I have aluminum wiring in the basement! - oh no!

Reply

  #1  
Old 01-13-17, 09:14 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: United States
Posts: 892
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I have aluminum wiring in the basement! - oh no!

What should I do?

I found 2 (or I think 3) aluminum wires. One seems to be on a dedicated circuit from the wash machine in the basement to the panel and the other one
goes behind some insulation to a small finished area of the basement that the previous owner did into a small closet and outlet.

Here's the pics:
Name:  IMG_0722JPG.jpg
Views: 346
Size:  29.8 KB

Name:  IMG_0739JPG.jpg
Views: 315
Size:  24.9 KB
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 01-13-17, 09:32 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 59,726
Received 1,185 Votes on 1,097 Posts
No big deal. Actually you're lucky as in you pretty much have access to the cabling.
I would plan to remove it.

Start with the washer circuit.
 
  #3  
Old 01-13-17, 10:03 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: United States
Posts: 892
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Permit for replacing cable?

First, can I do electrical work on my mother's house if I get a permit?

Sorry, I meant to title the post "cable" (Romex), not "wire"!

1. Do you need a permit to rewire a "homerun" Should an electrician attach cable to panel or is that something a DIY can do safely?

2. Can I replace an outlet receptacle without a permit?

3. Can I replace a junction box without a permit?

4. How about change outlet to GFCI?
 
  #4  
Old 01-13-17, 10:29 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,583
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
That depends on your local county or municipal regulations. You need to call your local inspection office.
 
  #5  
Old 01-13-17, 10:32 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: United States
Posts: 892
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Start with the washer circuit
Do I need a permit? How about connecting to the panel?
 
  #6  
Old 01-13-17, 10:58 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 15,174
Received 92 Votes on 79 Posts
Requirements for permits and who can do the work is not universal. Call your local building officials.
 
  #7  
Old 01-14-17, 04:43 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,965
Received 6 Votes on 6 Posts
Too many threads on the same subject. It is becoming confusing. Try to consolidate them as much as possible. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...ent-oh-no.html
 
  #8  
Old 01-14-17, 09:19 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,583
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
Threads merged. .
 
  #9  
Old 01-14-17, 12:27 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: United States
Posts: 892
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Good news I replaced 2 receptacles today because the electrician put in tan ones and my outlet covers are white. Anyways he put in "tamper resistant" types and now I reverted to regular duplex.

One question. Do I HAVE to replace these with TR receptacles? The GOOD news is that I found a couple aluminum cables in the basement as you know by this thread and I was worried that there may be some on the walls. There still MAY be, but I checked these 2 outlets and they were copper wires as far as I can tell.

The first receptacle looked like it's "pigtailed" and then goes somewhere else (most likely 2 the next bedroom outlet I would suspect. Here's the pics. What are those wirenuts with the yellow on the end? It's like a rubber insulation. Does it take the place of electrical tape?

Name:  IMG_0740JPG.jpg
Views: 271
Size:  24.6 KB

Name:  IMG_0742JPG.jpg
Views: 283
Size:  30.2 KB

Name:  IMG_0741JPG.jpg
Views: 273
Size:  20.6 KB
 
  #10  
Old 01-14-17, 01:21 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 10,702
Received 92 Votes on 82 Posts
Do I HAVE to replace these with TR receptacles?
That depends on local codes.

What are those wirenuts with the yellow on the end? It's like a rubber insulation. Does it take the place of electrical tape?
I believe those are probably 3M connectors. You do not need nor should you use electrical tape on any twist-on wire connector or wirenut.

The first receptacle looked like it's "pigtailed" and then goes somewhere else (most likely 2 the next bedroom outlet I would suspect.
At the pigtail, check the power IN cable and the power OUT cable carefully, are either aluminum? If so, you do not want aluminum wire coming into direct contact with copper wire...period. That would mean you cannot use any type twist-on connector there.
 
  #11  
Old 01-14-17, 01:37 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 15,174
Received 92 Votes on 79 Posts
The yellow is just a flexible skirt to cover any exposed copper past the splice.
 
  #12  
Old 01-14-17, 06:50 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: United States
Posts: 892
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
At the pigtail, check the power IN cable and the power OUT cable carefully, are either aluminum? If so, you do not want aluminum wire coming into direct contact with copper wire...period. That would mean you cannot use any type twist-on connector there.
Thanks, I'll check that out tomorrow, but I don't believe they are aluminum.
 
  #13  
Old 01-14-17, 06:59 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: United States
Posts: 892
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Ok guys you know that aluminum cable I found in the basement? Well, I could see that it goes from the closet in the done over section in my basement up into a bedroom.

Sure enough one of the outlets has that NASTY Kasier Aluminum wire in it and it! Would it be a lot of work for an electrician to pull this wire down into the basement and replace it with copper cable? Is it something I could do myself?

Anyways, in the bedroom the 4th outlet (4 walls, 4 outlets) has this backstabbing thing going on. I know NOTHING about this (but I'm going to research right now). They APPEAR so far to be copper, but I couldn't get them out to check, but I could see what appeared to be copper, maybe you can tell by the pics.

How do you get the wires out of the backstab? Why do people put them in there? Why are there 3 whites and a black going into the receptacle? I want to replace this old receptacle with a new TR Leviton.

