Originally Posted By: Joey D’Adamo
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.
I was directed to this board by somebody on some other forums, and after reading a plethora of posts on here (interesting stuff!) I’m thinking y’all can be of some help…
So I just recently signed a least (6 months) on an apartment. I knew it had aluminum wiring from when I first took a look at the unit and the switchplates were off for painting. I only took a cursory look at the time, and I had no reason to think that it was improperly installed from what I saw then.
Later after i got the key, I began popping plates off to take a closer look at the wiring. After all, I've never actually seen aluminum wiring in action before and so I was curious.
Sadly I noticed some things that really disturbed me...
There are a plethora of lightswitches that are not CO/ALR, or even AL-CU rated. This doesn't concern me too much as there doesn't appear to be any signs of overheating.. the insulation looks normal and nothing is warped or scorched. So, ok, they could probably be replaced sometime... but no rush.
Then I started looking at the outlets... five of them are copper-only devices, fairly new ones that appear to have been replaced recently. One is attached with copper pigtails. A closer look in the box with a flashlight reveals that ordinary Cu-to-Cu wirenuts were used to make the pigtail connections. They do not appear discolored or deformed from heat in any way that I could tell. However, this is still a no no.
The other four copper-only outlets have Al attached directly to them, and the wire isn't even wrapped all the way around the screws! it is wrapped around maybe 1/4 of the way at best... and there are knicks on the wire near the insulation from somebody who wasn't careful enough with a wire stripper. This is extremely alarming to me because I'm pretty sure this will not hold up for very long... There are, however, no obvious signs of heat damage on any of these either. Nothign is scorched, discolored, no insulation appears melted, the wire color looks reasonably pure (surprising for aluminum that I am sure hasn't had any anti-oxident paste applied to it).
I will try and take some pictures and post them up here for all to see.
In the meantime.. what should I do? I think I will contact building management. I'm pretty worried about this. Other units in the building probably have similar problems.
Should I file a complaint with the Inspector's office?
I will try to take pictures for tomorrow...