Aluminum Wire

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by johnjh2o1, Sep 4, 2011.

  1. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Occupation:
    Licensed Electrical Contractor
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    What kind of hack fools are you hiring??

    You do have some preconceived notions, don't you?
     
  2. hj

    hj Master Plumber

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Occupation:
    Plumber
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    quote; Southwire SIMpull THHN[SUP]®[/SUP] cable with AlumaFlex[SUP]®[/SUP] conductors are primarily used in conduit and cable trays for services, feeders, and branch circuits in commercial or industrial applications as specified in the 2008 National Electrical Code.

    That specification, "commercial or industrial applications", pretty much precludes a residential application. When I built my first home in this area, 40 years ago, the inspector initially had a problem with the aluminum conductors to the air conditioning. (I had done the rest of the house in conduit and copper wires. I reiterate, DOES your supply house STOCK "small gauge" aluminum wires?
     
  3. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Occupation:
    Instructor
    Location:
    North Carolina
    No but I can order the conductors to as small as #12

    Type MC and AC cables come with an aluminum equipment grounding conductor as part of the cable assembly in any roll or spool you order today.

    Once again using the NEC can you show me where it would be illegal to install aluminum conductors today?
    Is this something special to your area or is it something the inspector prefers? If it is the latter then the inspector is way off base and could end him up in a courtroom.
     
  4. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Occupation:
    Instructor
    Location:
    North Carolina
    I stand corrected.

    I can buy from stock #8 SE-U or SE-R but it would take at least six weeks to receive any type of NM-B aluminum cable and at a great expense.

    This does not mean that the installation of #12 would be a violation of the NEC.
     
  5. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Occupation:
    "retired" and still building and troubleshooting
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Installation of #12 aluminum would be a violation of common sense, and safety, installed carefully or by foot.

    And I find large differences in the flexibility of large aluminum wire, so the mills are not telling the truth about the allloys if you say they all use the same metal.
     
  6. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Occupation:
    Instructor
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Please explain this comment and if you don’t mind back it up with something other than speculation.

    I have been working with aluminum conductors for many years and have never run into this situation before. I wouldn’t be afraid to say that I have installed more aluminum conductors than you have ever saw.

    What is manufacturer with all this differences in conductors?
    Which supply house are you buying all these conductors from?
    Is it possible that these conductors of the same size are from different time periods where one is the 3300 and the other is the newer 8800?
    This happens from time to time when someone tries to install used equipment.

    Never use a piece of electrical equipment over again unless it has been refurbished.
     
  7. Rich B

    Rich B DIY Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2008
    Location:
    New Jersey
    Aluminum wire was used in the 60's-70's as there was supposedly a shortage of copper. The stuff was junk. Working with it was tedious at best as the wire could not be bent much or it would break. And that is the reason aluminum wire has such a bad reputation and deservedly so......I worked as an electrician back then and had to work with this stuff and can tell you it was terrible.

    The service entrance cables are often aluminum today and I see no problem with it. But I'd have nothing to do with a house wired with aluminum cable for individual circuits and it was from that era.........
     
  8. johnjh2o1

    johnjh2o1 Plumbing Contractor for 49 years

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2009
    Occupation:
    Retired
    Location:
    Florida
    Thank you Rich. That is the answer to my to my original post. Some how this thing turned into a debate on aluminum wire which it was never meant to be. But it has been interesting reading. Maybe a new thread should be opened on the good and bad of aluminum wire.

    Thanks to all that have responded

    John
     
  9. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Occupation:
    "retired" and still building and troubleshooting
    Location:
    northfork, california

    I think the previous guys did that. But as an example [again , I think] What do you reach for when you want to wrap or tie something up in the shop? Aluminum wire? Good for two wraps and its in pieces.

    Have copper holding electrical cords, and they can last for 20 years of wraps and abuse. Aluminum is for big cables, beer cans and covering turkeys.

    Just my opinion, but I would rather use a harbor freight multi meter than wire my house in aluminum 12 gauge wire. It IS useful if hammered on one end for making great toothpicks, however.

    For such a stickler for safety as you, Its surprising you defend small household al wire. And I dont have a spectograph handy, but I assure you that I find various rigidity in AL wire. Could well be that a [few thousand?] containers from China that never got opened, and the wire was made from old linoleum edging.

