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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Fayette County, Ohio
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    Default Re: aluminum wiring overhaul

    Quote Originally Posted by woodwoman View Post
    Can't sleep. I went to the AlCop site and see the connectors you're talking about. How do they work/where do they go? Do they fit in the box like right next to the receptacle? Do you use them in addition to replacing the non-rated receptacles with rated ones? The house I'm in was built in '76, so it doesn't have the earlier aluminum wiring that is so unsafe. I don't have a problem with making the changes myself, but I don't want to try to fix my wiring and burn down the house. I can do basic stuff, but it's like my father-in-law used to say: You can change your own oil, replace your own battery but have a professional fix your brakes. If this is something only a pro should do, I need to know that. Just as I have no problem in attempting basic stuff, I have no problem in admitting something is over my head and I need to call a professional.

    If I install these connectors, do I need to pigtail the outlet? What exactly does that entail? Do I need a special crimping tool?
    The connectors I prefer are the Alimiconn
    They screw type connectors, require no special crimp tool. Put the aluminum wire in with paste, tighten and then put you copper pigtail in the next slot and tighten. Periodically you open the unit and re-tighten the screw on the wires. You can use then to make the copper pigtails for the outlets so you can use standard receptacles and switches. You can use them for you lights by connecting you aluninum wire in one slot and your fixture wire in another. you can use them anyplace you would normally use a wire nut. This is a unit that a competent homeowner can use.

    If the crimp connectors are used and the tools is not in good shape, or the alum wire loosens over time you have to cut the wires and install a new crimp. That's why I don't like them.

    You should also tighten or have tightened the connections in your breaker box.

    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Posts
    10

    Default Re: aluminum wiring overhaul

    As much as I don't want to admit it, it sounds like I should have a professional do this. The last thing I want to do is "fix" myself into a problem. Is this the sort of thing I need to have fixed Monday or do I have time to get estimates, etc?

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Fayette County, Ohio
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    Default Re: aluminum wiring overhaul

    Well, you've had at least two near fires already. Are you a gambler?
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Shamokin, Pa.
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: aluminum wiring overhaul

    I have never run into a situation where aluminum cable was the was the wire of choice. Lucky me..... Have heard about it though and the dangers it presents.
    Thanks to all for posts, as I have learned a lot.
    Those Alimiconn connectors are quite the product.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
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    10

    Default Re: aluminum wiring overhaul

    I'm not a gambler w/stuff like this. Is $3500 a reasonable estimate to do this? Is there an average per outlet/fixture so I can count these up and see what this will cost? I'm not going to put this off BUT I don't want to be ripped off either. Is there anything I should beware of, anything I should stipulate?

    Is there any recourse I have? I wouldn't have bought this house if the inspector hadn't said it was perfectly safe. There was never any mention of expanding and contracting and that eventually it would be a large problem that would have to be addressed? It's been seven years since I bought the house but it seems that this is a pretty large problem.

    Thanks for your input.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,621

    Default Re: aluminum wiring overhaul

    Personally, I think any homeowner should get at least 2 itemized estimates from separate sources. To be done right who ever does the work will have to check and update if necessary all outlets (receptacles, lights, switches, etc.), all connections in junction boxes, and connections in the breaker box. You have no idea what other modifications had been done over the years.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    731

    Default Re: aluminum wiring overhaul

    Here's the big issue, that I don't see anyone has covered. Despite your having the later 70s aluminum wiring....

    The guage. All 14 guage needs to go, not safe with 15 amp protection.
    All 12 guage needs to be downgraded to 15 amp circuit protection - replace 20 amp breakers with 15 amp breakers.

    The presence of 14 guage aluminum on 15 amp breakers or 12 guage aluminum on 20 amp breakers even with switch, receptacle replacement, pig tails, filled aluminum wire nuts, the recommended professionally installed crimp connectors or JLMCDANIEL's fancy (SCREW POINT!!!!) connectors wouldn't make 14 guage aluminum wiring safe anywhere and wouldn't make 12 guage aluminum on anything more than a 15 amp circuit breaker safe.

    That you experienced these failures using a portable electric heater, or the refrigerator receptacle doesn't surprise me. 120 volts max when your pulled power is high aluminum will fry, I heard that somewhere...can't remember the source (might have been the insurance's claim adjuster trying to lighten the mood with some rhyming humor).

