Aluminum wiring help needed

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  #1  
Old 04-28-13, 07:19 PM
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Aluminum wiring help needed

I have a home with aluminum wiring and wanted to know if its ok to use, Ideal 65 Purple Twister Aluminum-to-Copper Wire Connector its a new product sold at home depot, or can I replace my breakers with an arch fault breakers instead of using Alumiconn connectors because they take up too much room inside the switch boxes.

Any help would be appreciated
Thank you
 
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Old 04-28-13, 07:29 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

You are talking about two different things. Arc fault breakers can be installed in your panel if you are looking for arc fault protection.

However... the wire nuts you are asking about would be used in the junction boxes when you add copper pigtails to the aluminum wiring so that the connection to the device is copper.

So basically the wirenuts will be required to repair the wiring at the devices but the arc fault breakers are an item that could be added but are not required.

Based on Ray's link to the current problems you should either not use the purple wirenuts at this time or be aware of the the risks involved with using them. Thanks for that link Ray.
 

Last edited by PJmax; 04-28-13 at 08:32 PM. Reason: additional info
  #3  
Old 04-28-13, 07:55 PM
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Best to read up on purple wirenuts before using. Burned Purple Wirenuts (Ideal #65) AL-CU

Link is not an endorsement of the company. Posted only as an information reference.
 
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Old 04-28-13, 08:06 PM
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From what I have read recently if I had any 15 or 20 ampere circuits (even 30 ampere circuits) wired with aluminum I would do whatever was necessary to replace them with copper wiring. Aluminum wiring for large fixed appliances such as ranges, electric furnaces and air conditioners don't seem to have the same troubles as the convenience receptacle and lighting circuits.
 
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Old 04-28-13, 09:22 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

I have a home with aluminum wiring and wanted to know if its ok to use, Ideal 65 Purple Twister Aluminum-to-Copper Wire Connector its a new product sold at home depot
The purple wire nuts from Ideal are not new. They have been made and sold for years, and they have been failing for years. You should not use them for anything except protecting a copper-to-copper splice.

You should not splice copper to aluminum is any manner in which the two metals can come in direct contact with each other. This means that there is no safe way to make such a splice that involves using a wire nut.

can I replace my breakers with an arch fault breakers instead of using Alumiconn connectors
You should replace the standard circuit breakers in your panel with AFCI breakers for those circuits that require arc fault protection in addition to repairing your aluminum wiring correctly and safely.

because they take up too much room inside the switch boxes.
The proper size AlumiConn connectors, properly installed, should not take up any more room than the proper size wire nut. A standard size device box should accommodate any standard device, the wires it needs, and the required number of AlumiConn connectors. Have you attempted doing a repair and found that you didn't have sufficient space for everything?

If so, you may need to replace the box with a larger one.

Pictures will help us see what you're facing. See How To Include Pictures.
 
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Old 04-29-13, 05:37 PM
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I have a home with aluminum wiring and wanted to know if its ok to use, Ideal 65 Purple Twister Aluminum-to-Copper Wire Connector its a new product sold at home depot, or can I replace my breakers with an arch fault breakers instead of using Alumiconn connectors because they take up too much room inside the switch boxes.
I see some good advice already given out on this frequently discussed topic. Please don't use any type of wire nut for aluminum to copper connections. Here is some good information for repairing your aluminum wiring.

http://www.cpsc.gov/PageFiles/118856/516.pdf

Sometimes salespeople will recommend arc fault circuit breakers in lieu of properly repairing aluminum wiring, but the arc fault breaker does not detect a poor connection that is burning up and that is what most commonly happens to aluminum branch circuit connections (aluminum to aluminum and copper to aluminum). By the way, the saleperson at Home Depot is probably not aware that the Ideal #65 purple twister IS NOT to be used on aluminum to aluminum connections. A properly installed AlumiConn connector is the best way to go. That also means that it must be properly installed by torquing to the specified torque value with a torque screwdriver.
 
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Old 04-29-13, 06:30 PM
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If it were my house, I'd start replacing the aluminum wiring. While the COPALUM solution is well proven, it's expensive and can only be done by trained/certified electricians. Even with the COPALUM pigtails, you'll still get hit on your homeowner's insurance as well as it's a big red flag if/when you decide to sell.

I've just started reading up on the AlumiConn connectors, and while they may be safe and a good alternative to the COPALUM pigtailing, you still have aluminum wiring and it'll still be a homeowners/selling nightmare.

Hey, it'll be a good excuse to learn more about wiring and hang out here more often with all of us fine folks
 
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Old 04-30-13, 11:41 AM
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Thanks for the help I'm going with the alumiconn for me to rewire the whole house will be so expensive and my homeowner ins didn't ask about the wiring and maybe do arch breakers also
 
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Old 04-30-13, 05:48 PM
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I'm going with the alumiconn for me to rewire the whole house will be so expensive and my homeowner ins didn't ask about the wiring and maybe do arch breakers also
Be sure to invest in a torque screwdriver and follow the instructions/specs. The arc fault breakers are fine (buy the combination type) and they are required by the latest codes, but just remember, they give you no advantage over aluminum wiring problems.
 
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Old 04-30-13, 05:51 PM
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If it were my house, I'd start replacing the aluminum wiring. While the COPALUM solution is well proven, it's expensive and can only be done by trained/certified electricians. Even with the COPALUM pigtails, you'll still get hit on your homeowner's insurance as well as it's a big red flag if/when you decide to sell.
Frankly, I wouldn't buy a house with aluminum wiring. I did, however, buy a home once that had one aluminum circuit to the furnace in the basement. That one circuit was easily replaced with copper.
 
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Old 04-30-13, 07:35 PM
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I've just started reading up on the AlumiConn connectors, and while they may be safe and a good alternative to the COPALUM pigtailing, you still have aluminum wiring and it'll still be a homeowners/selling nightmare.
If a proper repair (changeover) is done, that should allay that problem.
 
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Old 05-01-13, 06:10 PM
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If a proper repair (changeover) is done, that should allay that problem.
Yes, a proper repair should do it, but very few homeowners realize the challenge presented by starting a proper repair. Each and every receptacle box and each and every switch box needs to be inspected for wire nutted connections and those connections properly replaced with AlumiConn connectors. In addition, each and every light fixture needs to be removed and the aluminum pigtailed to copper wire for proper connection of the light fixtures. Not to mention, there could be numerous junction boxes forever hidden under attic insulation.
 
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