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Old 06-03-2009, 07:20 PM   #16
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Aluminum wiring, copper only devices


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I disagree. The electrician made a simple mistake that everyone here could have made. He should get the first opportunity to replace the devices. Just let him replace all the devices that are not rated for dual duty (AL/CU). Why spend money on a new electrician when you can get it corrected for no additional charge.
I would not use wire nuts in this case. I would daisy chain the recepts. This way every connection possible is a pressure connection. Make sure he does not back stab either. Especially when dealing AL conductors.

I have been in this trade for a long time. I cannot ever remember a time I checked the receptacles for a AL/CU rating. Who knows how many I have installed that may have been for copper only. I will look from now on though.
sorry but you only get one chance to kill me. Then I am on the offensive. This is not a "simple mistake" This guy claims to have been wiring for near 30 years. He knows about aluminum wire and the requirements for terminating.

You say you don't know when the last time you checked a device for al/cu rating; when was the last time you installed a recep using aluminum wire?

and to giving him a chance to fix it; no legal requirement to do so. As I said, you only get one chance to kill me so he would not be coming back and he would be paying me back my money. Whether it took small claims court or the Jersey method, this guy would be giving me a refund.

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Old 06-03-2009, 09:00 PM   #17
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A "simple mistake" is installing a switch upside down. There are no simple mistakes with AL wiring. One would also have to wonder if he used an anti ox on the wires and if you used a wire nuts anyplace.
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Old 06-03-2009, 10:18 PM   #18
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Aluminum wiring, copper only devices


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sorry but you only get one chance to kill me. Then I am on the offensive. This is not a "simple mistake" This guy claims to have been wiring for near 30 years. He knows about aluminum wire and the requirements for terminating.
Gotta agree.. I've done plenty of datacom installs, and I'm pretty sure that if I punched down every single jack in my client's building ass-backwards, they wouldn't want me coming back to fix it. I'd offer to do it for free, of course, but I'd be surprised if my original bill came back paid.

And some miswired ethernet ain't gonna kill anyone..
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Old 06-07-2009, 09:21 AM   #19
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Aluminum wiring, copper only devices


Let me clarify for any doubters. Several years ago I got a call from my wife saying," don't worry,the fire department is already here, we've had a problem"
I live in a 35 year old custom home with AL wiring. When we upgraded the range hood to OTC microwave about 10 years ago I unknowingly added a non AL receptacle... double problem, heavier draw on the circuit with potential for over heating and non AL receptacle. My workmanship was fine but the recptacle overheated due to fault in the micro and the plug and recepatcle began to smolder.
There was no actual fire just a smolder and smoke but in her panic my wife could not find the extinguisher on the pantry doorway 5 feet away and the FD was literraly driving by on test runs. Lucky us
When no combustable cause was found the FD was required to call the fire inspector who in turn was required to call in the Hydro Athourity. End result I had to install a fresh dedicated circuit and receptacle and have a general household inspection. Net cost $170 including my time and labour, plus recepatcles. FYI I could not find AL rated GFCIs at the time...
The inspector was great. I actually clipped the recptacle and its wire stub 4" back of the box as a keepsake reminder. Although the AL was still secure on the brass screws the heat buildup started there due to load from a defective microwave??? The ensuing inspection required a dedicated circuit and suggested one for the fridge as well and upgrade to AL/CO receptacles on any circuits or pigtails and paste and ALCO twist connectors. This meets Ontario, Canada code.

This was a cheap lesson and we were lucky. Before the reinspect I questioned the Hydro inspector and then went through the entire house inspecting all pig tails and recepatacles and ilight fixtures etc. I upgraded every joint with paste and AL/CO Connectors and I walked through on the reinspect and got an A+++
A single receptacle was a danger but I can't imagine any contractor saying he wasn't aware of this oversight.
I would be handing the guy his materials save for one each, a non AL GFCI and a receptacle and swith with the AL pigtails still attached for the court case.... and getting a refund, but I would also take photos of his work beforehand for my court case.
You need to shut this guy down for the sake of other neighbours and he needs as serious rap on the knuckles and his name in the news. Sorry.... I'm betting he billed cash with no reciept???
And sorry J.V. to step on your toes but I can't imagine what you've left behind that is potential for harm.
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Old 06-07-2009, 02:47 PM   #20
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Aluminum wiring, copper only devices


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There was no actual fire just a smolder and smoke ...
Well that gives me a warm and fuzzy....

