Originally Posted By: dbozek
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.
Typically, if I encounter branch circuits wired with “aluminum” (did I spell that right?), wire, I recommend that the circuits involved be re-wired. However, the method of crimping these circuits in junction boxes is sufficient and I have at one time or another made repairs by doing such. The key though is to protect the aluminum and the copper connection from corroding and therefore causing hot connections.
Jerry is also right with his response. The aluminum wire itself should be checked to see if it has been bent several times, etc. Unlike copper, it is a softer metal and irregular or constant bending of such wire will ultimately cause it to break off.
The most common place I see aluminum wire is at the main breaker and line side of the meter can. There it is vital that these connections be torqued and protected with some sort of de-oxidant. Same holds true to connection at devices as well. Any termination point where aluminum to copper is present, must be protected with a de-oxidant and torqued. I personally seldom use aluminum wire to feed new panels because of the problems with it. The only real time I would use al wire to feed a new or existing service is in the case of a underground feeder. Otherwise, I seldom use it.
When stripping the insulation on al wire, care must also be taken that the wire itself is not nicked by the strippers. This in itself can cause a problem area, and if that wire that is nicked and cut is brought to a wire nut, it will assuredly break off when the scotchlok is twisted to it.
I do not think adding afci's to circuits that are not rewired is such a good idea Mike. The afci requires a separate neutral much like a gfci protected circuit. If the circuits you are trying to afci protect are not wired separately to each afci protection device, the breaker is likely to trip constantly or at least tripping enough to let it be a nuisance. In older houses this would not be a good idea for one does not know where that neutral the afci is utilizing, is going. It could be the only neutral in the whole dang house for all any of us may know.
The best repair is rewire of the circuit...period. Sure it may be costly due to labor mostly, but then it could be the case of..."pay me now or pay me later", when it comes to aluminum wiring in any environment.
BTW How goes it Gerry......long time no talkie.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they should and could do for themselves. Abraham Lincoln