Cu/Al combo for ground wire

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  #1  
Old 10-30-13, 08:55 AM
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Cu/Al combo for ground wire

One outlet has GROUND Aluminum wire cut into less than half. In order to connect it to the plug I need to extend it. Can I join it with copper wire and connect. Can't find aluminum wire to buy from common places.

Thanks all !!
 
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Old 10-30-13, 09:17 AM
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Are you sure it's aluminum and not plated copper? What color is the cut end of the wire? Are the wires for hot and neutral also aluminum?

If it is aluminum, you should extend it by adding a copper pigtail. The only safe way to do that is to use a connector that prevents the two metals from making direct contact. AlumiConn is one such connector. You can get a free sample of 5 connectors (I think) from the company, which will get you used to how they work before you tackle the rest of the repairs.

I just noticed, BTW, that HD is selling 10-packs of AlumiConn connectors for the same cost per connector that the company charges when you order 100 of them.
 
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Old 10-30-13, 10:15 AM
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There is now a new 2 port AlumiConn connector made for this purpose, to extend 1 aluminum wire with 1 copper wire.

CPSC AlumiConn® Lug Expands Offering | KingInnovation
 
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Old 10-30-13, 11:41 AM
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Thanks Joe. I didn't like the page they linked to - one vendor and minimum quantity is 25 pieces - so I went browsing. It took a bit of digging even after I got to the site, but I did find 10-packs at AlCopStore.com. Kinda pricey, though, and it looks like you'd have to make a special request to get those as the samples.

Nice to know about, though, if for no other reason than fitting in the box better.
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 10-30-13 at 02:51 PM.
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Old 10-30-13, 02:23 PM
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...One outlet has GROUND Aluminum wire cut into less than half. ...
Do you mean a stranded wire had strands trimmed off to fit under a receptacle screw? That's not acceptable. It should be cut back until the full diameter of the wire can be used.

Also that means it's larger than #10 and will not fit in an alumiconnn. To attach copper wire a small AL/Cu split bolt is the correct repair.
 
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Old 10-30-13, 03:04 PM
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Glenn, I understood the OP to have a short aluminum ground wire that just needed to be extended to a length that would reach the receptacle.
 
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Old 10-30-13, 04:11 PM
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Thanks CasualJoe, I get it now. Alumiconn is perfect.
 
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Old 10-30-13, 07:52 PM
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Why can't i use the paste that they sell at home depot to connect AL with Cu wires. Also, when done with that paste, should I nut the wires or tape them.
Everything is going inside the metal box.

One more issue, at times the side screws of the outlet which connect to black, red and white wires, tend to touch the metal box which is basically ground. should i put a layer of insulation tape on the screws so that even if they touch (while taking out or putting in) no sparks show up.
 
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Old 10-30-13, 11:11 PM
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Why can't i use the paste that they sell at home depot to connect AL with Cu wires.
The "paste" you're referring to is probably NO-OX grease. It's used to prevent, or retard, atmospheric corrosion of aluminum conductors. It has no ability to prevent or retard galvanic corrosion, which takes place when two dissimilar metals are placed in contact. Using that may make a greasy mess inside the box, but it won't prevent the failure of the connection.

Also, when done with that paste, should I nut the wires or tape them.
Forget the paste. Forget tape. Tape should never be used to connect wires together. As for the wire nut ides, there is no wire nut made that can be used to safely cover an aluminum-to-copper splice.

If you're sure the existing wire is aluminum, it must be spliced to the copper in a way that makes electrical contact but prevents physical contact. There are two approved methods for doing that. One is expensive to begin with and only available through licensed installers (electrical contractors). The other is AlumiConn connectors. You can buy them at Home Depot. You can also order a free sample pack of five connectors online. BTW, if you're fond of NO-OX, relax. AlumiConn connectors have it packed inside each sleeve.

When you're done with the repair, you'll have two wires and a connector. Period.

Most of what I've said in this post, up till now, has already been posted in this thread. I almost answered this time by saying "Read the earlier posts." Have you read them?

Your new question:

One more issue, at times the side screws of the outlet which connect to black, red and white wires, tend to touch the metal box which is basically ground. should i put a layer of insulation tape on the screws so that even if they touch (while taking out or putting in) no sparks show up.
If every terminal screw is tightened down, none of them can touch the box once the device is mounted. Before working on any electrical device, the power needs to be turned off at the fuse or breaker. That will prevent both sparks and shocks.

No tape should be needed. A single wrap or two won't effectively prevent a shock anyway.
 
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Old 10-31-13, 06:03 AM
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Why can't i use the paste that they sell at home depot to connect AL with Cu wires. Also, when done with that paste, should I nut the wires or tape them.
You are in Canada, but the information from the US Consumer Product Safety commission is good and you should at least take a look at it in reference to using wire nut style connectors with aluminum wiring. In their opinion, NO WIRE NUT should ever be used with aluminum wiring. Better yet, print it and keep yourself that copy for future reference because if your home is wired with aluminum wiring, it's a case of WHEN you'll have problems and not IF you'll have problems.

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