Aluminum Wiring Mitigation Facts Cincinnati, OH
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Aluminum Wiring Mitigation Facts
Rewire, COPALUM, AlumiConn, or Purple Wire Nuts?
It has been determined you have an existing AL wiring system in your house. There are many avenues to pursue as far as mitigation methods are concerned. There seems to be as many answers to this question as there are Contractors in the field. In reality there are only THREE answers to this question and they are spelled out as clearly and concisely as possible by the United States Consumer Product Commission in their Publication 516 available at: https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/516.pdf.
We will take these in order of Cullen Electric’s recommendations and the CSPC’s Industry fact finding since they run congruently to each other:
The best method of mitigation is to rewire your structure utilizing copper branch circuit wiring installed per Code as pertains to your local Jurisdiction. This completely eliminates AL wiring from your home and introduces ground fault and arc fault protection as well as circuit separation and grounding to satisfy modern day electronics and appliances. This is not always affordable or cost effective for the homeowner, especially if the owner is in the sales process.
Tyco Electronics invented an Exothermic welding process that allows for irreversible and permanent mitigation to occur at each individual termination point (where wiring comes together at an outlet, lighting fixture, appliance, etc.). AL wiring typically breaks down at termination points since this is where dissimilar metals (dielectric failure) come together or the conductor is exposed to air and humidity which causes the eventual oxidation of the metal in the AL conductor. The introduction of the exothermic welds to copper conductors allows for those two issues to be mitigated. The conductors are considered “properly repaired and safe” following this procedure. This is the only scientifically proven method for mitigation that has stood the test of time.
COPALUM installers undergo certification through TE class work and practical application training. The equipment is proprietary to the method and to date no other manufacturer has been able to duplicate the process to the point the CSPC is willing to certify their methods as “permanent and safe”. Cullen Electric is a Certified TE COPALUM Installer. Certification involves an investment by the Contractor for training and an ongoing expense in tool and equipment rental. There are a handful of Certified Contractors in our local market.
These are connectors that utilize a terminal strip embedded in a plastic insulated covering. The CPSC recognizes this as a method to mitigate IF COPALUM mitigation is not available in your area. This is relatively new and hasn’t “had the test of time” approval that COPALUM has. It is suggested to do this as a “better than nothing” approach and this method from the installation perspective may be just as expensive as COPALUM since the installer is limited by the number of spaces available on the individual connectors.
Twist-On Connectors (Purple Wire Nuts)
The CSPC has determined that “It is possible that some pig-tailing 'repairs' made with twist-on connectors may be prone to even more failures than the original aluminum wire connectors. Accordingly, CPSC staff believes that this method of repair does not solve the problem of overheating present in aluminum-wired branch circuits.” If you have a Contractor recommend this repair you should invite them out of your home immediately. AL wiring is dangerous enough to work on by trained individuals as it is. If you have a Contractor telling you this is an approved method, they obviously are intentionally misleading you or are ignorant to proper mitigation practices. Either scenario should be a giant red flag that you do not need them working on your AL wiring system.
We are happy to explain all of the methods in detail if you need further information. We are one of largest rewire Contractors in the region and can handle any rewire project from 400 Square feet to 40,000 Square feet and everything in between. We are also COPALUM certified and can help you with that facet as needed. We will NOT estimate a project where the Homeowner opts for AlumiConn or “Twist style” mitigation.