Truth and Facts about AL Wiring-Enjoy

Hey Guys and Gals,

Below is a link to a great download about AL Wiring that many will find eye opening, helpful in clearing up myths and concerns and is just a plain decent article....Enjoy !

Thanks Paul! :smiley:

Nice article. Does it distinguish in the article between stranded and solid AL wiring??

Either way my State SOP requires that I point out all AL Branch wiring.

I do not think we are on the 2008 NEC here yet Paul.

yes, it clearly speaks of 10 and 12 AWG and so on in the article and it would not matter because general building wiring that is solid was conductors less than 8 AWG…traditionally.

You can call out the branch circuit wiring to meet SOP…for that fact I believe copper would be reported as well. The fact is knowing that it has more to with the time period and terminal issues covered in the article. Nothing wrong with putting it in the report but lets understand that not all AL is bad and even solid AL is not bad depending on the time period and type of connections.

Also…it has nothing to do with the 2008 NEC…check out the article and the history goes back 40 years in the NEC.

Thanks Paul…

Some Electricians are still telling homeowners that this new AA-8000 AL wiring is not a better wire…

Well all righty then.

Thanx David :smiley:

I am sure everyone is willing to offer an opinion. Fact is the industry as a whole does not agree and AL Wiring is an accepted wiring method. So while opinions can run wild I adhere to the manufactures specifications and the NEC’s guidance and give my opinion on that.

What is interested is I am a Master Electrician and NEC Columnist and I give my opinion and people agree and disagree but they know my history and experience…While people do searchs on the internet and find someone whom they probably dont know and dont know their credits and tend to believe dribble. I base my stances on industry KNOWNS and not on personal opinions alone.

With that said, you are not going to find 12 AWG or 10 AWG in new construction as assumed and stated in the article that was linked because you just wont find the wiring. However, if the method comes back and proper devices are used that accept AL wiring and it most certainly will be AA8000 compliant since we have had that for over 40 years now…I have no problem with it…the problem will come from electrician ignorance in the installation and not from the product itself…most electrical things fail today because of improper installation and short cuts .

Good information Paul!

But we have to keep in mind that when inspecting homes with Al wiring built in the late 60’s early 70’s, the problem may still be there and we should report it as such.

Below copied from the southwire article:

*[FONT=TradeGothicLTStd-Bold][size=2]A problem that happened 40 years ago,[/size][/FONT]
[size=2][FONT=TradeGothicLTStd-Bold]failure of utility grade aluminum and a simple
steel screw, is simply not relevant to the
aluminum building wire installed today. With
the development of an improved aluminum alloy,

AA-8000, increased NEC
[/size][/FONT][FONT=TradeGothicLTStd-Bold][size=1]® [/size][/FONT][FONT=TradeGothicLTStd-Bold][size=2]and UL[/size][/FONT][FONT=TradeGothicLTStd-Bold][size=1]® [/size][/FONT][FONT=TradeGothicLTStd-Bold][size=2]requirements,[/size][/FONT]
[size=2][FONT=TradeGothicLTStd-Bold]and a proven track record of over 30 years,
aluminum building wire is just as safe and just
as reliable as copper.*

The article begins by pointing out that the leading cause of the issues with aluminum wire in the past…was workmanship.

What has changed?

In a Missouri county where there are no building codes, no licensing of electricians, and no one to inspect their work…this article implies that the prospective home buyer should note the existence of aluminum wiring, and run like hell.

That will be my advice, anyway.


The leading cause of any problems with electrical material will be workmanship. We can’t account for someone being a jackleg or lacking the desire to be the best they can be on a given day when installing the wiring within a structure. However, with a generally reliable inspection process in most municipal locations we can atleast hope that some guidelines are kept as gospel. Every inspector is encourages to read and learn as much as they can about many topics and I am always encouraging that knowledge growth. My efforts on this topic is to avoid a blanket statement simply because of AL Wiring within a structure and focus on the fact the terminations are the root cause of much of the problem.

The wiring of pre-1972 is a concern and will remain a concern as stated in the book I just did with Gerry and Nick. However, we simply can’t blanket statement AL Wiring as a whole and lets understand a few things. The stranded wiring is made of the same alloy you would get today if single conductors were produced. Which is safer? This is the direction I was attempting to venture down but it seems to be a moot point at this point. Remember this, While I teach thousands of inspectors from my point of view, each inspector embraces it from their point of view so in your example James…In a return of “sorry-ness” for you in that you have to deal with a location with no minimum standards in a world where atleast we have minimums which people are encouraged to exceed, you don’t have that option and this I wish I could change.

My intent is to open up the view and look at AL Wiring differently. Many people still think AL wiring even in the sized like 4/0AL is suspect…this is simply not the case and has no basis in a report. If anyone were to call out 4/0AL Wiring on a 200A service as a safety concern to a dwelling service would be shocking…it has no basis and years of reliable service to stand behind it.

BTW…I am not here to CHANGE anyones opinion on AL Wiring. I am not sure where that actually came from or if it was even said…lol. What I wanted to do as always with my posts is to provide information to make the HI think and make up their own mind when the times comes to use their knowledge of the situation. If you want my personal feelings then here it is…

Pre-1972 AL Wiring I recommend to be evaluated and all terminations checked. Post-1972 I recommend all terminations to be checked in that I know alot of terminations are suspect.

The goal was to bring more information about AL Wiring…not make excuses for it and FYI I would install AL Wiring for a 200A Service everyday of the week without a minutes loss of sleep…and I have to say this also, if they did come out with 12AWG or 10AWG again and UL Tested it and it was on the market legally…I would have no problems using it. However, that would be my clients choice at that point because I believe in offering my clients options.