huge question...

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Old 05-06-08, 09:19 AM
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huge question...

okay, recently, my hot water heater went on the fritz. So, someone came to look at it and discovered that the home I just bought in February has been wired with aluminum wiring. This was the supposed cause for the wiring melting and burning causing my water heater not to work properly. I was told that it was against code to use aluminum wiring but I have no clue what to do. I attempted to search for codes with no luck and am now hoping that someone can help me understand all this. Thanks in advance for any information.
 
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Old 05-06-08, 09:35 AM
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Finley, You'll get more info from some of the Pro's, but aluminum wiring is against code for new construction and repairs/remodels. It takes special skills and parts for it to be safe. It was allowed sometime back, I don't know exactly when.
As I understand it, and don't hold me to this, it needs special switches and outlets, and even the connectors need to be a certain type. I believe some of the problem is that it oxidizes, and can cause bad connections. Also something about it expands and contracts more than copper, so connections can loosen over time.

There are many, many houses with aluminum in them, and they can be perfectly safe if properly maintained. In fact the main power feeds to most houses, even new houses, are heavy aluminum, if I remember correctly.

As I said, you'll hear more from the Pro's I'm sure.
 
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Old 05-06-08, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by finleygoddess7 View Post
I was told that it was against code to use aluminum wiring but I have no clue what to do.
It is now against code to use aluminum wiring in branch circuits because it has been shown to have a higher failure rate than copper wiring. Many houses in the 60s and 70s were wired with aluminum before the danger was known. Many houses have aluminum wiring still in good shape, but you'll need to have it inspected by an electrician who has experience with aluminum.

Read this site from top to bottom to learn about aluminum wiring and what to do about it:

http://www.inspect-ny.com/aluminum/aluminum.htm
 
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Old 05-06-08, 10:53 AM
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This was the supposed cause for the wiring melting and burning causing my water heater not to work properly.
Wiring that was part of the water heater or wiring supplying the water heater?

Aluminum wire might be a red herring here. If it was the supply wire it may have been a combination of too small wire and too large of a breaker. If you have a 20 amp breaker you must have a minimum of #10 not the usual #12 used if copper. If a 30 amp you must have a minimum of #8. Also the connection must be made with approved connectors and ant-oxidant (no-ox). The new water heater may draw more amps then the old one and that could under the right conditions of wrong wire size/ too large breaker melt wire without tripping the breaker.
 
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Old 05-07-08, 05:33 AM
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Circuit

Have the branch circuit for the water heater replaced with copper wire.
 
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Old 05-07-08, 08:43 AM
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Have the branch circuit for the water heater replaced with copper wire.
Agreed.....

There are several "POINTS OF INTEREST" that must be adhered to when working with aluminum. Having the individual Branch replaced with copper is a "Viable " option. Consult an Electrician or a Local Contractor as to "What Is necessary" to complete this.

A "Rewire" may not be feasible , financially at this time, But I would definitely have the house "LOOKED OVER" electrically" , Just for your own Peace of mind.
 
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