Copper Wire?

Old 05-18-02, 08:05 AM
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Copper Wire?

How can I tell if my house has copper wire? I've read that *most* homes after the early 70's have copper wire but it's the term *most* that scares me. I'm going to install/replace a new outlet and don't want to put in one that is for copper wire if I have aluminum wire and vice-versa. I guess I could check the old outlet to see if it says anywhere on it "for copper wire only" or something like that. BTW, this is a prefab modular home biult in 1984. Is there an easy way to be sure? Thanks for any help!
Old 05-18-02, 09:32 AM
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YOu may look at the wire if it has a copper or light brown color then most likely you have copper wire. If you see a silver color then most likely you have aluminum wire.

Cut a piece about 1" long off a receptacle and take it to your nearest electrical supply house or electrical inspector. A trained eye can rapidly tell you if you have copper or aluminum wire if you have doubts.

Old 05-18-02, 10:00 AM
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First of all, you can't trust the marking on receptacle. There are millions of receptacles on aluminum wire that are not rated for aluminum wire (which is a bad thing).

Second, you asked the wrong question. The key determination is not whether or not you have aluminum wire, but whether you need the special outlet for aluminum wire. If you have either copper, or copper-coated aluminum, then you may use a normal receptacle. So if the wire looks copper-colored, that's good enough.
Old 05-20-02, 03:22 PM
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Thanks for the help peeps. I'm going to replace 2 outlets tomorrow and hope that they work. Both are not working right now so I'm hoping this fixes my quandry.
Thanks again and wish me luck............

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