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Aluminum electrical wiring field failure photographs: Color photos and descriptive captions from CPSC Meeting 9/28/95.
In this document aluminum wire twist-on connector failures and repair procedures are described,
including aluminum wire repair methods which work and methods which do not work and are unsafe. Color photos of aluminum wire repair procedures, and photos of failed connectors are included.
This document series describes hazards with existing aluminum wiring repair products, explains the aluminum wiring failure mechanism,
and reviews recommended retrofit procedures including use of readily-available materials. This information was presented to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission by Dr. J. Aronstein, 9/28/95.
The minutes of that meeting were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and posted by Daniel Friedman January 1996.
Click any image to see an enlarged version.
10. Field failures are also seen. These were from an aluminum-wired senior housing complex in the DC area.
A large number of these twist-on connector splices were found with various degrees of heat damage in an on-site inspection in which CPSC participated. (Photo courtesy of Tom Donahue)
11. The earliest visible sign of overheating is often softening and melting of the wire insulation, as in this field failure.
12. This field failure shorted to ground when the thermoplastic insulating shell softened due to overheating in the connector-spring area. Short circuits, due to insulation deterioration on the
connector or wire, add to the fire hazard posed by the failure of aluminum-wired twist-on connections.
13. This field failure is from Canada, where they had a substantial number of aluminum-to-copper twist-on splice failures in electric baseboard heater installations.
14. This field failure was in service 9 years. Failure of the aluminum-wired twist-on splices occurs in a relatively short time for a component of the permanent built-in wiring of a home.
15. Note the burn-back of the wire insulation and the characteristic discoloration pattern on the connector shell of this field failure. (Photo courtesy of Eleanor Posey)
16. This last field failure again shows the typical overheating band. A number of field failures have been shown to emphasize that they are not rare. Both UL and CPSC investigated field performance
and uncovered a substantial number of failures, with the worst-case failures resulting in structural fire and fatalities.
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Questions & answers or comments about field failures of aluminum wiring connections and repair connections.
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 "Record of Commission Action, Commissioners Voting by Ballot", CPSC Publication No. 516, Repairing Aluminum Wiring (original version op.cit.), (Briefing package dated March 15, 2011), Quoting: The Commission voted unanimously (5-0)·to approve republication of CPSC Publication No. 516, Repairing Aluminum Wiring, with the explicit recognition that the COPALUM and AlumiConn connectors currently are the only products that meet the agency's standards to prevent aluminum wire fire hazards Copy on file as /aluminum/Pub516_Alumi_Conn.pdf
 Dr. Jess Aronstein, firstname.lastname@example.org is a research consultant and an electrical engineer in Schenectady, NY. Dr. Aronstein provides forensic engineering services and independent laboratory testing for various agencies. Dr. Aronstein has published widely on and has designed and conducted tests on aluminum wiring failures, Federal Pacific Stab-Lok electrical equipment, and numerous electrical products and hazards. See Aluminum Wiring Bibliography and see FPE HAZARD ARTICLES, STUDIES for examples.
 "The Influence of Corrosion Inhibitor and Surface Abrasion on the Failure of Aluminum-Wired Twist-on Connections",
Aronstein, J.; Campbell, W.,
Components, Hybrids, and Manufacturing Technology, IEEE Transactions on
Volume 7, Issue 1, Mar 1984 Page(s): 20 - 24
 Thanks to reader Thomas Kremer
for suggesting clarification to this topic 08/09
 Personal communication, Email, P. King to D Friedman, 3/10/2012 [copy on file AlumiConn_PK120310.pdf].
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
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ALUMINUM WIRE REPAIR METHODS to reduce risk in buildings with Aluminum Electrical Wiring - Overview of Acceptable Repair Practices (in the document you are presently viewing)
Aluminum Wire Repair Method Details - "How to" details, how to identify, COPALUM repair, alternative repairs, history, products, research, source of special AMP TYCO COPALUM connectors & COPALUM Electricians (in the document you are presently viewing)
COPALUM Electricians: Sources of TYCO COPALUM -Certified/Trained Aluminum Wire Repair Services (in the document you are presently viewing)
Other Products, Ideal 65 Purple Twister (not recommended), & other Aluminum Wire Products/Articles (in the document you are presently viewing)
Reducing the Fire Hazards in Aluminum-Wired Homes, Jess Aronstein, Ph.D., This document answers most technical questions about the hazards and remedies of aluminum electrical wiring. Some of the sections of this very thorough document are listed below: