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Old 06-22-2012, 11:59 AM   #1
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copper clad aluminum


I've read post after post after thread searching for a definitive answer to my situation. I've called electrical contractors and each tell me something different. My mother bought a house in phoenix in say 2001. House was built in 1975ish. The home has copper clad aluminum wiring to all 15A and 20A circuits and straight aluminum for all larger circuits. Time to update the kitchen and bring it to code in the process. I am not an electrician, I am a carpenter of 15 years. What is the proper connection for CCA to CU?? Many definitive answers concerning AL to CU. Some say, Noalox in a regular wire nut and your good to go. Well regular wire nut says CU/CU only, still ok for copper clad? Others say Copalum, Allumiconn, Ideal 65's, well those are mainly used for CU/AL ,copper clad also?? I haven't found a single wire nut labeled CCA/CCA . Is copper clad aluminum .. copper? or aluminum? From what I read it has the similarities of both. Early 70's with the rising cost of copper and the problems associated with aluminum wire, copper clad was the viable alternative. I understand the receptacles should be CU/AL rated, what about the GFCI's? Obviously going to have to pigtail copper no? Please, just some clarification is all I'm asking. Thanks for your time.
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Old 06-22-2012, 12:29 PM   #2
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copper clad aluminum


i honestly don't know the rule but why not use cu/al wire nuts anyways. Cover all your bases, for the cost of a few extra bucks you can have peace of mind.

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i just found this
110.14 Electrical Connections

Because of different characteristics of dissimilar metals, devices such as pressure terminal or pressure splicing connectors and soldering lugs shall be identified for the material of the conductor and shall be properly installed and used. Conductors of dissimilar metals shall not be intermixed in a terminal or splicing connector where physical contact occurs between dissimilar conductors (such as copper and aluminum, copper and copper-clad aluminum, or aluminum and copper-clad aluminum), unless the device is identified for the purpose and conditions of use.
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Old 06-22-2012, 12:36 PM   #3
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copper clad aluminum


Yes thank you for posting the 110.14. So what is the clarity in that??? *er-clad aluminum), unless the device is identified for the purpose and conditions of use* ... So all I have to do is put whatever nut I want there and label it copper clad aluminum to copper connection? Then I identified it and I'm being compliant to code right?
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Old 06-22-2012, 01:08 PM   #4
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copper clad aluminum


I have never seen copper clad aluminum ever used for branch circuit wiring. 15 and 20 amps. I have seen aluminum or copper. Or I did not know?
Copper clad is reserved for large metallic surfaces where pure copper would not be cost effective. A ground rod would be a good example of a copper clad application. Bus bars are another.
Anyway your question is a bit hard to understand as the remedy for AL to CU is simple. This is what I would use in your case.
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Old 06-22-2012, 01:22 PM   #5
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copper clad aluminum


I would also use the alumiconn connector if I had a CU/AL connection to make. I'm trying to make a CU/CCA connection. I haven't read anywhere on any site selling the king innovations connector that specifies it is to be used in that kind of connection. It states CU/CU , CU/AL, AL/AL. Why would I buy a box of 100 for $311 if it is perfectly acceptable to use a standard CU/CU wire nut with Noalox or similar? Just looking for a little more clarification.
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Old 06-22-2012, 05:10 PM   #6
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copper clad aluminum


that rule i posted says it's not ok to use a regular wire nut, you have to use equipment rated for cu/al connections.

Because of different characteristics of dissimilar metals, devices such as pressure terminal or pressure splicing connectors and soldering lugs shall be identified for the material of the conductor and shall be properly installed and used. Conductors of dissimilar metals shall not be intermixed in a terminal or splicing connector where physical contact occurs between dissimilar conductors (such as copper and aluminum, copper AND copper-clad aluminum, or aluminum and copper-clad aluminum), unless the device is identified for the purpose and conditions of use.

You asked for an answer, i provided it. I get the feeling you don't like the answer and your going to use cu/cu equipment anyways. There is no cca designation for splices, it's considered as aluminum. What happens when you knick the copper cladding? you now have aluminum wire and copper mixed together, this wire will fall apart eventually. They used copper clad aluminum way back in the day when they realized aluminum was bad but copper was still too expensive. It only needs a surface area of 10% copper so it's easy for a wire nut to knick it.
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Last edited by andrew79; 06-22-2012 at 05:19 PM.
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Old 06-22-2012, 05:22 PM   #7
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copper clad aluminum


