Aluminum Wire Connectors - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum
Advertisement


Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Like Tree1Likes
  • 1 Post By RAL238
Reply
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes
Old 12-15-2019, 01:25 PM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Montgomery, Alabama
Posts: 136
Rewards Points: 270
Default

Aluminum wire connectors


House has aluminum wiring. Over the years as I have made changes to a few switches and outlets such as adding a fan to a switch or extending an outlet circuit. I used the Leviton CO/ALR switch or receptacle. Now I read that using the CO/ALR is a NO-NO.
Should I replace my switches and outlets with copper rated ones and use the AlumiConn connector with a copper pigtail to the switch/receptacle?

When using AlumiConn, how does that effect the box fill calculation?

Is there any time that an aluminum ground wire or aluminum neutral wire can be connected directly to copper with wire nut?
captfl2x is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 12-15-2019, 02:20 PM   #2
Member
 
surferdude2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Southern Illinois, USA
Posts: 1,518
Rewards Points: 1,038
Default

Re: Aluminum wire connectors


There is now a connector approved for aluminum to copper use made by Ideal called the Purple Twister. It has the No-Alox compound inside it.
The previous method required manually applying the paste compound approved for the purpose and then using a common wire nut. Messy work!

As for the CO/ALR rated devices, I'd rather trust the Purple Twister and tail out copper when it was handy during some repair. I would consider doing it for all the devices in the house if the worry kept me awake nights. In the meantime, I'd make sure the smoke detectors had fresh batteries and were working well.

SD2

Last edited by surferdude2; 12-15-2019 at 02:32 PM.
surferdude2 is online now   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 12-15-2019, 03:31 PM   #3
Member
 
CodeMatters's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Canada
Posts: 3,743
Rewards Points: 7,480
Default

Re: Aluminum wire connectors


My view is that if it's rated CO/ALR, that's all that's needed. Should be
marked as rated by UL or similar.

Wire nuts exist for AL to AL as well as AL to Cu. One of them is purple
and the other is brown......don't recall which is which.
CodeMatters is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 12-15-2019, 03:58 PM   #4
Member
 
surferdude2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2019
Location: Southern Illinois, USA
Posts: 1,518
Rewards Points: 1,038
Default

Re: Aluminum wire connectors


There is more to it than what is apparent at first glance... often that's the case. When it first came on the market, aluminum wire was made from a different type of aluminum than it does now. The problems with it were twofold, it corroded due to dissimilar metal contact and it had a temperature creep coefficient that made it move so much that it made the corrosion issue even worse.

Subsequently, a better alloy was created to minimize these issues. That allowed device manufacturers to make terminals that would be suitable and approved by recognized labs to bear that stamp, CO/ALR. Do not assume that it means it is safe to use that device with ANY aluminum conductors you will find already out there. Those letters were chosen with care and they do not mean CU/AL, CO/AL, AL/CU or AL/CO. These CO/ALR receptacles are not to be used or considered for a repair for older aluminum wire installations. This is a dangerous assumption. Unless you are absolutely sure of what type of aluminum wire you are dealing with, do your due diligence and get all the facts. Replacing the wire is best but pigtailing it with approved connectors will be next.
surferdude2 is online now   Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to surferdude2 For This Useful Post:
SPS-1 (12-15-2019)
Old 12-15-2019, 05:16 PM   #5
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Montgomery, Alabama
Posts: 136
Rewards Points: 270
Default

Re: Aluminum wire connectors


My house was built in 1974 so I have to assume that the wiring is not an improved aluminum conductor.
captfl2x is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2019, 05:34 PM   #6
Member
 
CodeMatters's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2017
Location: Canada
Posts: 3,743
Rewards Points: 7,480
Default

Re: Aluminum wire connectors


Quote:
Originally Posted by captfl2x View Post
My house was built in 1974 so I have to assume that the wiring is not an improved aluminum conductor.

Maybe not:
"In the early 1970s, the alloy used for aluminum wiring was changed to a superior quality wire much better suited to use for electrical work."


https://www.carsondunlop.com/trainin...ring-part-two/
CodeMatters is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2019, 05:51 PM   #7
Licensed electrician
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Maryland
Posts: 12,550
Rewards Points: 3,720
Default


The Ideal #65 wire nuts are only for temporary use. You can find photos of their failures on the web.
__________________
Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
Jim Port is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2019, 08:04 PM   #8
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Posts: 695
Rewards Points: 58
Default


I feel the alumicon connectors are best, but using al/cu devices is also ok. The only thing against al/cu devices is that someone could come in later and change back to standard devices. Pigtailing is more permanent.
Wiredindallas is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2019, 09:21 PM   #9
Member
 
Join Date: May 2018
Location: New York State
Posts: 922
Rewards Points: 1,838
Default

Re: Aluminum wire connectors


This is one of those areas where what the NEC and UL approves of differs from what the Consumer Product Safety Commission says is safe.

From the CPSC:

AL/CU twist-on connector pigtails or CO/ALR devices may be used as an emergency, temporary repair for a failed aluminum termination. Should such a repair be performed, CPSC staff recommends that a complete repair of the aluminum-wired system be performed using the CPSC- recommended methods as soon as possible.

“CO/ALR” Switches and Receptacles

The other repair recommended by the industry is to use switches and receptacles labeled “CO/ALR.” These devices are intended for direct connection to aluminum wire, although they can be used with copper or copper-clad wire. CO/ALR devices perform better with aluminum wire than non-CO/ALR devices when installed carefully and according to best electrical practices. However, CO/ALR wiring devices have failed in laboratory tests when connected to aluminum wire typical of that installed in existing homes. The test conditions simulated actual use conditions; no “ overstress” type of testing was used. Further, CO/ALR connectors are not available for all parts of the wiring system (e.g., for the permanently wired appliances and ceiling mounted light fixtures). In the opinion of CPSC staff, CO/ALR devices must be considered, at best, an incomplete repair.

https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/516.pdf

If it was my house, I would use the Alumiconn connectors to make the repairs where the wiring can't be easily replaced with copper.

The connector shouldn't could for any difference in box fill any more than a wire nut.
surferdude2 likes this.
RAL238 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 12-15-2019, 10:42 PM   #10
Electrical Contractor
 
jbfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Newnan GA
Posts: 8,386
Rewards Points: 6,382
Default

Re: Aluminum wire connectors


These aren't cheap, and box fill could be an issue, but imho, this is the best connector to use.

http://kinginnovation.com/category-p.../alumiconn.php
__________________
Yes I am a pirate, two hundred years too late
The cannons don't thunder, there's nothing to plunder
I'm an over-forty victim of fate.
jbfan is online now   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





Top of Page | View New Posts