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ELECTRICAL INSPECTION, DIAGNOSIS, REPAIR
ALUMINUM WIRING HAZARDS & REPAIRS
Aluminum Wiring Summary Page for Public Use
BUILDING SAFETY HAZARDS GUIDE
BOOKSTORE - ELECTRICAL
Cadet & Encore Heater Recall
CIRCUIT BREAKER FAILURE
Classified CIRCUIT BREAKER WARNING
CUTLER HAMMER PANEL FIRE
DEFINITIONS of ELECTRICAL TERMS
DMM Digital Multimeter HOW TO USE
ELECTRIC PANEL INSPECTION
ELECTRICAL GROUND SYSTEM INSPECTION
FIRE SAFETY Checklist, CPSC
GFCI PROTECTION,Testing GFCIs AFCIs
KNOB & TUBE WIRING
LIGHTNING PROTECTION SYSTEMS
LOW VOLTAGE BUILDING WIRING
MURRAY SIEMENS Recall
PUSHMATIC - BULLDOG PANELS
RUST in ELECTRICAL PANELS
SAFETY for ELECTRICAL INSPECTORS
SIEMENS MURRAY Recall
VOLTS / AMPS MEASUREMENT EQUIP
VOLTAGE MEASUREMENT METHODS
ZINSCO / SYLVANIA HAZARDS
This article contains additional notes on aluminum wiring intended for home inspectors. Readers should also see the Aluminum Wiring Home Page
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The CPSC SAFETY concerns with aluminum wiring hazards and problems with some of the aluminum wiring repair connectors on the market raise safety concerns. Home inspectors should review the CPSC recommendations for and against various aluminum wiring repair connectors (available at this website).
In addition to the re-wiring option, there are aluminum-to-copper connection products that perform well for aluminum wiring repair using the copper-pigtailing method.
Based field experience with the inspection of in-service residential electrical wiring, the availability to consumers of any comparatively low-cost "solution," if it is approved for only narrow, specific, limited use, may result in widespread do-it-yourself misapplication and possibly dangerous use of the device.
We've already seen this problem where we've found use of common twist-on connectors as a "retrofit" made by homeowners and electricians who have heard that there is a "pigtailing" "fix" but who have not read the CPSC literature or who considered the AMP TYCO COPALUM aluminum wiring repair too costly or too difficult to obtain in their area.
Improper use of connectors can actually increase the probability of a fire since owners think the aluminum wiring hazard has been eliminated and may ignore important signs of a looming failure.
Ordinarily the CPSC does not "approve" nor "disapprove" specific products. An exception was the case of the "Copalum connector" for aluminum wiring, probably because another product of equal reliability had not been listed, and because of the inherent dangers of improper retrofit attempts.
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The link just above provides access to Reducing the Fire Hazards in Aluminum-Wired Homes, by Dr. Jess Aronstein, Ph.D., This document answers most technical questions about the hazards and remedies of aluminum electrical wiring. An easy to print form of this guide in PDF form is also provided free at ALUMINUM-WIRED HOMES, REDUCE THE HAZARD [PDF].
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