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woodwoman
Re: aluminum wiring overhaul

As much as I don't want to admit it, it sounds like I should have a professional do this. The last thing I want to do is "fix" myself into a problem. Is this the sort of thing I need to have fixed Monday or do I have time to get estimates, etc?

JLMCDANIEL
Re: aluminum wiring overhaul

Well, you've had at least two near fires already. Are you a gambler?
Jack

Ernie_Fergler
Re: aluminum wiring overhaul

I have never run into a situation where aluminum cable was the was the wire of choice. Lucky me..... Have heard about it though and the dangers it presents.
Thanks to all for posts, as I have learned a lot.
Those Alimiconn connectors are quite the product.

woodwoman
Re: aluminum wiring overhaul

I'm not a gambler w/stuff like this. Is $3500 a reasonable estimate to do this? Is there an average per outlet/fixture so I can count these up and see what this will cost? I'm not going to put this off BUT I don't want to be ripped off either. Is there anything I should beware of, anything I should stipulate?

Is there any recourse I have? I wouldn't have bought this house if the inspector hadn't said it was perfectly safe. There was never any mention of expanding and contracting and that eventually it would be a large problem that would have to be addressed? It's been seven years since I bought the house but it seems that this is a pretty large problem.

Thanks for your input.

JLMCDANIEL
Re: aluminum wiring overhaul

Personally, I think any homeowner should get at least 2 itemized estimates from separate sources. To be done right who ever does the work will have to check and update if necessary all outlets (receptacles, lights, switches, etc.), all connections in junction boxes, and connections in the breaker box. You have no idea what other modifications had been done over the years.
Jack

Blue RidgeParkway
Re: aluminum wiring overhaul

Here's the big issue, that I don't see anyone has covered. Despite your having the later 70s aluminum wiring....

The guage. All 14 guage needs to go, not safe with 15 amp protection.
All 12 guage needs to be downgraded to 15 amp circuit protection - replace 20 amp breakers with 15 amp breakers.

The presence of 14 guage aluminum on 15 amp breakers or 12 guage aluminum on 20 amp breakers even with switch, receptacle replacement, pig tails, filled aluminum wire nuts, the recommended professionally installed crimp connectors or JLMCDANIEL's fancy (SCREW POINT!!!!:eek:) connectors wouldn't make 14 guage aluminum wiring safe anywhere and wouldn't make 12 guage aluminum on anything more than a 15 amp circuit breaker safe.

That you experienced these failures using a portable electric heater, or the refrigerator receptacle doesn't surprise me. 120 volts max when your pulled power is high aluminum will fry, I heard that somewhere...can't remember the source (might have been the insurance's claim adjuster trying to lighten the mood with some rhyming humor:rolleyes:).

All 20 amp circuits need complete rewiring with copper 12 guage. You can't wire 120v switches, GFCI combination devices or switches with 10 guage aluminum.
That's going to cover your refrigerator/freezer receptacle if you have a larger one; your small applicance circuits, your bathroom circuits, and your laundry circuit.
If you've got an installed microwave - that's another one that can push the limit too.
Check with your authority having jurisdiction as to how far they will insist you go with bringing up to safety those circuits that you open and start working with since you'll likely be at least downgrading some of those existing circuit breakers and pulling out every bit of 15 guage aluminum wiring - because that is not safe pre or post 1972.

Here is a Consumer Product Safety Commission Document on the subject.
It is more comprehensive and complete than any information you have received here so far but its a little outdated, and don't think it covers the issue of needing fatter wires with aluminum for same amps. It is an adobe type document. If you do not have the program or wish not to have it, you can call the CPSC and ask them to mail a written version of it to you. It is CPSC document number 516, "Repairing Aluminum Wiring".

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/516.pdf

Now if you're really interested in what the hazards may or may not be have a look at this report (not for late night reading, since you've said you're prone to sleeping disturbances thinking about the "issue"!):

http://www.kinginnovation.com/pdfs/ReducingFire070706.pdf

P.S. You might also want to learn more about Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (so you can consider and discuss options with your electrician/s):

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/afci.html

canuk
Re: aluminum wiring overhaul
Blue RidgeParkway wrote:

Here's the big issue, that I don't see anyone has covered. Despite your having the later 70s aluminum wiring....

The guage. All 14 guage needs to go, not safe with 15 amp protection.
All 12 guage needs to be downgraded to 15 amp circuit protection - replace 20 amp breakers with 15 amp breakers.

