Wow, 15Amps to 20amps circuit made a big difference!

Bucknekked

Bucknekked

Audioholic Field Marshall
I used to know what the issue is, but it has been over 2 decades and I'm not certain; however, it seems like the real problem was at the interface where the Al wires tied into the Cu feeds? Maybe dielectric induced corrosion? Of course, the compatible interfaces are out there, but many electricians are either unaware or simply don't want to have to make the extra effort to get the "non-standard" interface pads!
Same with me. I had to look up what the bruhaha was about since I'd forgotten. I had a home inspected once because we were afraid it had aluminum wire. It did not. That's about the only thing that wasn't wrong with that home.
My place was built in 1946 and has Aluminum- I'll be glad to sell it.
I hear you. Its like having a home built on an indian burial ground. Its probably not going to bite you given you've gotten this far. But at re-sale time who knows what will rise up and kill off some equity value?

Aluminum wiring is an interesting discussion. There's a punchline here somewhere for the snake oil cable and replacement A/C cable people. I just can't quite put it together in my head. Sigh.
 
Bucknekked

Bucknekked

Audioholic Field Marshall
Hey, I know a couple of guys that are scrappers. They'll be More than glad to come rip out all that aluminum wire for free! Just let them keep all that nasty aluminum wire that's how they make money. They go around from State to State won't charge you a dime. Than you get an electrician to rewire your house with copper grade. Cut your cost about half! Than when you finally sell off your house you'll get a lot more for it. :D
roving gypsy wire scrappers. What could go wrong there?:)
 
Phase 2

Phase 2

Audioholic Chief
roving gypsy wire scrappers. What could go wrong there?:)
Yeah, this dude, not to mention probably a crackhead, meth head who knows. Lolo..it was mostly a joke..but hey some people gotta make money anyway they can. But aluminum wiring in a house not good. They use to use that crap in mobile homes, which was the cause of a lot of fires. Those that where built with that crap, would heat up very fast if your electrical box wasn't balanced out properly. So people being people started plug-in microwave ovens toasters and whatever into two receptacles so you can guess the rest..Them older mobile homes would go up like a roman candle burn up in less than 30 minutes..
 
S

Sparkus

Junior Audioholic
Actually, your service from the utility is aluminum wire and your mast to your meter is filled with copper, standard not an absolute. The differance is usage, confinement and connection. When you have wire in free air, the current has less impact as heat than when confined. Like metals also play a huge role, as Bucknekked pointed out.
Another, very prominent, issue with all wiring is usage. People don't understand anything about current and wiring capacity. Many times in my career I've pulled 30 amp fused out of a 15 amp circuit in a home. They would increase the fuse size not understanding the wire could not hold that current...that's a fire.
People simply don't understand electricity and tend to think of it as an endless resource...it's actually limited in all applications by it's conductors, it's terminations and the quality of the devices employed.
I recently added 3 outlets to a house. The entire house had 5 - 15 amp circuits. :) and the service disconnect was a very old 2 pole knife switch.
For sensitive equipment...ground, ground, ground.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
I hear you. Its like having a home built on an indian burial ground. Its probably not going to bite you given you've gotten this far. But at re-sale time who knows what will rise up and kill off some equity value?

Aluminum wiring is an interesting discussion. There's a punchline here somewhere for the snake oil cable and replacement A/C cable people. I just can't quite put it together in my head. Sigh.
It works, as long as it's not overtaxed and I don't have a Clark W Griswold cluster of power and extension cords plugged into my outlets because I understand what could happen. I was doing some remodeling and repairs in 2001- I removed the light fixture in a hallway and lost half of the 2nd floor because the neutral from those outlets broke off when I twisted the wire nut on. When I installed the new fixture, I saw the wire that was needed and as soon as I connected it and turn the breaker on, everything worked normally. I was really dreading the cost of repairing the circuit.

My audio system sounds just fine, too.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Yeah, this dude, not to mention probably a crackhead, meth head who knows. Lolo..it was mostly a joke..but hey some people gotta make money anyway they can. But aluminum wiring in a house not good. They use to use that crap in mobile homes, which was the cause of a lot of fires. Those that where built with that crap, would heat up very fast if your electrical box wasn't balanced out properly. So people being people started plug-in microwave ovens toasters and whatever into two receptacles so you can guess the rest..Them older mobile homes would go up like a roman candle burn up in less than 30 minutes..
The reason for the fires came from not increasing the gauge when Aluminum was used, and that's definitely a requirement.

I recently heard about police finding two dead guys near the service entrance of a building- they were trying to steal wire and found out the hard way that cutting a live 4800VAC line isn't a good thing.
 
