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Old 07-09-2014, 11:24 AM   #1
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Aluminum Romex Wire?

I am planning to add an electrical outlet in my trailer. Everything existing is with aluminum romex. Where can I find more of that? Is there an issue if I add a line using copper romex? Thanks
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Old 07-09-2014, 11:50 AM   #2
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If I remember correctly, aluminum wiring was used in the late 60s through early 80s because of the cost. It worked OK but the aluminum wire would expand and contract with the weather, working itself loose from the connectors and causing hot spots. I don't think you can get aluminum wiring anymore but you shouldn't have any problem using copper. I wouldn't mix copper and aluminum on any of the connections.
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Old 07-09-2014, 12:24 PM   #3
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You can add copper wiring into the mix. You need connection materials (such as light switches, receptacles, split bolts, etc.) that are rated for "Al/Cu" applications. I always coat my aluminum connections with NoOx or an equal oxidation preventative.
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Old 07-09-2014, 12:26 PM   #4
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If you are installing a separate circuit for the trailer from your panel box use copper wire.

Aluminum wire has a long history of causing fires because of poor connections as noted above.
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Old 07-09-2014, 01:09 PM   #5
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It is best to tighten aluminum wire connections often. They tend to get loose then arch then burn. New copper branch lines won't hurt anything.

Perry
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Old 07-09-2014, 01:29 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by perryg114 View Post
It is best to tighten aluminum wire connections often. They tend to get loose then arch then burn. New copper branch lines won't hurt anything.

Perry
Aluminum connections loosen when oxidation occurs and resistance increases which causes the wire(s) to expand. When things cool some shrinkage occurs thereby creating additional resistance in the connection and increased heating the next time the circuit is energized.

Re-tightening is not recommended in most instances. Here is a link to some useful information on the subject.

Electrical | The Aluminum Association
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Old 07-09-2014, 02:39 PM   #7
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I am planning to add an electrical outlet in my trailer. Everything existing is with aluminum romex. Where can I find more of that? Is there an issue if I add a line using copper romex? Thanks
Recommendations regarding aluminum wire are controversial and have been for years. The CPSC does not recommend CO-ALR devices. Instead, they offer three recommendations: 1) replace with copper wire, 2) use the COPALUM crimp connectors, 3) use AlumiConn connectors.

http://www.cpsc.gov/en/media/documen...minum-wiring-/

COPALUM connectors are sold only to licensed electricians who have completed a product-specific training program and purchased specialized crimping equipment. Since most homes wired with aluminum branch circuits were remediated years ago, there are few electricians left who still work with this product.

The AlumiConn connectors can be purchased by anyone for around $3 each. They must be installed with a calibrated torque-limiting screwdriver or inch-pound torque wrench to achieve their maximum safety potential.

Some people believe that the CPSC recommendations are overly conservative. ::shrug::
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Old 07-09-2014, 03:10 PM   #8
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I would replace any aluminum wire you can gain access to with copper. Its just better in all regards. Aluminum romex falls under the category of " tried it, it didn't work out too well, won't do that again.
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Old 07-09-2014, 04:00 PM   #9
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I have had the misfortune (over the past 40 years), of 1. having a home in VA that was wired with aluminum wiring -- which needed constant attention due to oxidation, arcing, etc., and, 2. a home in CA that was plumbed with polybutylene piping -- which as most of you know, was fine...it was the crimping devices that failed causing leaks galore and a huge class action suit. Nowadays I have only copper wiring, a house with copper pipes, and outbuildings and a trailer plumbed with cross linked polyethylene -- commonly known as PEX. I wouldn't go back for nothing. (Oh, and I wouldn't be interested in a trailer using rubber hosing for propane either...)
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Old 07-09-2014, 05:31 PM   #10
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I did some wiring w/aluminum it is now history along w/problems, as copper took care of this.
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Old 07-09-2014, 08:20 PM   #11
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It is not something I would prefer over copper. Aluminum wire is still used a lot but not to wire small stuff. Check connections often. The grease you put on the terminals is supposed to reduce oxidation. I lived in a trailer in grad school and was sitting against the wall and it felt hot. I took the cover off the wall socket and the wire insulation was burned about an inch back from the end of the wire. All of the plugs in the trailer were like this. The landlord and I replaced all the sockets with new ones rated for Aluminum.

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Old 07-10-2014, 03:55 AM   #12
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Aluminum is still used for mains cable, however I would replace any interior lines that I could get to. I have had two duplexes that were built using aluminum wire, had to rewire both to be able to get insurance on them. I have a house right now that has PB plumbing in it, slowly getting it replaced. The fittings on it fail when exposed to chlorine. House has been on a well for 25 years, and city water for 10...

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Old 07-10-2014, 09:57 AM   #13
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The load on the wire is a big factor. If you are only using an amp or two you are probably not going to have an issue. If you are running a space heater, microwave, AC etc then replacing the wiring with copper is best.

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Old 07-15-2014, 02:01 PM   #14
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Thanks to everyone for your comments and recommendations. I decided that I was into it deep enough that to just replace everything in copper was not that big of a deal, just a couple hours of dirty work. Thanks again.
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