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Old 08-27-2007, 10:53 AM   #1
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Aluminum wire? Which outlet to use?


Hi all, My mother-in-law has asked me to replace the outlets in a bedroom in her house, she went out and bout everthing for it. When I got there to change them out the wires were a shiny silvery color not the standard copper color. It looked like the inside was the copper color but the ouside wasn't, when I scrapped the wire with my knife it looked yellowish. I was concerned that it may have been aluminum, and she bought standard copper outlets. I relunctantly installed the ones she had. but I grow more and more concerned the more I think about it. What if it was aluminum? How can I tell for sure? should I just get the aluminum outlets? But if I use those and it is copper wire, will I just be in the same boat? I am very perplexed on what I should do about this..she is to cheap to get an electritian to come over, and has the attitude of "if it's not broke, don't fix it" as right now they are working. What should I do? Can I just put in aluminum wire outlets, just to be on the safe side, and will they work with copper? Thanks for any help guys! Not sure on the age of the house but I would place it in the 50's 60's early 70's. It doesn't look at all like knob and tube. Thanks.

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Old 08-27-2007, 01:31 PM   #2
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Aluminum wire? Which outlet to use?


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..she is to cheap to get an electritian to come over, and has the attitude of "if it's not broke, don't fix it" as right now they are working. What should I do?

This has been the root cause of many large red trucks with ladders and flashers showing up at homes.....

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Old 08-27-2007, 03:02 PM   #3
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Aluminum wire? Which outlet to use?


If the end of the wire has the characteristic copper color, and the wire dates from 50's or 60's, you most likely have a "pretinned" copper. This was done to prevent deterioration of the rubber insulation from the copper, and to facilitate soldering, which was a popular connection method at that time.

Aluminum wire has the shiny silver color all the way through and is noticeably more flexible.
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Old 08-27-2007, 03:26 PM   #4
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Aluminum wire? Which outlet to use?


Receptacles are approved for aluminum or copper.
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Old 08-27-2007, 03:34 PM   #5
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Aluminum wire? Which outlet to use?


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Receptacles are approved for aluminum or copper.
Not all are. They must have the "CO/ALR" designation to be approved for aluminum and not all of them are so designated.
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Old 08-27-2007, 04:56 PM   #6
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Aluminum wire? Which outlet to use?


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Receptacles are approved for aluminum or copper.
WHAT???
Read HH's reply.
Actually VERY few devices are rated CO/ALR. You probably have to search/ask for them.

The wire in question is tinned copper as stated. Standard copper rated devices are fine.
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Answers based on the 2008 & 2011 NEC.
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Old 08-27-2007, 06:36 PM   #7
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Aluminum wire? Which outlet to use?


Thanks guys for the quick replies, I can sleep a little better tonight!!!

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