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Old 10-28-2012, 11:14 AM   #1
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Can you use wire nuts on a fan light switch with silvery looking wires?


As you can tell by the title of the post, I don't know anything about electrical stuff and I will call an electrician for major repairs. But this is a small repair so I wanted to do it myself. I had to switch out a pull chain light switch from my ceiling fan since the chain broke from the switch inside. When I went to wire the new switch in I just cut the wires and taped it with electrical tape to the wires in the fan (please tell me if it is unsafe to use electrical tape to tape wires together, I heard mixed things about electrical tapes uses). Works fine though.

Now another pull chain broke in my condo from another ceiling fan, and I wanted to use wire nuts instead of electrical tape to attach the wires together. The wire nuts say to only use on wires that are copper and not aluminum. I think the wires are copper since when I cut the wires the tips of the metal wires where they are cut look copper colored, but the length of the metal wire itself is silvery colored.

Is it just copper wire coated in something else? If so, what is the coating? And where would I even find aluminum electrical wires?

Bottom line, can I use wire nuts on this repair to attach wires? Can I keep the electrical tape in the other fan I repaired as well or is that unsafe?

Thanks a bunch for the help!

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Old 10-28-2012, 11:31 AM   #2
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Can you use wire nuts on a fan light switch with silvery looking wires?


I'm not 100% sure what the fixture wires are, but I wirenut them without hesitation and there hasn't ever been anything in any instructions that say you can't. I've never been that curious to care. Adding to that, most fixtures come with standard small orange wirenuts.

You cannot use tape in lieu of wirenuts.

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Last edited by k_buz; 10-28-2012 at 11:39 AM.
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amodoko (10-28-2012)
Old 10-28-2012, 11:34 AM   #3
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Can you use wire nuts on a fan light switch with silvery looking wires?


[quote=amodoko;1039566]When I went to wire the new switch in I just cut the wires and taped it with electrical tape to the wires in the fan[quote]

First, you should always use wirenuts as taping won't guarantee a good bond over time. Second, anytime you join aluminium with copper, you either have to use special wire connectors or add noalox to the nuts.

Dissimilar metals will over time corrode and start a fire.
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Old 10-28-2012, 03:43 PM   #4
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Can you use wire nuts on a fan light switch with silvery looking wires?


They're most likely tinned copper conductors, not aluminum.
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Old 10-28-2012, 08:26 PM   #5
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Can you use wire nuts on a fan light switch with silvery looking wires?


Hey, thanks guys, I will definitely go get the correct wire nuts now. And the tinned copper makes sense. Thanks so much for the help, much appreciated
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