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Old 03-14-2017, 11:48 PM
 
202 posts, read 469,608 times
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Is multistrand aluminum wiring safe and up to code in branch circuit wiring? I know solid aluminum wiring which was introduced in 60s and 70s are not safe, but how about multistrand aluminum wiring?
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Old 03-15-2017, 05:09 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
26,837 posts, read 57,830,396 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artking09 View Post
I know solid aluminum wiring... are not safe...
Who told you that?

but cutting to the chase...
what idea is rattling around in your brain?
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Old 03-15-2017, 06:34 AM
 
Location: SE Michigan
83 posts, read 41,777 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artking09 View Post
Is multistrand aluminum wiring safe and up to code in branch circuit wiring? I know solid aluminum wiring which was introduced in 60s and 70s are not safe, but how about multistrand aluminum wiring?
Absolutely NOT! The only time I would use any type of aluminum wire is for service conductors (for incoming power), or #2 SER cable for a 100-amp subpanel feeder. I would NOT use it for electric ranges or dryers; I would use #6-3 copper Romex and #10-3 Romex, respectively. I've worked in several houses where I had to rewire all the original aluminum wiring circuits with new copper wiring. The homeowners made a very wise decision in having that replaced, in my opinion.
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Old 03-15-2017, 07:44 AM
 
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Is multistrand aluminum wire even a real thing?
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Old 03-15-2017, 12:36 PM
 
202 posts, read 469,608 times
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Originally Posted by Geek2017 View Post
Absolutely NOT! The only time I would use any type of aluminum wire is for service conductors (for incoming power), or #2 SER cable for a 100-amp subpanel feeder. I would NOT use it for electric ranges or dryers; I would use #6-3 copper Romex and #10-3 Romex, respectively. I've worked in several houses where I had to rewire all the original aluminum wiring circuits with new copper wiring. The homeowners made a very wise decision in having that replaced, in my opinion.
Here is the link to a home inspector's blog. I heard that aluminum wiring is bad. Do you check for it?

"Multi-strand aluminum wiring is approved by building codes and regularly used for service cables (the main electric wires coming into the home’s panel) and for wiring to major appliances, such as air conditioning condensers..."

I am confused about this aluminum wiring thing. BTW, the house I am looking at was built in 1940s.
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Old 03-15-2017, 01:28 PM
 
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OK, I realize the main service line coming from the pole is multistrand aluminum. The connections are made by big honkin' crimps.

I question whether anyone uses multistrand Al for a dedicated line to "major appliances". I certainly haven't ever seen it, but I am not an electrician.

If your house was built in the 1940s it was originally built with copper single strand "Romex" or "Romex-like" cable. No telling what may have been used in circuits added afterward, and for a house that old it's likely some circuits have been added.
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Old 03-15-2017, 01:30 PM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
26,837 posts, read 57,830,396 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artking09 View Post
I am confused about this aluminum wiring thing. BTW, the house I am looking at was built in 1940s.
Aluminum wire is fine.
The problem wrt branch circuit sized wire is the termination at devices.
Especially at devices meant to have copper wire.

Whatever you choose to pay for the house budget a couple thousand for electrical work.
Whether you do it or not.
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Old 03-15-2017, 03:37 PM
 
Location: Knoxville
4,135 posts, read 19,720,058 times
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Multistand aluminum wiring is just fine, and code approved, for service entrance and branch circuits.
Just have to make sure that breakers and connection points at appliances/equipment are rated for aluminum wiring. Its just one size larger than copper wiring for the same size circuit.
The issue with solid conductor aluminum was in part the size of the wire for the size of the breaker. When first introduced, they used the same size as copper. Aluminum does not conduct as well as copper, so it overheated (think of really cheap jumper cables), melted and caught fire. They then changed the code to allow for a larger size wire when using aluminum.

Aluminum expands and contracts at a much different rate than copper. The wire connections can become loose, and arcing can take place. Also, not all breakers, or switches and outlets are rated for aluminum wire. In addition, some wire connections were made connecting copper wire to aluminum wire. The two materials do not like each other, so more problems came to light (no pun intended).

Special wire nuts, grease for connections, and wiring practices are in place for houses that have solid conductor wiring. Another part of having aluminum wiring is the need to continually check all connections to ensure they are tight.

Personally, I would not own a home with solid aluminum wiring, but that's just me. Can it be made safe? Sure! I just wouldn't want to do all the extra stuff you need to do.
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