It's not that I don't like the answer, I am all about doing what is right per code no matter the dollar amount. It's just that when you have 3 " master electricians" come into your home and they tell you the way "they" would go about pigtailing copper to copper clad aluminum is by using a regular wire nut with Noalox. It was by my "own" research that threw up the red flags about it. I understand the only approved permanent fix for AL to CU is the Alumiconn connector and the Copalum crimper. However by what you are saying is that copper clad aluminum should be treated as aluminum, therefore those would be my only 2 choices. So the master technicians I had come to quote me are wrong?
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Old 06-22-2012, 05:41 PM   #8
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copper clad aluminum


your basically doing the same thing that the purple wire nuts were designed to do, here's an article on how well they perform.
http://www.alcopstore.com/
granted this is biased due to the source, but it's been a long time since i've seen a noalux install. Personally i think it all boils down to people doing things the right way. If you install a noalox wire nut and then take it off then reinstall it without refilling then it's likely going to break down eventually. As with everything the equipment is probably good it's the person doing the install that can screw it up.

So your guys are probably right......provided they do all the connections absolutely perfect.
ideal still sells these with a UL and CSA listing so they haven't cracked down too hard on them yet.
http://www.idealindustries.com/produ...ster_al-cu.jsp
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Old 06-22-2012, 05:52 PM   #9
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copper clad aluminum


http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/516.pdf I don't know how to copy and paste from a PDF file or I would.
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:12 PM   #10
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copper clad aluminum


Copper clad aluminum is helpful for electronic circuits with high frequencies since alternating current at high frequencies tends to be conducted near the surface of the conductor (skin effect). For household power the skin effect is negligible and you must use the current ratings and rules for aluminum wire.

When aluminum wire is clamped or otherwise screwed down firmly, when it expands due to heat, it deforms in a way that when it cools down and contracts, there is now a gap i.e. loose connection. CO/ALR terminals put some spring pressure on the wires so as they expand and contract they stay in contact. In addition, aluminum corrodes more readily than copper in less than perfectly dry air so a grease is needed to coat the connection.
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Old 06-22-2012, 08:36 PM   #11
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copper clad aluminum


So you're saying that copper clad aluminum should follow the same rules as AL. But in the publication from the CSPC describing the ways to permanently fix AL wiring issues does it state : be sure to read as much of the markings as possible because the marking "CU-clad" or "copper clad" in addition to "AL" aluminum means that this cable uses copper-coated aluminum wire and is NOT covered by the repair recommendations outlined in this publication. And there is no "fix" for copper clad wiring because it is deemed " safe " and no correction is needed.
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Old 06-22-2012, 10:07 PM   #12
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copper clad aluminum


You want to know something...

When you analyze the price, you are probably better off running new copper circuits to the kitchen anyway. A 250' roll of 12-2 romex is like 75 buck or something.
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Old 06-22-2012, 10:23 PM   #13
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copper clad aluminum


i agree, i bought a 250 foot roll at the orange store last week and it was 69 bucks. i think it was almost 80 bucks about 6 months ago. copper prices have been falling due to the "soft landing" of china's economy

also, dont use copper clad for anything except 5/8 and 3/4 ground rods
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Old 06-22-2012, 10:47 PM   #14
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copper clad aluminum


It really isn't about the price... I'm just trying to find a correct answer that doesn't seem to exist.. I'm already running new copper to the kitchen to meet the stringent codes regarding counter top receptacles. There is a 20A circuit by the sink with the copper clad that I had planned on leaving though. That's part of the reason I started all of the research due to the fact they don't make a CO/ALR GFCI anymore which would be required for the copper clad to be pigtailed with copper.. Even that one I'm not sure of anymore..
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Old 06-23-2012, 12:30 AM   #15
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copper clad aluminum


Quote:
Originally Posted by J. V. View Post
I have never seen copper clad aluminum ever used for branch circuit wiring. 15 and 20 amps. I have seen aluminum or copper. Or I did not know?
Copper clad is reserved for large metallic surfaces where pure copper would not be cost effective. A ground rod would be a good example of a copper clad application. Bus bars are another.
Anyway your question is a bit hard to understand as the remedy for AL to CU is simple. This is what I would use in your case.
60's through the 70's http://www.buildingspecs.com/aluminum_branch_wiring.php

Copper Clad Aluminum

Copper Clad Aluminum is easily mistaken for copper. It does not have the same problem with oxidation build up as aluminum. It is typically a #12 wire and still needs proper devices with the larger screw heads or approved pig tailing methods. To identify Copper Clad Aluminum, look for a silver color at the ends of the wires where they are connected to the grounding bar. Copper Clad Aluminum can also be identified in the attic or crawlspace, or other locations where the wiring is visible, by looking for the identification on the wire sheathing, i.e. CU Clad AL.


Also http://search.yahoo.com/r/_ylt=A0oG7...aluminium.html


And of course the Inspectapedia link http://inspectapedia.com/aluminum/aluminum.htm
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