Kvn_Walker

Kvn_Walker

Audioholic Chief
Agreed, this thread should have been titled:
Replacing overloaded circuits in 130 year old home made a difference!
I know! I was all ready to fire up a snarky post about audiophile circuit breakers but then I saw this discussion was based on factual information! :D
 
Kvn_Walker

Kvn_Walker

Audioholic Chief
I would agree there were serious fires and issues back in the day with aluminum wired homes/buildings. In keeping with the AH's focus on "just the facts maam" and not too much hyperbole, that's why I wrote about aluminum wiring itself is not the culprit. Aluminum wiring hasn't been used in construction here since the late 1960's, but its not "illegal". Its just not what anybody wants and nobody will build with it.

Here in Arizona there are 1,000's of homes from the 1960's that are still wired with aluminum wire and are doing quite nicely. They get bought and sold on a regular basis. They pass home inspections, get insured, and the fed loans money on them. They are deemed as good as anything else because they don't have the flash points and limitations of those places that got shoddy installs and caused all the problems.

I'll stick with my original opinion on aluminum wiring however. Since I only have one family and one set of loved ones, if I was looking at a potential property and found it had aluminum wiring, I would pass on it ore require the seller to have it rewired in copper.
Guess you won't be at my open house this weekend. :(

My entire neighborhood, and a huge chunk of the city for that matter, was built up in the late 60's. Just like you said, the houses do pass hands frequently and smoothly. Being near an Army base surely helps a lot.

I just worry about the dearth of support for this wiring that exists in probably hundreds of thousands of homes. There only seem to be one or two CO/ALR outlets on the market and they are both quite cheaply made. I've had to replace a few around the house for arcing and sparking, and these are what was supposed to be built for the purpose. My biggest concern is going behind jacklegs hired by prior owners and finding copper tied to aluminum with orange wire nuts because the purple ones or Alumiconns cost too much. Ceiling fans are a leading culprit of this, from what I've seen.

I'm taking the same stance as you next time I buy though... copper or walk.
 
S

Sparkus

Junior Audioholic
It reads like knob and tube...anytime I've ever encountered knob and tube I dreaded it...can of worms. The insulation disintegrates, the wire breaks...hate the stuff. A one hour job turns into 8.
 
B

baronvonellis

Audioholic
Update- I replaced the old lamp wire I was using for my front channels with 10 gauge Blue Jeans Cable, and now it sounds even better! The sound is more dynamic, with the mid bass being more punchy and clearer on the highs as well. At moderate levels around 70 db before, I could hear it start to lose dynamic range and distort, now it doesn't compress and lose dynamics at that level, and I find myself wanting to turn it up louder now haha.
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Samurai
Well that's the thing I was constantly tripping my breaker before, so I think my amp was starved for current. Now that it has a good supply of current, the sound quality overall has improved. It sounds like I upgraded the speakers.
In my opinion, before the new circuit installation, your line voltage on the 15 amp circuit most likely was on the low side. With more appliances connected to it, there was more amperage drawn from it and that contributed to lowering the voltage with resulting frequent breaker trippings.
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Samurai
My place was built in 1946 and has Aluminum- I'll be glad to sell it.
Your State government would not subsidize for the rewiring? I know that's a costly proposition and involves a lot of work, but if you sell the house, you have to declare that it has AL wiring and that would obviously reduce the value of your house. It would also be easier to sell if the wiring was replaced, right?
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Your State government would not subsidize for the rewiring? I know that's a costly proposition and involves a lot of work, but if you sell the house, you have to declare that it has AL wiring and that would obviously reduce the value of your house. It would also be easier to sell if the wiring was replaced, right?
Rewiring isn't something I plan to do, regardless of who pays for it. I'll find out if it has to be disclosed, but I haven't had any problems with the wiring, even when I had a window air conditioner.
 
S

Sparkus

Junior Audioholic
There is nothing wrong with aluminum wiring.
There can be issues with aluminum/copper connections, however, service drops across the nation are AL/CU connections. The receptacles in your home have steel screws, , the lugs in your panel are AL. EVERYONE has dissimilar metal terminations in their home or business. The entire issue is proper wire sizing for OCP (breaker/fuse/MS) and proper install/use. If your wire is undersized for the OCP, I don't care if you have gold wiring...your gonna heat it up. I.E.: you trip a breaker with an AC unit or a grow room, and you just put in a bigger breaker, yeah...your gonna have a problem.
A poor install is a poor install.
ALL terminations WILL loosen over time but unless your really taxing your electrical system it's nothing to worry about...because at the point it becomes a threat is when your OCP does it's job or you start seeing issues. Electrical fires are not that common, they happen but Fire Marshall's have and do blame fires they can't answer on electrical.
There is no greater threat with AL wiring, copper is a better conductor and therefore can be smaller. That's it as far as voltage and current in common wiring situations.
 

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