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Replacing Aluminum Electrical Wiring with Copper


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

Guide to Upgrading Aluminum Wiring to Copper Wiring: Electrical Circuits, Lighting Circuits, AFCI Circuit, Living Room Circuit.


Rewiring Aluminum Circuits with Copper Wire

Aluminum Wiring: I am rewiring my house to change aluminum wire to copper wire. Does it make any sense to put in all 20 amp circuits 12 gauge or just the higher load circuits on 20 amp and the remainder as 15 ampĀ  14 gauge wire. It may be that installing all 20 amp circuits is not the best use of my money for lighting circuits in bedrooms and living room. Any thoughts?

This electrical question came from: Mark, a Homeowner from Tonawanda, New York.
Additional Comments: Great website. Lots of help for the guy with limited electrical knowledge.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Mark.

Preparations

Application: Upgrading Older Home Electrical Wiring.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced.
Tools Required: Electricians Pouch of Hand Tools for Rough-In Wiring, Electric Drill and Auger Bits, Extension Cords, and Ladders.
Construction Safety: All personal safety measures must be taken when performing remodel projects where you may come into contact with hazardous materials and environmental contaminants such as fiberglass insulation, vermiculite and asbestos, molds or mildew, as well as dust.
Estimated Time: Depends on the extent of the project, the type of wall coverings and structural construction and available access to the project area.
Precaution: Any existing wiring in the immediate area that may interfere with the installation should be identified and turned OFF and Tagged.
Notice: Installing additional electrical wiring or upgrading existing electrical circuits and wiring should always be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

Guide to Upgrading Aluminum Wiring to Copper Wiring

Considerations when rewiring a home and replacing aluminum wiring with copper wire.

  • Electrical Circuits
    • Keep track of the number of devices that will be on each circuit, such as outlets and light fixtures.
  • Lighting Circuits
    • With the lighting circuits attention should be given to the number of fixtures and the size light bulb that will be installed.
  • AFCI Circuit
    • Generally I install 14/2 for the bedroom AFCI circuit and I install 14/2 for my lighting circuits, again keeping track of the number of outlets or light fixtures that will be on the circuits.
  • Living Room Circuit
    • The same applies to the circuit wiring for the living room. Plan for any future loads such as large screen flat panel TV, home entertainment systems etc.
  • Aluminum Wiring
    • Replacing the #12 gauge aluminum wiring with copper wire is always a great thing to do, I highly recommend it.
  • Large Electrical Circuits
    • Larger amperage loads being served with aluminum wire is OK unless the equipment states that aluminum wire should not be used, such is the case with hot tubs and air conditioners and other equipment that requires copper wire only.

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This link is helpful as a Homeowner
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» Click here to learn more about Home Electrical Wiring «
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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all projects.

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