The Inspection Bureau, Inc.

"Electrical Safety Since 1888"
Serving Cincinnati, Hamilton County and Northern Kentucky


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Aluminum Wiring

 


INSPECTION BUREAU, INC.
250 WEST COURT STREET, SUITE 125 W
CINCINNATI, OHIO 45202

www.inspectionbureau.com

 “Electrical Safety Since 1888”

 

Information For Aluminum Retrofit Jobs

We frequently are asked what is the best way to deal with the wiring in homes that were built between 1965 and 1973, where the 15 and 20 amp branch circuits are wired with aluminum conductors.

Although the use of aluminum branch circuit conductors has been suspended for 15 and 20 amp branch circuits, aluminum wiring is still installed in homes every day. Examples include service entrance conductors, feeder cables, HVAC circuits, range circuits, dryer circuits, etc.  

Almost all of the problems that we hear about today have to do with “old technology” aluminum wiring that has been terminated on switches and receptacles that had their UL listing withdrawn because of the problems that developed with the connection between the aluminum branch circuit conductor and the brass alloy screw on the device.

There are three basic ways to resolve the aluminum wiring “problem” with branch circuit devices (switches and receptacles).

·       The permanent solution is the Copalum method. (This is a crimp method of joining a copper pigtail to the aluminum wire. The copper pigtail is then terminated on each device.)

·       The second method is the use of wire-nuts or other approved devices that are UL listed for this purpose. (This method also consists of joining a copper pigtail to the aluminum wire. The copper pigtail is then terminated on each device.)

·       The third method is to replace the switch and receptacle devices with devices that are listed for use with aluminum wire. (This method is probably the least preferred by the inspection community because subsequent homeowners may unknowingly replace the aluminum rated devices with unapproved devices.)

 

Inspection Bureau, Inc. is not in a position to recommend or endorse any of the three methods mentioned above. Any of these methods, if done properly by a skilled electrician, will improve safety. Arguments can be made pro or con for each method. Also, when retrofitting, be sure to correct the lighting fixture and appliance terminations.  Additional information about repairing aluminum wiring may be obtained from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at www.cpsc.gov.

 

 

Gaylord Poe, Chief Electrical Inspector

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