The presence of 14 guage aluminum on 15 amp breakers or 12 guage aluminum on 20 amp breakers even with switch, receptacle replacement, pig tails, filled aluminum wire nuts, the recommended professionally installed crimp connectors or JLMCDANIEL's fancy (SCREW POINT!!!!:eek:) connectors wouldn't make 14 guage aluminum wiring safe anywhere and wouldn't make 12 guage aluminum on anything more than a 15 amp circuit breaker safe.

That you experienced these failures using a portable electric heater, or the refrigerator receptacle doesn't surprise me. 120 volts max when your pulled power is high aluminum will fry, I heard that somewhere...can't remember the source (might have been the insurance's claim adjuster trying to lighten the mood with some rhyming humor:rolleyes:).

All 20 amp circuits need complete rewiring with copper 12 guage. You can't wire 120v switches, GFCI combination devices or switches with 10 guage aluminum.
That's going to cover your refrigerator/freezer receptacle if you have a larger one; your small applicance circuits, your bathroom circuits, and your laundry circuit.
If you've got an installed microwave - that's another one that can push the limit too.
Check with your authority having jurisdiction as to how far they will insist you go with bringing up to safety those circuits that you open and start working with since you'll likely be at least downgrading some of those existing circuit breakers and pulling out every bit of 15 guage aluminum wiring - because that is not safe pre or post 1972.

Here is a Consumer Product Safety Commission Document on the subject.
It is more comprehensive and complete than any information you have received here so far but its a little outdated, and don't think it covers the issue of needing fatter wires with aluminum for same amps. It is an adobe type document. If you do not have the program or wish not to have it, you can call the CPSC and ask them to mail a written version of it to you. It is CPSC document number 516, "Repairing Aluminum Wiring".

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/516.pdf

P.S. You might also want to learn more about Arc Fault Circuit Interupters (so you can consider and discuss options with your electrician/s):

http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/pubs/afci.html

15 amp circuits using aluminum wiring are 12 ga. ...... not 14 ga. as you claim.
They are and have always been one wire size larger than copper .

JLMCDANIEL
Re: aluminum wiring overhaul
canuk wrote:

15 amp circuits using aluminum wiring are 12 ga. ...... not 14 ga. as you claim.
They are and have always been one wire size larger than copper .

Has been for as long as I can remember.
Jack

Ernie_Fergler
Re: aluminum wiring overhaul
JLMCDANIEL wrote:

Has been for as long as I can remember.
Jack

Google is not perfect, we have to remember that...:rolleyes:

Blue RidgeParkway
Re: aluminum wiring overhaul
Ernie_Fergler wrote:

I have never run into a situation where aluminum cable was the was the wire of choice. Lucky me..... Have heard about it though and the dangers it presents.
Thanks to all for posts, as I have learned a lot.
Those Alimiconn connectors are quite the product.

Ernie_Fergler wrote:

Google is not perfect, we have to remember that...:rolleyes:

The depths of what you don't know or haven't run into don't surprise me. Nor your lack of understanding or knowledge of materials available and installed 1958ish - (most post 65 with the rise in copper prices) 1972 with interupted installs through and beyond 1975 (collateral estoppel rullings against the newly formed CPSC preventing their efforts). UL revamp on aluminum wire standards 1970 and for devices used with aluminum wiring 1972. Know anything about the National Commission on Product Safety? (1967)? Ever seen a home wired with an old LV lighting relay system, ever seen one that didn't have a repair? Ever traced and checked every bit of every circuit's wiring?

Anaconda Co., Cadillac Cable Corp, Capital Wire & Cable Corp.; Cerro-Marmon Corp.; Coleman Cable & Wire Co., Inc.; Colonial Wire & Cable Co., Inc.; Columbia Cable and Electric Corp.; Essex Group, Inc.; Ettco Wire an Cable Corp.; General Cable Corp.; Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corp.; American Insulated Wire Corp.; Rhode Island Insulated Wire Co.; Renolds Metals Co.; Southwire Co.; Triangle PWC, Inc. All manufactured AL wire and cable. See if you can find 14/ 16/ and even 18/. Ever come across an electrified cabinet (medicine cabinet, etc.) With convenience receptacle(s)? Lighting? A late 60s/early 70s light fixture with a convience receptacle? Check that wiring or the wiring pulled through?

Device manufacturers were Bryant Electric Col; Circle F. Indus., Inc.; Eagle Electric Manuf. Co., Inc.; General Electric Co.; Leviton Manuf. Co., Inc.; Pass & Seymour, Inc.; John I. Paulding, Inc.; Sierra Electric Co.; Slater Electric, Inc.; and Square D. Co.

As sued by the United States of America.

And you that you dispute anything when on another thread you declared modern extension cords were smaller than 16 awg and would cause a fire or worse if used and proclaimed wall receptacles had to be no more than six feet apart.

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