I suspect it's aluminum - how do I cap it off?

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  #1  
Old 01-11-11, 07:28 AM
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I suspect it's aluminum - how do I cap it off?

Virginia house built in 1975. Opened the clothes dryer breaker and disconnected the appliance - we havent used it for 5 years and I am remodeling the laundry room to be washer-only (washer plugs into a standard 110v socket already present - I will probably GICI this... but I digress...). The electrical cable coming out of the wall to the dryer looked funny to me : it was 3 wire, about 10 gauge each, and all 3 were silver braided wires. I expected copper - everything else in the house that I have done has been standard copper and I have touched a lot of wires from the sub-panel out.

All I want to do is install a box, clip the wire back into the box, safely wire nut the ends, and put a blank template over the box.

But is this wire aluminum? Does this change how I should be dealing with this? It's such a simple thing I had to call a pro just cause I am a little spooked. Opinions pls. I can post a pic if needed.
 
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Old 01-11-11, 08:16 AM
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Post the pic. You say "braided". Is it really "twisted". Is it in conduit to the panel? It should not be aluminum at 10 gauge. Do you feel safe pulling the cover off the panel? If so, look on the casing on the cable and give us the numbers off it if there is enough to read. Where it attaches to the breaker, does it look like shiny aluminum?
 
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Old 01-11-11, 09:37 AM
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It may also be tinned copper. Scrape a bit on the end of the bare wire and see if you find copper inside the core of the wires.

You can safely cap off the wires regardless of copper or aluminum. Just put a wirenut on the end of each and a blank faceplate on the box. Leave the fuse out or the breaker off if it makes you feel better.
 
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Old 01-11-11, 09:39 AM
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Just noted the writing on the wiring and googled it: "TYPE SE CABLE STYLE U TYPE XHHW CDRS (the CDRS part is faded but based on what another data sheet said I am pretty sure that is what is stamped) 300 VOLTS TO GROUND..." and a bit more. Do you still need a pic? I cant see to the service panel but the sheathgin looks the same. And you are right - it is twisted, not braided, and the individual wires are more like groups of 6 x 16 ga., not 10 ga. So... pull the wire out of the wall (issue with selling the house later without a dyrer hookup), pull a new copper wire through in its place (cost I am trying to avoid), or just cap it off at the wall? Aluminum spooks me. Should I leave the breaker off?
 
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Old 01-11-11, 09:43 AM
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Just snapped off a tiny bit - silver to the core. Thanks for the info. You think it's OK to leave in the wall? Does cutting it back cause an issue down the road to re-splice enought to connect to a dryer later?
 
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Old 01-11-11, 09:46 AM
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Just sitting there aluminum wire is no problem, nor is it a problem to have it connected to receptacles or breakers that are rated for aluminum (CO/ALR). The trouble with aluminum occurs when you connect it to other wires. Leave at least 6" of each conductor in the box where you cap it off.
 
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Old 01-14-11, 04:57 AM
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OK. Cut it back. Left 9" and installed a double size terminal box since this aluminum doesnt coil up the same way that copper does. Used red wire nuts and a metalic blank with gasket over the whole mess. Shut off the breakers at the panel. Did I need something besides the red wire nuts just to cap each wire? Is there something trick for aluminum in this application that I am supposed to be using?

Now on to the rest of the laundry room remodel. Will be installing a GICI device, fire rated fan, etc.
 
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Old 01-14-11, 07:55 AM
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Sounds fine to me....................
 
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Old 01-14-11, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by knothandy View Post
Used red wire nuts and a metalic blank with gasket over the whole mess.
If you were actually splicing this cable for use, you'd want to use aluminum-rated wire nuts and NoOx. Since you're just capping it off, no current will be flowing through it, so you're all good.

You may want to include a note in the box or the main panel indicating what you've done for someone a few years down the road trying to figure it out.
 
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