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Solutions to Aluminum Wiring Problems

Solutions to Aluminum Wiring Problems

Last month we discussed problems with aluminum wiring, and possible ways to detect those problems.  This month we offer solutions.

  1. Remove “push in” terminals and replace them with screw connection terminals where the wiring is looped around a screw and held in place by the head of the screw.
  2. You (or a licensed electrician) can install short copper “pigtails” to connect to the aluminum wiring, and then the “pigtail” can be attached to the electrical device.   This splicing can be accomplished with special crimp connectors, special miniature lug-type connectors, or twist-on connectors.  The US. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends two connectors:
    a. Special crimp-on connectors called COPALUM connectors
    b. Miniature lug-type connectors called AlumiConn connectors
    Note, however, that “pigtailing” has issues.  The oxidation that occurs with aluminum wiring can cause poor connections.  Also, since aluminum and copper are different metals, corrosion can occur, causing the connections to become unstable.
  3. The most extreme alternative is to rip out all the aluminum wiring and replace it with copper wiring.  This can be extremely expensive. However some insurance companies will not insure homes with aluminum wiring.  Others require a certificate from a licensed electrician or the electrical authority. 

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*Based on research conducted January - August 2016