Non-oxidizing paste on solid-strand aluminum?

An electrician is telling my client that solid-strand aluminum wiring is “fine as long as the connections are treated with non-oxidizing paste.” I do realize that the non-oxidizing paste is recommended for stranded aluminum. But he presented it as an acceptable “repair” for solid-strand aluminum. I’ve never heard of such a thing, but then I’m not a licensed electrician.

What exact solid strand aluminum wiring is in question? when was the house built and or its wiring updated? do you have any pics?

Tell the guy to stop calling himself an electrician.


Assuming you’re talking about 60s/70s era conductors, I would advise my client to get the opinion of a competent electrician this time and then forward them links to the topical articles published at the CPSC and other authoritative sources.

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So… … … where is this licensed electrical contractor’s papers saying everything is hunky-dory with his license number clearly on it?
Oh!! No papers. . . . . doesn’t even count only coming out of his mouth.


In several states an electrician cannot certify anything at all about an installation unless they are a licensed Master Electrician and a licensed electrical contractor. If my guess is correct that you are talking about Aluminum branch circuit wiring in sizes 12 through 8 American Wire Gauge then he is just plain wrong. There are several acceptable ways to correct the inadequacies which caused so many fires to originate from failures in Aluminum wire installations. None of those involves only the application of anti oxidation paste to splices and terminations made with materials which are not listed as suitable for Aluminum wire.

You can bring in a specialist contractor who is certified to use a patented system of crimp connectors on every splice in the system. They add copper pigtails to each splice were a plug or switch must be connected, or at least they used to. With the introduction of modern CO/ALR devices they may not be doing that last any more.

You can replace all of the devices with CO/ALR devices and all of the wire nuts with those now available from Ideal which are listed for all three types of conductor. Those types are Aluminum, Copper Cad Aluminum, and Copper.

A third possibility of which I’m aware is to use an insulated lug which is listed for Aluminum and copper wire to remake the splices. These are the most expensive solution in terms of materials but they are the easiest for a less skilled person to apply correctly. One brand of such insulated lugs is Polaris. That just happens to be a brand that I have used before. I have no other interest in that brand. Their IPL Series has a model which will fit wire sizes of 14 to 4 American Wire Gauge. It is available in 2 to 12 wire terminals. They have an individual terminal for each wire so there is no likelihood of mixing wire types. They are prefilled with anti oxidization paste.

In each of the latter 2 you will have to use a a small wire brush or a tiny bit of Emory cloth to clean any corrosion off of the existing wires. Paste alone will not make a safe connection. Only a splicing system which is actually listed for both Copper and Aluminum wire will accomplish that.

Tom Horne

I think AlumiConn falls into that same category.