Name:  IMG_0750JPG.jpg
Views: 283
Size:  26.2 KB

Name:  IMG_0751JPG.jpg
Views: 275
Size:  22.1 KB

Name:  IMG_0752JPG.jpg
Views: 152
Size:  20.1 KB
 
  #14  
Old 01-14-17, 07:14 PM
F
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Wet side of Washington state.
Posts: 18,495
Received 36 Votes on 28 Posts
How do you get the wires out of the backstab?
Next to the hole with the wire will be a rectangular hole. You need an itty-bitty screwdriver to insert into the rectangular hole to release the backstab spring. Sometimes you need to lever the screwdriver back and forth.

Why do people put them in there?
Backstabs are an acceptable method of making the connection under the electrical codes and NRTL testing although they are nowhere near as secure as the screws.
 
  #15  
Old 01-14-17, 07:39 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: United States
Posts: 892
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Can anyone tell me what's going on in the outlet I took a picture of below? I realize now they're a little blurry so sorry. Why is there one HOT and 3 whites in the backstabs?

What are the bottom screws for?

Would it be better to pigtail into the top 2 screws when I put the new receptacle in?

UPDATE***

I think I've got it with the OUTLET here. It's a SWITCHED OUTLET, but ONLY the TOP outlet is switched and the BOTTOM is ON ALWAYS! I never knew that! This is really convenient I suppose! Maybe that explains why the 4 wires are going in the backstabs like they are?

So to replace with a new Levition (TR) receptacle can I just put all 4 wires on the corresponding screws and have the same set-up?

Thanks for all the info guys! This is fun stuff!! ........ Until I get electrocuted! LOL!

Thanks
 
  #16  
Old 01-14-17, 08:13 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,583
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
Assuming copper wire just use the screws and don't use the back stabs.
 
  #17  
Old 01-14-17, 08:18 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 59,726
Received 1,185 Votes on 1,097 Posts
Make sure you do not find any aluminum wiring in the backstabs. That is an immediate red flag and needs to be corrected last week.

When a receptacle is used for half live and half switched.... the hot side (brass) jumper needs to be broken off so that the two halves are separated.

Name:  recp.jpg
Views: 135
Size:  18.3 KB
 
  #18  
Old 01-14-17, 10:56 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: United States
Posts: 892
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Make sure you do not find any aluminum wiring in the backstabs. That is an immediate red flag and needs to be corrected last week.

When a receptacle is used for half live and half switched.... the hot side (brass) jumper needs to be broken off so that the two halves are separated.
Thanks, I just learned about the tab thing after doing some research. I wouldn't have known that so thanks.

From what I can see (a little peeking out from the backstab) they fortunately look copper, but I'll see better tomorrow.

Ah I think I found out why there's 3 white wires! One is the HOT coming from the switch unmarked with electrical tape maybe? See pic below.
 
  #19  
Old 01-14-17, 11:01 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: United States
Posts: 892
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Assuming copper wire just use the screws and don't use the back stabs.
Yeah, i think I'm making more out of it than I should. Just put them in the screws just like I found them right? I'm going to check both ends of everything though to make sure there's no aluminum!
 
  #20  
Old 01-30-17, 07:55 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: United States
Posts: 892
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Ok, here's something weird. I have 3 aluminum lines in the house and they all appear to go from the panel to one receptacle. One doesn't though. I've inspected the aluminum ends that are at the receptacles and they seem fine, but of course I'd still like to change them out soon.

Anyways, I'm wondering. Why would somebody wire just one outlet with an aluminum cable?

For example, in the basement I can see one of the aluminum cable (a black Keiser with green lettering) goes from the panel right up into the living room and sure enough it goes to ONE receptacle on that wall.

So I'm assuming this ONE outlet is it's own circuit? Why?

Similarly there's another line that goes right up from the basement into my ONE bedroom outlet that has aluminum also.

The other one goes from the washer to the panel.

I'm guessing these shouldn't be much trouble for an electrician to change out?

I would do it, but I can't mess with the panel.
 
  #21  
Old 01-30-17, 08:01 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,583
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
The lines were probably added after the house was built at a time when aluminum cable was in common use. No mystery there.
 
  #22  
Old 01-30-17, 08:46 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: United States
Posts: 892
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
The lines were probably added after the house was built at a time when aluminum cable was in common use. No mystery there
Thanks ray that makes sense. So you mean they decided to add a couple new outlets or whatever and used aluminum and just made a few more circuits in the process? Could you give me a ROUGH idea the cost of changing out those 3 lines? They're pretty accessible and look to me at least to be pretty easy to change. I would hope it would be under $500.

For example, one line is completely in the open in the basement going from the panel to the dryer. One goes as I said from the panel maybe 5 feet to an outlet in the living room on the next level. The other one goes from the done over part of the basement to my outlet just above.

Maybe I can just call an electrician and get an estimate. It's not any rush, but I think I'd like to get them changed out in the near future. From what I can see though, they're fine on the receptacle ends. There's nothing burnt or anything.
 
  #23  
Old 01-30-17, 10:07 PM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,583
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
Could you give me a ROUGH idea the cost of changing out those 3 lines?
No, all prices are local. Call three electricians and take the middle price.
 
Reply
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: