to deal with the other mess.
 
  #15  
Old 03-04-07, 06:16 AM
itsunclebill's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Denver, CO area
Posts: 221
There's a lot of stuff here. Rant follows.

First, if at all possible this older aluminum wire should be replaced with copper. If it can't be done reasonably there are several methods of installing copper pigtails.

I find it somewhat suspect that the NEC requires electrical products to be listed by a recognised testing organisation and we take that at face value. But the CPSC, who is NOT a recognised testing organisation as defined in the NEC and relies on third party (possibly biased in this case) testing for it's information, has said a UL or other listing isn't good enough on the current UL listed devices rated for aluminum and has further muddied the water by stating that a proprietary pigtailing connector is the only thing they find acceptable.

I have used the Ideal purple wire nuts for years and as long as the directions are followed to the letter they have caused absolutely no problems. An even better connector is a fairly new 3 position setscrew connector that allows the splicing of any mix of 3 copper or aluminum wires from #14 - #10. The item does require the use of a torque screwdriver to maintain it's UL listing. While the connector is a great idea it is marketed in big box stores with alternate instructions for torquing that, if followed, do NOT meet the UL listing requirements. THAT is a problem in MHO and is a good indication that some products should be marketed only to the people who are trained and have the correct tools for installation.

I think if this forum is going to present information for folks to do their own work we need to present facts and not hype. There are a lot of houses in the US wired with aluminum and "pulling it out" isn't an option with many folks. There are recommended methods of safely connecting even the old aluminum wire used in 15 and 20 AMP branch circuits. If the CPSC is convinced that the current crop of AL rated devices isn't safe there would be a recall. That there hasn't been a recall of the suspect aluminum wire or a recommended remediation process insisted on by a lawsuit process indicates the CPSC process in this area is very flawed as there are definite safety issues with the wire and original devices as originally installed.

With all that, I don't recommend that DIYers tackle any repairs involving older aluminum wire as a good eye for various problems that might be encountered is necessary as are techniques for a good connection. Just my opinion though.
 
  #16  
Old 03-04-07, 10:11 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 111
I don’t know if any of this means anything.

In 2003 the CPSC released a bulletin proclaiming the COPALUM system as the only safe method to reduce the fire risk in aluminum wire circuits. The release reads as much like an advertisement as a safety bulletin.

In 2003 Harold, “Hal”, Stratton was the chairman of the CPSC. Stratton’s appointment to CPSC by the Bush administration was controversial. Historically, his actions served corporate economic gain rather public safety.

The COPALUM system is a product of Tyco International Ltd. In 2005 Tyco’s top two executives were convicted on 29 of the 30 counts brought against them. The charges included Larceny, Fraud, and Conspiracy.

Less than a year later Stratton resigned from the CPSC.

The UL has addressed the CPSC claims and continues to stand behind it’s own testing and findings. The NEC seems to agree with the UL.
 

Last edited by Juhl; 03-04-07 at 10:32 AM.
  #17  
Old 03-04-07, 11:20 AM
DaVeBoy's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,665
Originally Posted by Just Bill View Post
The problem with aluminum wiring was not the wire, but the device it connected to, outlets, switches etc. They were made of metals not compatible and the connection would loosen or corrode. The wire was used from about 1968 to about 1973. There are devices that work just fine with aluminum and are marked ALR, or CO/ALR. There is also a connector process to add copper pigtails to the aluminum wire that makes everything copper compatible. The wire is not banned if already installed, but it should be inspected for correct devices and tight connections. As correctly stated above, #12 is for 15A, #10 is for 20A. Aluminum is still in common usage for POCO feeds and service drops.
This post says it right here. I know because a rental mobile home of mine had it and I was scared for the tenants. They'd call me and I'd be going over there, then and again, to replace melting outlets. (Kitchen was hit the hardest, followed by the living room and one outlet in the bathroom that I then switched to a GFCI that had no problems after that.) I actually caught outlets/walls near outlets getting quite toasty while a load was either directly ON these outlets or passing through the duplex recepticle (by the recepticle's duplex jumper), going elsewhere. Thank goodness someone else bought the trailer as is, with all the aluminum wiring/problems explained and they remodeled and rewired.

But yes, technically it is not the wire in as much is what it is connected to and how well it stays connected.

I remember that all the ceiling lights I personally inspected had no problems whatsoever. They used that crimped connector method (NOT some do-it-yourself crimp method) of securing the ceiling light's copper wire to the aluminum house (trailer) wiring.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
'