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A single receptacle was a danger but I can't imagine any contractor saying he wasn't aware of this oversight.
Oh he was aware of it...he was the electrician I had inspect the house before we bought it...he told me about the AL wiring, saying it is safe if handled properly...I trusted this guy to be honest...[/quote]

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I would be handing the guy his materials save for one each, a non AL GFCI and a receptacle and swith with the AL pigtails still attached for the court case.... and getting a refund, but I would also take photos of his work beforehand for my court case.
You need to shut this guy down for the sake of other neighbours and he needs as serious rap on the knuckles and his name in the news. Sorry.... I'm betting he billed cash with no reciept???
Actually, I have the receipt and have told him I have another electrician coming in to fix his "oversight" and I would be taking pictures of every device, sitdown and write a very detailed letter to the City and any other overseeing agency in state of florida to make a formal complaint against him.

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Old 06-07-2009, 07:53 PM   #21
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I just had quick glance at this thread, and one thing puzzles me!
I'm under the impression that all electrical switches and receptacles sold in Canada since the 70's must be CU/AL rated.
Where are these non-rated devices comng from.
Are they found in someones junk box?
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Old 06-07-2009, 08:05 PM   #22
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Aluminum wiring, copper only devices


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I just had quick glance at this thread, and one thing puzzles me!
I'm under the impression that all electrical switches and receptacles sold in Canada since the 70's must be CU/AL rated.
Where are these non-rated devices comng from.
Are they found in someones junk box?
well, the OP is in Florida, I do not believe Canadian situations would be applicable
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Old 06-07-2009, 08:09 PM   #23
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Aluminum wiring, copper only devices


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I have asked for the refund, but he says that he should be allowed to fix the problem himself and would not provide a refund
Mention the words "Registar of Contractors" and see if he doesn't change his mind.

Installing coper devices directly on to AL wiring is NOT an oversight, it's negligent.

I still pigtail devices. I feel it is safe and effective. It seems like the best solution if you can't easily replace the circuits. If you are going to tear out and refdo your kitchen, running new is a great idea. Kitchen circuits get the most use.
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Old 06-07-2009, 08:16 PM   #24
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The [very] old GFI receptacles were "Back-Stab" without "Pressure Clamps". Then, one day I noticed the difference i.e. the "New" clamps + the addition of [room for] Three wires on One terminal and I was very happy!
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Old 06-07-2009, 08:34 PM   #25
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It's obvious that the original Electrical Contractor took his license out of a Breakfast Cereal box. (Sorry for being so mean. He unwittingly (here I am judging him kindly) installed a multi-point fire hazard in someone's dwelling! Anyone who dealt with Aluminum wire knows what a dangerous installation this is! Reminds me of a "Doctor" I knew. He NEVER wrote any Prescriptions. He dispensed medication out of several jars in his office! (I believe there are very few MDs who post on this Website. Yet we all know how dangerous it is to take "a little bit" of Anti Biotics. One day I was in his office and I noticed the extent of his medical credentials. He was an Army Medic. Now, this is not in any way to diminish the importance of the Army Medics. But he never followed his Army experience with Med. School!!!

Last edited by spark plug; 06-07-2009 at 08:39 PM. Reason: Typographical error "Typo"
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Old 06-07-2009, 08:38 PM   #26
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well, the OP is in Florida, I do not believe Canadian situations would be applicable
Yes! Thats true! Sorry that I missed that point, got side tracked by the Chemists #19 post.

However, as the problem with aluminum wire has been known since the 70's, surely AL/CU rated devices have been required in the US since then, also!

