Need an opinion on older AL multistrand

This is all original installation from the previous owner. We have a water well wired with multi-strand Aluminum, plain covering, not weatherproof. It runs overhead from the barn 75-100 feet, and is spliced in one place. Splices are the bolt type, then taped. It’s been like this for 15-20 years, now. :mrgreen:

At the well house end there is a switchbox. With a light tester, not meter, the power is only about half on one leg, full on the other. The well puts out a reduced amount of water.

I figure the splice needs to be taken apart, cleaned, and secured again.

Do you think the conductor should be replaced, or just clean and rework?

Thanks for the feedback.

I would say it likely needs to be completely replaced based on the improper type of wire but I would let a licensed electrician make the final call.

Took the splices apart and cleaned / tightened. Still getting part power on one leg.

I think we have broken wires somewhere in that overhead line.

Going to get new conductor and run in conduit tomorrow.

Does anyone have a reference chart? The breaker is a 30 Amp, and the run is about 80 feet. Will 8 awg carry the load for that distance?


Thanks, 8 will do it.

Linda, you really should get some test equipment before you spend a lot of time and money replacing stuff. I am assuming the well pump is 240 volts from your OP. Did you verify 240V at the supply breaker? What do you mean by a light tester? Is it a neon voltage tester, or just a light bulb, or a non contact tester?

If you have one leg out but the motor is still connected, you will show voltage on the dead leg because it will come thru the motor windings from the good leg.

Hello Linda

Did you make sure both legs were screwed down tight


If all visible connections are tight and do not show signs of overheating, I would suspect a failing buried splice somewhere. No matter - replace the whole mess with properly rated Cu cable.

We are back to having water again !! :stuck_out_tongue:

On the AL, all electrical connections were tight, and we tried different things. Replaced the breaker, tried using different wire we had on hand. That showed equal current on both legs at the breaker, it just wasn’t proper size for well pump.

We replaced the AL with 8 awg copper, buried in conduit, and it works great. Hooorayyyyy. Even found a ground rod connection in the barn near the panel - was pleasantly surprised. A lot of things around here were ‘engineered’ when we bought the place. Knew the wiring wasn’t proper, just hadn’t gotten in a hurry to fix it.

Pump problems made us worried because the well man had been at the neighbors. They added 3 joints of pipe into their well to get further into the water table. Afraid we might have to consider that, too. It’s been dry around here for about 18 months now.

Thanks for all the help.

I am an electrician and the only thing i would suggest is that you install a new ground rod they tend to break down in fifteen to twenty years underground and become useless

just a thought