+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: Silver wiring

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    1

    Question Silver wiring

    My condo is in a converted apartment building built in the 50s. When I had the place inspected before I bought it, they told me I had silver wiring. There were also a few problems with the polarity being reversed in some outlets. The few overhead lights I have are old and kind of scary looking. One of them dims whenever I turn on the hairdryer. I can't use an electric radiator in my bedroom because it trips the circuit breaker. I want to get the light fixtures updated and the outlets fixed and maybe one or 2 new ones added.

    My first question is, should I have the silver wire replaced? The inspector made it sound like it was a bad thing, but from what I've read ******, silver is a better conductor than copper but isn't usually used in residences because of the cost.

    Second, if I do need to have the whole condo rewired, how much should I expect to pay? The whole condo is under 600 square feet and I live in the Boston, MA area.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default Re: Silver wiring

    Never heard of silver electrical wiring.

    Tinned copper wire (protected from deterioring effects of rubber insulation before thermoplastic insulations for wire) can look silvery in color (center of a freshly nipped end woul be copper colored in the center, and Aluminium wire can look silvery in color.

    Soldered connections in junction boxes taped with electrical tape for insulation over the twisted then soldered connections sometimes found in 50's but would have expected wiring updates with condo conversion depending on when it was converted.

    Aluminum wire was popular in the late 60s and early 70s.

    A lot of space heaters use a lot of watts. Maybe too much for an old and long 15 amp circuit can provide especially if other use on the same circuit.

    When in doubt, get an electrician. Changing the circuits, extending them to include more outlets and such probably needs a permit, maybe permission of the condo board if in common walls, and should probably be done by an electrician.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Southern Cal
    Posts
    1

    Default Re: Silver wiring

    Silver wiring could very likely be aluminum. An obvious way to tell is if the wiring is heavier than typical copper. House hold aluminum wiring could be at least #12 wire. Where as copper will typically be #14 if the circuit is under 30 Amps.

    Caution: Be very careful about connecting aluminum to copper. The dissimlar metals will eventually corrode and cause a bad connection causing lights to dim as more load is turned on. Or the connection may heat up and could cause a fire.

    There is a solution/paste called NOALOX made by Ideal, available at Home Depot or Lowes or most any hardware store. Put a dab of that on any connection where aluminum and copper meet.

    Also check new switchs and outlets. Most today will be labled "CU (copper) Only". Avoid connecting Aluminum to these outlets and switches.

    JJR
    Last edited by JJR; 04-26-2009 at 03:58 PM. Reason: mis spelling

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,836

    Default Re: Silver wiring

    NOALOX anti oxidant past can be used on aluminum cable connected to cu/al connector but I don't believe it can be used to wire nut cu & al wires together. As far as I know there is no approved wire-nut for AL to CU. The only approved connectors I know of is the Alumiconn and Copalum crimp connectors. The Copalum crimp connection requires a special crimping tool and the Alumiconn connectors have to be properly torqued.

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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,699

    Default Re: Silver wiring

    It's bad enough with people stealing copper, imagine if the wire was made out of silver. Besides that you'd have to polish it before company comes over.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,836

    Default Re: Silver wiring

    Quote Originally Posted by ed21 View Post
    It's bad enough with people stealing copper, imagine if the wire was made out of silver. Besides that you'd have to polish it before company comes over.
    Only if it's a formal gathering.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  7. #7

    Default Re: Silver wiring

    Tinned copper has no aluminum and requires no special connectors or pastes and looks silvery and is more likely than aluminum wire for a 50s vintage building.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,661

    Default Re: Silver wiring

    I've heard of silver wiring, but it could have been tinned copper and the person I was talking to was mistaken. I've never seen it, myself.

    Silver is an excellent conductor (better than copper) and if the wiring is indeed silver, that alone is not a good reason to replace it. Reasons to replace it would include deteriorating insulation or the need for grounded wiring.

    If it is indeed silver, maybe the scrap price will pay for the rewiring.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
    Posts
    4,045

    Default Re: Silver wiring

    Quote Originally Posted by JLMCDANIEL View Post
    NOALOX anti oxidant past can be used on aluminum cable connected to cu/al connector but I don't believe it can be used to wire nut cu & al wires together. As far as I know there is no approved wire-nut for AL to CU. The only approved connectors I know of is the Alumiconn and Copalum crimp connectors. The Copalum crimp connection requires a special crimping tool and the Alumiconn connectors have to be properly torqued.

    Jack
    I'm not sure if these are allowed there ... but Ideal does have a wire nut rated for AL to CU....
    http://www.idealindustries.com/produ...ster_al-cu.jsp
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •