Aluminum Wiring Repair AMP Copalum

How Are You Wired?

If your home has aluminum wiring, you are 55 times more likely of having an electrical related fire. Between the years 1965 and 1972, approximately 2.5 million homes were constructed with aluminum wiring. If you are in one of them, there is a solution! CMI Solar & Electric is a certified Amp Copalum System installer (see below for more information on this system). Contact us today to receive a free estimate to repair your aluminum wiring today. 

Why Should You Be Concerned?
The wiring that creates concern is the single-strand solid aluminum wiring connected to the smaller branch circuits supplying receptacles, switches, lights, appliances, furnaces and more.

Corrosion of the metals in the connection, particularly the aluminum wire itself, causes increased resistance to the flow of electric current and the resistance causes overheating. Most modern homes have some aluminum wiring, including the main service wires, and the heavier 240-volt circuits that feed other major appliances, such as ranges and air conditioners. The higher voltage wiring does not present the same risk as 15-, 20- and 30-amp circuit wiring.

 

Signs of Trouble

Signs of trouble in aluminum wire systems include:

  • Cover plates on outlets or switches that are warm-to-the-touch
  • Flickering lights
  • Circuits that don't work, or work intermittently
  • The smell of burning plastic at outlets, switches, or lighting
  • Smoking outlets, switches, or lighting
  • Tripping circuit breakers, for no apparent reason
  • Unusual static on the radio or TV

Unfortunately, not all failing aluminum wired connections provide such easily detected warning signs. They can fail without any prior indications or problems.

 

What Can the Homeowner Do?

If you have noticed any of the trouble signs, have a qualified electrician determine whether the problem is caused by deteriorating aluminum connections. DO NOT TRY TO DO THIS YOURSELF!

You could be electrocuted or you could make the connections worse by disturbing them. If you are not certain whether your home has aluminum wiring, you may be able to tell by looking at the markings on the surface of the electric cables that are visible in unfinished basements, attics or garages. Aluminum wiring will have "AL" or "Aluminum" marked every few feet along the length of the cable.

 

How Can the Problem Be Fixed?

Since it may be impractical or cost prohibitive to rewire most homes, the Consumer Product Safety Commission, through research, laboratory tests and demonstration projects, has identified only one method for repairing aluminum wiring that meets the following criteria:

  1. Must repair every connection to, or splice between, aluminum wire in the home.
  2. The repaired connections must be permanent, but must result in a system that can be maintained without the need for special switches, outlets or connectors.
  3. The repair technique must be practical for use in an occupied and furnished home.

The only repair method that meets these criteria is the Amp Copalum System. This repair consists of attaching a piece of copper wire to the existing aluminum wire with a specially designed metal sleeve, which is crimped to 10,000 psi using a powered crimping tool. The sleeve and tool are matched and are only available through Amp Copalum System certified electricians, who are thoroughly trained by the manufacturer in the proper use of this tool.

Are There Other Solutions?
There are other repair methods often recommended by electricians who don't have access to the Amp Copalum System. While these methods may be less expensive than the Amp Copalum process, these repairs are not considered acceptable by the Consumer Product Safety Commission for solving the problem of overheating aluminum wiring circuits. It is possible that some pig-tailing "repairs" made with twist-on or push-on connectors may be even more prone to failure than the original aluminum wire connections.

 

More Information and Important Links

Download U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission brochure.

Other electricians have told me that purple wire nuts are just as good and they're cheaper. Is that true?.

For more information, visit these sites:

Aluminum Wiring Information Website

What Homeowners Need to Know About Aluminum Wiring