    The most interesting wire I have is from 1880's or so - picked it up in the desert along a missing narrow gauge railway. Its copper coated half hard steel, and nothing like it seems to be made anymore. Probably telegraph wire.
     
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
  10. Rich B

    Rich B DIY Senior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2008
    Location:
    New Jersey

    Your welcome and almost every post turns into a rediculous string of posts from two sides with differing opinions or experiences or other issues....

    I worked as an electrician for a local guy right out of high school, 1966-1968.......I learned from the owner and the guys I worked with. Sure the codes are way more strict today but we did work as we were directed. I built meter panels for some apartment buildings.....I ran all the individual apartment feeds for those buildings ....and a lot of the wire I had to use was aluminum......It was terrible to work with. All my panel work was inspected and passed. We wired apartments, houses and did alterations and all kinds of work.......Todays aluminum wire may be a lot better, I sure hope so.....

    No I did not stay as an electrician and no I don't have 40 years of experience as one but I do recall working with what I would consider to be poor quality aluminum wire back in those days......and yes I am from the Northeast...New Jersey to be exact.....and I also have heard about aluminum wire causing issues and can easily see why.......
     
  11. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Occupation:
    Instructor
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Hey dude it is not only me but the National Electrical Manufacturers Association that makes these statements as well as the manufacturers of the aluminum wiring methods.

    Your analogy of using copper verses aluminum as a tie wire is nowhere close as to using the two for an electrical circuit. Just how many times do you twist a conductor when making up switches and receptacles? Let me think, well we take them out 3 or 4 times every day to check on them……
    Come on man act like you at least know what we are talking about.

    I suppose if I got me a #8 conductor it would bend easier than a 250kcmil so maybe there is some merit to what you are saying. Any well versed electrician knows that there will be a difference in flexibility of a TW conductor and a THHN conductor but the conductor plays no role but instead the insulation.

    The wire you found in the desert sounds like a piece of wire the Indians used to tie up their electrical cords with. It sure lasted a long time.
     
  12. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Occupation:
    "retired" and still building and troubleshooting
    Location:
    northfork, california
    When you wire your house in 12g aluminum wire, be sure and buy all arc fault breakers. That will even out the cost with copper. And install extra smoke detectors, with copper wire, just to be sure.

    The telegraph wire makes great hooks. 120 years in the dirt and the copper is still fresh says much about its qualities.
     
  13. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Occupation:
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    Location:
    New England
    Arc fault breakers are slowly becoming a code requirement in many more branch circuits, so this won't be an extra (optional) cost. IF you install the stuff properly, it works. That takes both the right technique, materials, and good workmanship.
     
  14. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2007
    Occupation:
    Consultant
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    The only comment I have is Beverly Hills Supper Club fire,165 dead and it was blamed on aluminum wiring,but it
    caused a big controversy and lots of law suits.
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011
  15. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Occupation:
    Licensed Electrical Contractor
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    Why not throw in some pics of burned up bodies, just to add to the drama. :rolleyes:
     
  16. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Occupation:
    Licensed Electrical Contractor
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    I didn't read every word of every post, but I don't recall seeing where anyone said they are going to wire their house with #12AL. Can you point that out to me?
    Or is this just more over dramatics?
     
  17. jkyu2

    jkyu2 New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2011
    Location:
    Ohio
    I saw the bodies lined up I guess this why Al wiring became such problem.
     
  18. ballvalve

    ballvalve General Engineering Contractor

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Occupation:
    "retired" and still building and troubleshooting
    Location:
    northfork, california
    Our mod said he would wire his house in 12 ga al if he could get it and do it the right way, as I recall.
     
Similar Threads: Aluminum Wire
Forum Title Date
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Aluminum wire for panel good idea? Jun 24, 2020
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Need recommendation: Underground splice kit, 2 AWG, aluminum wire Jan 9, 2016
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog aluminum supply to sub panel - breaker tripping/wire heating Oct 5, 2010
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Aluminum wire and plastic conduit or copper and metal? Oct 22, 2008
Electrical Forum discussion & Blog Using "MC Lite" (aluminum jacket) cable connectors Oct 13, 2016

Share This Page