90% of wiring devices that we use here, are made in the USA, so surely they were available there as well.
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Old 06-08-2009, 09:03 AM   #27
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Aluminum wiring, copper only devices


[quote=[COLOR=Blue]Wildie;284097]I just had quick glance at this thread, and one thing puzzles me!
I'm under the impression that all electrical switches and receptacles sold in Canada since the 70's must be CU/AL rated.
Where are these non-rated devices comng from.
Are they found in someones junk box?[[/COLOR]/quote]


Gee thanks Wildie, nice reference to my home being built from someone's junk box!

I posted this for someone's safety and clearly indicated my location and my codes...but last time I looked fire doesn't descriminate by geography.
I made reference to the smoldering because it was not a fire which would be visible, it occured inside a cabinet and could have lead to a disaster. The cause was the microwave, not a junk box receptacle, not my workmanship, point being the OP wants to be certain to double check every spot in the home.

To clarify, the Leviton receptacle I purchased new some 10 plus years ago for the OTR microwave was not dual rated for AL, so dual AL/CU usage is not a standard thing.

Wildie, when I looked it up the AL problem made big news and code changed around the mid 70's....My home was completed in 1975 so it is not a given that everything "since the 70's must be CU/AL rated"

The replacement receptacle is spefically for ALU and has AL terminal screws and came packaged sealed in plastic presumably to eliminate oxidation.

Just to be certain, I went to the basement where I keep several original switches and receptacles. They are all marked with the UL approval and pass the CSA standard as well but NONE are AL rated nor do they have the combined AL CO marking.
In in my hand is a fairly new LEVITON decora timer switch stamped UL, MADE in CHINA, so the 90% made in USA likely doesn`t apply
CSA has rejected many UL approved items and often require upgrades before they pass Canadian Standards testing, then once a secondary CSA approval is met a CSA sticker is applied to US made items to be sold in Canada...but only once they meet tougher Canadian Standards.
I believe recently CSA and UL were working on merging some their approvals and coming up with a new dual country trademark logo.
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Old 06-08-2009, 03:12 PM   #28
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I'm sorry that I upset you. I wasn't thinking terms of your home.When I referred to your post it was the reading of your post, that had me thinking in Canadian terms, whereas the OP is in Florida.

There's a lot of negativity about AL wire that I have never seen any evidence of.
When I built my cottage near Grand Bend, ON. in 1973, AL wire was being used exclusively and I used quite a bit of it myself. I still have this property and never in the course the past 36 years has there ever been a problem.
Its been my experience that iron terminal screws and AL wire are totally incompatible. Whereas, brass seems to be OK!
In the early 70's I finished up the basement of my home. It was built in 1964 and the electrical panel (fuses) had iron screws.
It wasn't to long before lights and recepts. started to quit working. The problem was in the panel as the AL wire connections were loose and actually melted the insulation back on the conductors several inches.
As a remedy, I pig-tailed copper wire to the AL with CU/AL wire nuts and then reconnected to to the terminals. This has been satisfactory since.
Again I would say, that I only referenced your post, to explain why I cited the Canadian code, rather than consider that the OP was in fact living in Florida.

Just in passing I looked in my own junk box at switches that I have collected over the course of time.
They were all Leviton. Some made in the US and some made in Canada.
The US ones were identified as for use with copper only. The Canadian ones had no such info marked on them.
Keep in mind that these are of varible vintage. At the moment I have no new ones on hand to check these.
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Old 06-08-2009, 03:24 PM   #29
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Wildie, I would like to point out that there is no AL/CU wire nuts currently approved. The only connectors approved so far are the crimp AL/Cu connectors and the alumiconn connectors. At leats in the U.S.
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Old 06-08-2009, 04:48 PM   #30
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OK Wildie we can have a beer on the deck when your in Grand Bend and all is good I just wanted to clarify this wasn't a garage sale parts change and that some of our standards are actually tougher.

The terminal connectors I used for my upgrades are Marrette Brand, # 63, bakelite shade of brown in colour and they are specifically labelled AL/CO rated. I have also read about the gel filled one from IDEAL Industries.

I am not certain but I do believe they are both UL approved however that does not mean they are approved for local codes...down there.

My whole point here is to caution the OP. I learned a lot from the inspector which put me at ease with keeping the AL and I am confident that save for complete replacement with copper I have done everything possible to upgrade the safety of my home but I am still interested in feedback from other's experience.

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