Aluminum Wiring Repair
LESLIE: Tim in Texas could be on the verge of a hair-raising situation. You want to do some electrical work, my friend, huh?TIM: That’s correct.
LESLIE: What can we do for you?
TIM: Listen, I’ve got a two-story house, about 3,500 square feet, and it’s built in 1968 and it’s got aluminum wiring throughout the whole house.
TIM: And I’m trying to decide pigtail everything; do I reroute the entire aluminum wiring throughout the whole house because I’m getting the electrical outlets being shot; the expansion of the wires breaking; I’ve got to hire an electrician to fix it every time and find out where the break is in the line. Do you have any advice for me? Aluminum wiring, two-story house.
TOM: Tim, probably the most practical solution is a type of connector called an AlumiConn connector – A-l-u-m-i-C-o-n-n. Their website is Alcopstore.com. What this connector does is it basically provides a housing where you can insert both ends of the aluminum wire, one piece of copper and then it’s sort of like a metal bridge and you screw these things down …
TOM: … and it pinches it. So it’s kind of like a crimp connector but it’s one that can be done mechanically with a screwdriver.
TIM: Right. I’ve seen that done. We tried – we’ve got some simple pigtails done with a purple top; we screw them in together. But I’m getting breaks throughout the house; like maybe 15 feet into the outlet.
TOM: So are these wires breaking down like sort of mid-span?
TIM: Right and …
TOM: Well then, listen. If your wiring is that bad you have to replace it.
TOM: There’s no point in repairing it any further. You need to replace it because you could create a fire hazard right in the middle of the wall somewhere.
TIM: Oh, exactly. That’s what I’m worried about.
TOM: Yeah, what I would do is I would start planning on replacing it; maybe do it in sections of the house; do the easiest stuff to access first.
TOM: But if you’re finding mid-wall breaks like that, which is probably the final stages of deterioration for this wiring, you definitely have to replace it.
Now, by the way, the type of wiring that’s used for the heavy appliances in your house that’s aluminum, the 240-volt aluminum wiring, that’s OK. We’re only talking about the number 10, number 12 aluminum wiring that’s used for branch circuits.
TIM: Number 10 and number 12?
TIM: OK. And should I go no less than a master electrician to do all this work?
TOM: Absolutely. I would use an electrician for this.