Nice one for ya....

Hey Guys,

I will give you a SHOT at this one…

Inspector - Calls me and says that you can’t use AL wiring ( SE Cable ) from a disconnect into an Air Handler Unit…says it must be copper.

Ok…The Breaker it is feeding is AL/CU Rated…

SO guys…give me your thoughts…:wink: and lets see what you all come up with…I did not want to do it as a QOD…

  • This is all the info they gave me…but the gist is the inspector said than you can not run into an air handler unit with AL wiring period…what do ya think fella’s…:slight_smile:


Authority Having Juristiction = Local Municiple Inspection Office

How is the air handler listed/labelled?
Most I know of are “copper only”. (Carrier, Trane, Bryant, American Std, Coleman or Junkatrol)

You can run the al SE to the disconnect from the panel since that is usually al rated but when you go into the AH you need copper unless you can show me a label that says otherwise.

AHHH…thats the missing link to the question…If the unit has a built in disconnect breaker…say 60A…and the breaker is a standard lets say SQ D Homeline…and it says AL/CU on the breaker…does it make a difference at THAT point…because those are the terminal points and they are AL/CU listed.

Here is QUICK fix…if for example the terminals WERE CU only…

You could come in to the junction area of the air handler and using insulated 3 lug connectors that are AL/CU rated…you could switch over from AL to CU via this…and have small pigtails to the CU only lug points and would THIS be compliant…

What ya think Gregola…:slight_smile:

Anyway…what I told the electrician was this…

A.) Determine if you are dealing with a TRUE AL/CU breaker and does it list it as such if it has a built in circuit breaker.
B.) If A does not apply…and the lugs are CU only…then simply switch over within the junction area of the Air Handler which allows for connections and pigtail off with CU from approved AL/CU splice blocks…the insulated ones…with allen wrench set screws…man I can’t think of the name of them right now…

Either way…he could make it compliant…


You took all the fun out of this one and answered it too quickly.

I am going to stick my neck out here…

Is it possible that air handlers generally don’t have the AL listing because of the vibration these units generate? Maybe the vibration will fatigue the AL wires and cause a failure. Just a guess.

I’m going to stick with my first answer, since nothing (that comes to mind, per the NEC) but an AHJ ‘option’ could scrap this.

I re-feed a disconnect (off a twin meter base) that feed a small panel in a second floor apartment (two story home). After retiring the greenfield, I put in 80+ feet of SER. We worked with the AHJ prior, and during, and at the end he said, “BTW, you know we have a NO AL ordinance?” Which my partner replied, huh? After a while we found out there is a NO AL for Feeders/Branch Circuits(So SE was ok, SER was fuzzy). He had to determine if the SER we uses was a service cable, or a feeder from the disconnect to the panel. We got a OK, but ask next time answer. :smiley:

So, AHJ?


Show me the LABEL on the unit that says it is AL rated and you are good to go. I don’t care what you think the breaker is good for or anything else. 110.3(B) says you shall follow the manufacturer’s labelling and installation instructions no matter what you think is OK.

I am sure your inspector will say the same thing.

Pigtailing to copper might be OK if the inspector determines there is sufficient space in the wiring compartment or if you do it is a separate box but the splicing devices probably cost more than the difference in copper vs aluminum for this little whip. Again you may bump up against what the installation instructions tell you to do.
In the end there are lots of things that may be “hold your nose legal” if you want to fight about it but most people trying to make a living will do what the normal practice is and that is carflex with copper THHN/THWN to a condenser.
Air Handlers usually get connected with Greenfield or carflex. (there might even be a “support” or “closely follow building finish” issue with a cable)
It is what the inspector sees all day and what he is comfortable with signing off on without any extra hassle. Now that his job is slowing down he might have the patience to dig through books with you but if you are not right he also has time to nit-pick your other jobs.
Does the term “pyrrhic victory” mean anything to you?

Actually…this was a QOD and a similar call I got…The unit was strange in how the guy explained it but their was plenty of room he stated and his inspector said it was fine to do the junction method.

The reason I bought that one up was because he said he already had the material to do that option…

Usually I just put simple $ 8.00 pull outs and allow it to change over so not really an issue I run into very often unless a helper does it but it can be fixed in less than 15 minutes either way…they are learning.

Greg…sorry the question ( or solutions was a bit loaded ) as I wanted you to say EXACTLY what you stated…

Now William…I was going to wait and let someone say about the Man. Listing…but Greg jumped on it rather fast so it was all good.

ie: Greg…was not my inspector fella…:)…just a call I got.

And PAUL…that is exactly the reason as their are a few more as well…but that is the best…

True Answer is - In most cases a simple $ 8.00-12.00 Pull Out with the AL running into it and mounted next to the indoor unit…and change over to CU into the unit and be done with it…thats would be the easiest solution with less hassle and gripe…

That’s why God invented the MacAdapt ends. They’re little things you put over the aluminium that make them okay for CU only terminals.

Marc, stop teasing, URL please? :smiley:

BTW, I’m starting to become a fan of AlumiConn’s.