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AL, Pigtailing, Ideal 65, C PSC vs NEC


DonTx
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Okay,

As I've understood it for quite some time, the CPSC does not recognize pigtailing AL and Copper as a safe alternative but the NEC does.

Now this is where I get a little fuzzy....if the wires are pigtailed, can any wire nut be used or just an Ideal 65 type nut? Yes, I know there are issues with Ideal 65's. But I'm wondering if any ole wire nut will work or does it have to be a special one?

Donald

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Oh boy, a real can-o-worms. Last I knew for sure, only the Ideal 65 was approved for such uses as far as wire nuts went. There is (or was) also a more expensive compression connection system out there called Copalum (?) or something like that, but one had to be trained / authorized to do it ($$$). I think a few other manufacturers' have gotten into the wire nut act since, but I'm not sure.

Whether any ole' wire nut will work is another question altogether, but as an inspector I wouldn't go near that debate with a client. No way. My understanding is that many of the original problems with aluminum NM cable was related to mixing the AL wire with devices and connectors designed only for copper, so there are genuine technical problems with such practices. Err on the side of caution here. Defer to the "qualified electrician with experience working with these materials".

Brian G.

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Hi to all,

Interesting area here, from my twisted perspective I believe that the COPALUM conectors are the "BEST" way to "repair" single strand aluminum conductors, but personally don't much trust any of the so called repair methods, and if I had aluminum in my own home it would be comming out. I recommend to my students that if they see any SS Aluminum brach wiring to recommend further evaluation by a licensed electrical contractor, as it is not unusual for some readily accessable joints to have been "repaired" but others in attic and other junction boxes to have been ignored.

Regards

Gerry

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Thanks everyone,

I like Dan's site, I've visited it many times in the past for all types of information. I even put a link to his AL pages in my report when I find AL wired homes. However, I've never found a definate answer on his site or on my own.

I always refer AL to electricians, but I know many of them don't have a clue as to what the dangers of AL wiring can be.....but they know what 5 to 10 bucks per outlet/switch is to pigtail the wiring.

I don't pull the outlets out of the box to insure that the pigtailing has anti-oxidant paste on it and how else would you know if the wire nut is not flammabe unless you set some of fire?

When it's all said and done I tell them to see a sparky and I give them a copy of the CPSC page that basically says that pigtailing is not a safe alternative and leave it at that. Somehow it still doesn't feel like I've done enough to educate them.

Donald

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I saw Jesse Aronsien here in St. Louis last spring at the chapter seminar. The real answer to the question of what to do about Aluminum wiring is that there is no difinitive repair other than rewiring. I tell my clients that and that the reason we have Aluminum wiring is that a lot of smart people made a big mistake followed by some very greedy people preventing it's disuse. It's a black eye for the NEC. The reason it was not disallowed was political.

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Originally posted by Donald Lawson

When it's all said and done I tell them to see a sparky and I give them a copy of the CPSC page that basically says that pigtailing is not a safe alternative and leave it at that. Somehow it still doesn't feel like I've done enough to educate them.

(Voice of a Yiddish wiseman from the old country)

Donnie my boy, vhat are you talking? The big-shotniks got no good answers for dis von, but you should know? Vhat are you, nuts? You look like a big strong boy, but all za troubles of ze vorld on your shoulders vill not fit. Don't be so hard on yourzelf, eh? So, have you eaten?

Rabbi Goodman

Vhat Are You Talking?

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  • 5 months later...

[Cross posted from the "copper clad" thread in this forum]

I thought that I'd throw some new found knowledge in from my recent experience:

I found out that State Farm will not issue a policy on a house that is 30+ years old with aluminum wiring. I was also told by my State Farm agent that copper-aluminum alloy is considered the same as straight aluminum.

Apparently, a house 29 years old w/ alum wiring will get a policy, but the rates will rise the next year: the policy will stay in effect. 30 years is State Farm's line in the sand.

My agent is in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas and I was inquiring on a house in Houston, so I assume that this goes for the rest of the state, I have no idea on the rest of the country.

A

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