    All 20 amp circuits need complete rewiring with copper 12 guage. You can't wire 120v switches, GFCI combination devices or switches with 10 guage aluminum.
    That's going to cover your refrigerator/freezer receptacle if you have a larger one; your small applicance circuits, your bathroom circuits, and your laundry circuit.
    If you've got an installed microwave - that's another one that can push the limit too.
    Check with your authority having jurisdiction as to how far they will insist you go with bringing up to safety those circuits that you open and start working with since you'll likely be at least downgrading some of those existing circuit breakers and pulling out every bit of 15 guage aluminum wiring - because that is not safe pre or post 1972.

    Here is a Consumer Product Safety Commission Document on the subject.
    It is more comprehensive and complete than any information you have received here so far but its a little outdated, and don't think it covers the issue of needing fatter wires with aluminum for same amps. It is an adobe type document. If you do not have the program or wish not to have it, you can call the CPSC and ask them to mail a written version of it to you. It is CPSC document number 516, "Repairing Aluminum Wiring".

    http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/516.pdf

    Now if you're really interested in what the hazards may or may not be have a look at this report (not for late night reading, since you've said you're prone to sleeping disturbances thinking about the "issue"!):

    http://www.kinginnovation.com/pdfs/R...Fire070706.pdf


    P.S. You might also want to learn more about Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (so you can consider and discuss options with your electrician/s):

    http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/afci.html
    Last edited by Blue RidgeParkway; 01-05-2009 at 10:32 PM. Reason: added a post script about Arc Fault Protection

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
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    4,045

    Default Re: aluminum wiring overhaul

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue RidgeParkway View Post
    Here's the big issue, that I don't see anyone has covered. Despite your having the later 70s aluminum wiring....

    The guage. All 14 guage needs to go, not safe with 15 amp protection.
    All 12 guage needs to be downgraded to 15 amp circuit protection - replace 20 amp breakers with 15 amp breakers.

    The presence of 14 guage aluminum on 15 amp breakers or 12 guage aluminum on 20 amp breakers even with switch, receptacle replacement, pig tails, filled aluminum wire nuts, the recommended professionally installed crimp connectors or JLMCDANIEL's fancy (SCREW POINT!!!!) connectors wouldn't make 14 guage aluminum wiring safe anywhere and wouldn't make 12 guage aluminum on anything more than a 15 amp circuit breaker safe.

    That you experienced these failures using a portable electric heater, or the refrigerator receptacle doesn't surprise me. 120 volts max when your pulled power is high aluminum will fry, I heard that somewhere...can't remember the source (might have been the insurance's claim adjuster trying to lighten the mood with some rhyming humor).

    All 20 amp circuits need complete rewiring with copper 12 guage. You can't wire 120v switches, GFCI combination devices or switches with 10 guage aluminum.
    That's going to cover your refrigerator/freezer receptacle if you have a larger one; your small applicance circuits, your bathroom circuits, and your laundry circuit.
    If you've got an installed microwave - that's another one that can push the limit too.
    Check with your authority having jurisdiction as to how far they will insist you go with bringing up to safety those circuits that you open and start working with since you'll likely be at least downgrading some of those existing circuit breakers and pulling out every bit of 15 guage aluminum wiring - because that is not safe pre or post 1972.

    Here is a Consumer Product Safety Commission Document on the subject.
    It is more comprehensive and complete than any information you have received here so far but its a little outdated, and don't think it covers the issue of needing fatter wires with aluminum for same amps. It is an adobe type document. If you do not have the program or wish not to have it, you can call the CPSC and ask them to mail a written version of it to you. It is CPSC document number 516, "Repairing Aluminum Wiring".

    http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/516.pdf

    P.S. You might also want to learn more about Arc Fault Circuit Interupters (so you can consider and discuss options with your electrician/s):

    http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/afci.html
    15 amp circuits using aluminum wiring are 12 ga. ...... not 14 ga. as you claim.
    They are and have always been one wire size larger than copper .
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
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    Default Re: aluminum wiring overhaul

    Quote Originally Posted by canuk View Post
    15 amp circuits using aluminum wiring are 12 ga. ...... not 14 ga. as you claim.
    They are and have always been one wire size larger than copper .
    Has been for as long as I can remember.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Shamokin, Pa.
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: aluminum wiring overhaul

    Quote Originally Posted by JLMCDANIEL View Post
    Has been for as long as I can remember.
    Jack
    Google is not perfect, we have to remember that...

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