Circuit Box Problem = No Hot Water


Old 05-05-15, 07:31 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,393
does that mean main circuit breaker panel or combination panel are rated for aluminium?B'cz even there i mostly see CU-AL
Only wiring devices (switches and receptacles) marked "CU-AL" or "AL-CU" were really only designed and tested for copper only wiring. Lugs and circuit breaker lugs marker "CU-AL" are fine for both aluminum and copper terminations if the are properly torqued. They are made of tin plated aluminum.

As Ibpooks mentioned, only wiring devices marked "CO/ALR" were designed to be used with aluminum wiring and then only with the terminations being properly made. Most box stores stock these devices today.

The issue in the '60s was that contractors across the nation were hammering the device manufacturers for devices designed for aluminum wiring and there was no such item then being produced. U.L. told them to mark the existing products "AL-CU", but it was an optional thing. I have a copy of a letter from U.L. to Circle F Industries stating this.
Sponsored Links
Old 05-05-15, 07:35 PM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: usa
Posts: 23

Thanks man.I don't wanna open a pandora box here but i won't be able to sleep if i don't ask I have seen neutral service entrance conductor wire to be bare aluminium,do you think it is for lightining protection?so that lighting can go easily through bare aluminium and into the ground?through earth grounding ofcourse.

And also can we have separate earth ground for each subpanel?i know it will be easy to run a wire or if conduit is metal it takes care of itself but even then i am just like curious george,i need to know
Old 05-05-15, 07:43 PM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: usa
Posts: 23

I thought UL tested the product every couple of days and thats why they use "Listed By" instead of approved by b'cz they keep them testing.
Everything that i learned need to be reevaluated in light of this new finding
Old 05-05-15, 09:08 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 12,285
The bare neutral is just because of the type of cable that was used to feed your panel. Lightning can easily go through the insulation on normal building wire.

In sub panels the neutrals and grounds should always be separated.
Old 05-06-15, 11:02 AM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 9,393
I thought UL tested the product every couple of days and thats why they use "Listed By" instead of approved by b'cz they keep them testing
U.L. tests till they list the product and then the testing stops unless resubmitted by the manudacturer who is paying for all the testing. I usually steer away from any product that says "Approved by U.L." or "Meets U.L. Requirements" because it doesn't say it was specifically tested by U.L. and listed. "Approved by..... and Meets U.L......" are two ways to try to fool the public. Unless the official U.L. logo appears on a product, it isn't listed. Beware though, it used to be that sometimes a U.L. Listed cord would appear on a non-U.L. Listed product making the entire product appear to be U.L. Listed.

As far as I know, there was no testing of the receptacles in the '60s when U.L. told manufacturers to apply the "AL-CU" marking probably because no one had submitted a device designed for aluminum wiring. It was generally accepted back then that there would be no problem using the same receptacles and switches that were used for copper wiring. The same went for wire nuts back then as well and most wire nuts even through the early '80s were listed for "Cu-Al", but that has changed. Today there is NO wire nut U.L. Listed or approved for aluminum to aluminum connections and only the Ideal purple #65 Twister wire nut is U.L. Listed for aluminum to copper connections although it has an extremely high failure rate.
Old 05-07-15, 07:33 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: May 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 10
Alright gentlemen here is the update,
The night I called my electrician and explained the problem verbally and forwarded him to my thread here, he had a solid idea of what was going on. He offered multiple times to come out that night, but again I respectfully declined. He came at the agreed upon time the next day and explained to me exactly what was going on (in simple terms so I could understand). Sorry if I mess this up, but here it goes. He explained that aluminum wire will expand and contract when it heats up and cools down, there SHOULD HAVE been that liquid compound (he showed me his bottle of the stuff) applied at some point- non was there at all. Due to all that, my connectors that screw down the wires became loose over the years and that top left main cable had too much room and welded the screw to the housing, so any attempt to turn it would most likely break in place. He also showed me how loose some of the smaller negative wire screws were (about 2-3 screwdriver turns), and pulled out the top two breakers and showed me how they were melted on their tops due to the heat. Thus, the panel needed to be replaced. He immediately went to the major home improvement store to look for a panel that matched my panel's dimensions, but there was no luck. He had to go to the local specialty parts store in the morning and as an overnight Band-Aid (because we had no where else to go for the night) he shut off all power that was being sucked from that super hot side. We had the bare luxuries (fridge and bedroom lights) for the night and the glowing hot metal went away. The next morning he returned with a new panel, installed it in about 2 1/2 hours max. He put that compound on the wires and cleaned up his own mess. There was so much more information he was telling me about aluminum wires due to him learning how to be an electrician with aluminum wires as his educational base. I felt confident with him, he kept my family's safety on the forefront, and he worked with my budget. I could not have asked for more. Additionally, he showed me where to tighten as maintenance, guaranteed his work for literally a lifetime and advised to call him with any questions or concerns. Thanks for your help and advice guys. If you ever here of anyone needing solid work done in the Columbus/Fort Benning area of Georgia, [Commercial link removed per forum guidelines.] is the way to go.

Last edited by ray2047; 05-07-15 at 07:51 PM.
Old 05-07-15, 07:46 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,058
Sounds like you got a good electrician. Thanks for letting us know the outcome.
Old 05-07-15, 08:15 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,594
Glad it worked out.

BTW, the antioxidant paste is a good practice, but is not required.
Old 05-10-15, 07:41 AM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: usa
Posts: 23
Glad that it worked out for you.I never knew loose aluminium wire can do so much damage to panel.One more thing i learned and one more thing to keep eye on.
Old 05-18-15, 03:44 PM
JosiQDIY2015's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: United States of America
Posts: 126
Hi CasualJoe,

I said:
''If you used CU-AL, etc. that's NOT acceptable for Aluminum wires, even that states AL.''
- JosiQDIY2015

And you asked:
''Where did you learn that? That is exactly right!''

Well, I will not answer where, but despite that unfortunately I did not born in the USA... fortunately I have learnt a lot of things about USA regarding all kind of Sciences, Disciplines, Law, History; all kind of Codes and Regulations, etc. in the United States. I know a lot about almost everything in USA, a lot of things.

And when I don't know something or ignore minor details, I am able to learn it extremely fast Thanks to God for my high I.Q. Level of 140, and my High Knowledge.

God Bless the USA!


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