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Using Copper and Aluminum Wire for Home Circuits
Dave Rongey -
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Home Wiring with Copper and Aluminum Wiring: Safe uses of Aluminum Wire for Larger Home Electrical Circuits, Advantages of Copper Wire for Home Electrical Circuits.
Copper and Aluminum Home Electrical Wiring
The new light has both black and white wires of stranded aluminum and comes with orange wire nuts. The manufacturer’s 800 number says that the supplied orange wire nuts are fine for this light’s copper-aluminum connection.
- Do one or the other or both connectors need to be special CU/AL connectors such as Ideal Twister? For instance, can the neutral group remain within a standard connector?
- If standard connectors are OK, can I still use the current large black connector to twist the light’s neutral aluminum strands with the other four neutral coppers?
Thanks for any assistance you can give.
This electrical question came from: Joe, a Homeowner from Woodridge, Illinois.
Thanks for your electrical question Joe.
Installing Aluminum Wiring for Home Electrical Circuits
Home Wiring with Copper and Aluminum Wiring
Joe, the fixture wires are most likely tinned copper wires, not aluminum wires, so they may have the appearance of aluminum wires but they are not.
Restrictions of Aluminum Wiring for Homes
- The electrical code once allowed homes to be wired with aluminum wire, and at that time it was allowed for #12 aluminum wire to be used for 15 amp circuits, however that is not longer permitted or allowed.
- Many home and mobile home fires have been linked to the use of aluminum wiring, especially with branch circuits for lighting and receptacle outlets.
Approved Aluminum Electrical Wiring for Homes
- The installation of permitted aluminum wiring must still be acceptable by your local building department. Areas that are near the ocean were salt will affect then integrity and connections of aluminum wire will have restrictions on the installation of aluminum wiring.
- In areas where aluminum wire is permitted the installation must be followed according to the electrical codes. On example of the code states that for standard over current device sizes, use for protection of a non-motor appliance, a 45 amp circuit with #6 SE Aluminum cable may be used.
Safe Uses of Aluminum Wire for Larger Home Electrical Circuits
Aluminum wire may be used where permitted and as indicated by the electrical code and installed according to the provisions that ensure safety and circuit integrity, including the use of non-corrosive compounds, and approved terminals or wire connectors for use with aluminum wire.
Advantages of Copper Wire for Home Electrical Circuits
- Without a doubt, copper is a very good choice for electrical wiring. It is common to see that some of the larger loads state that copper wire is required, such as for hot tubs and many air conditioners, and other equipment.
- Copper offers less resistance and does not expand and contract under load like aluminum wire does, which is a major cause of circuit connection failures.
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- Guide to Home Electrical Wire
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