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UHF
All static, all day, Forever
Premium,MVM
join:2002-05-24
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[Electrical] Aluminum wiring

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I stole these pics from a friend on Facebook. She was nuking some food when she heard a loud pop, and saw smoke from the outlet the microwave was plugged into. The apartment complex maintenance guy replaced the outlet, and this is what it looked like.

Is this a case of Aluminum wiring make poor contact, or is something more going on here? My first thought was loose terminal before I noticed it was aluminum.


nunya
LXI 483
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O Fallon, MO
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You can't use aluminum wire with GFCI receptacles (if you can find an ALR GFCI receptacle, you're a better man than I). The receptacles terminals are only rated for copper. There should be a pig-tail of Al-Cu before the receptacle with these:
»www.kinginnovation.com/products/ ··· SWlc7bPE

~or~

They could install a GFCI breaker and install an ALR receptacle.

My guess is the "maintenance man" just threw another improper GFCI in there and went back to unclogging toilets and changing air filters.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4
said by nunya:

You can't use aluminum wire with GFCI receptacles.....

I think that maintenance man just proved you wrong.

nyrrule27

join:2007-12-06
Howell, NJ
He prob meant you shouldn't , not you can't.


Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4
Yes. It was said in jest.

wth
Premium
join:2002-02-20
Iowa City,IA
reply to UHF
I'd say that maint man has a lot of work to check/switch out all of the GFCI outlets before the apartment complex burns down.


nunya
LXI 483
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join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:13
I'm sure the owner probably has it well insured. Hopefully the OP's friend has renter's insurance. It's usually pretty affordable.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


John Galt
Forward, March
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join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
reply to nunya
said by nunya:

My guess is the "maintenance man" just threw another improper GFCI in there and went back to unclogging toilets and changing air filters drinking coffee and chasing the hawt tenants.

FIFY


nunya
LXI 483
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join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:13
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8 recommendations


Please always remember and never forget...


Anonymous_
Anonymous
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127.0.0.1
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4 edits
reply to nunya
said by nunya:

I'm sure the owner probably has it well insured. Hopefully the OP's friend has renter's insurance. It's usually pretty affordable.

better hope they cover Aluminum wiring LOL

most insurances have a clause that will decline the claim... more then likely it has a higher premium.

OP should notify the owner directly if the incorrect plug was used

You can't cut corners with Aluminum or copper wiring

doing so will cause a fire eventually

Beezel

join:2008-12-15
Las Vegas, NV
reply to nunya
said by nunya:

Hey my boy Schneider.....


whizkid3
Premium,MVM
join:2002-02-21
Queens, NY
kudos:9

1 recommendation

Haven't you heard of Schneider Electric?

»www.schneider-electric.com


UHF
All static, all day, Forever
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join:2002-05-24
reply to UHF
She works for the fire department. I'll see if she can have the chief go do a fire inspection


DarkHelmet

join:2014-02-21
said by UHF:

She works for the fire department. I'll see if she can have the chief go do a fire inspection

Just have her tell the landlord about the issue. You don't have to go behind their back. Do you just want her to piss off her landlord? If the landlord doesn't remedy the problem THEN take the next step.


UHF
All static, all day, Forever
Premium,MVM
join:2002-05-24
I'm sure the landlord knows and doesn't care. She's had a lot of issues at that complex that they "fix" only to have the problem return a few weeks later. So why doesn't she move? Good question!


DarkHelmet

join:2014-02-21
said by UHF:

I'm sure the landlord knows and doesn't care. She's had a lot of issues at that complex that they "fix" only to have the problem return a few weeks later. So why doesn't she move? Good question!

We all know what assumptions get and in a legal battle guess who will be wrong? Don't set your friend up for failure. There is a specified legal process to handle this typically spelled out in the lease or by state law.


Hall
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join:2000-04-28
Germantown, OH
kudos:2
reply to wth
said by wth:

I'd say that maint man has a lot of work to check/switch out all of the GFCI outlets before the apartment complex burns down.

Not gonna happen


UHF
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reply to DarkHelmet
The maintenance man, who works for the landlord, told her the wiring was aluminum. Apparently he called in a second guy because he wasn't qualified to work on this problem. She said the second guy appeared to know what he was doing, but I'm not sure what he did to actually fix it. Hopefully he did it right, but the rest of the wiring in the building is a concern.

I'll tell her to ask management to check over the rest of the wiring in her unit. Maybe she can say she's paranoid because one of the firemen told her it can be dangerous, and then they won't think she's "bitching" so much as just being a paranoid little bitch


DarkHelmet

join:2014-02-21
said by UHF:

The maintenance man, who works for the landlord, told her the wiring was aluminum. Apparently he called in a second guy because he wasn't qualified to work on this problem. She said the second guy appeared to know what he was doing, but I'm not sure what he did to actually fix it. Hopefully he did it right, but the rest of the wiring in the building is a concern.

I'll tell her to ask management to check over the rest of the wiring in her unit. Maybe she can say she's paranoid because one of the firemen told her it can be dangerous, and then they won't think she's "bitching" so much as just being a paranoid little bitch

You're not going to get them to rewire the building even if you call every news station and fire department in the entire state. The best you can do is get them to make sure what's there is safe.


Hall
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join:2000-04-28
Germantown, OH
kudos:2
reply to Anonymous_
said by Anonymous_:

better hope they cover Aluminum wiring LOL

most insurances have a clause that will decline the claim... more then likely it has a higher premium.

I don't believe that's true. The insurance company agreed to cover it as-is. If they don't like AL wiring, they need to "inspect" the property before they write the policy and at that point, say they won't cover it because of (insert reason(s) here).


UHF
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reply to Hall
said by Hall:

Not gonna happen

Probably not. My experience with managers of large complexes is that they don't care, if something happens then insurance can pay to fix it.

I lived in a building built in '68 that had aluminum wire, and sure enough, there was a fire that destroyed 4 units, and caused smoke damage to 30 more units. Did they check the wiring in any of the other units after the fire? No. Did they try their best to hide the fact that the fire was caused by aluminum wiring? Yes.

Officially the cause was "unknown". The electrician that was contracted to work on the building told me it was aluminum wiring. As did several fire fighters. I moved when my lease was up.


UHF
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reply to DarkHelmet
said by DarkHelmet:

ou're not going to get them to rewire the building even if you call every news station and fire department in the entire state. The best you can do is get them to make sure what's there is safe.

I agree. That's all I would expect them to do. Just check terminations to make sure they're tight and not getting hot.


Lurch77
Premium
join:2001-11-22
Oconto, WI
kudos:4
reply to Hall
said by Hall:

said by Anonymous_:

better hope they cover Aluminum wiring LOL

most insurances have a clause that will decline the claim... more then likely it has a higher premium.

I don't believe that's true. The insurance company agreed to cover it as-is. If they don't like AL wiring, they need to "inspect" the property before they write the policy and at that point, say they won't cover it because of (insert reason(s) here).

Yeah, in my renting years I've never had an inspection of the property done to get coverage. And they never asked me specifics like this. They generally just asked standard questions, like address, type of dwelling, and sometimes what I thought my belongings would cost to replace. They never asked about the electric, appliance power source, roof type, etc.

Mr Matt

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reply to UHF
said by UHF:

Is this a case of Aluminum wiring make poor contact, or is something more going on here?

I read an article as to why Aluminum wire was decertified from being used for residential interior wiring many years ago. There were several electrical fires caused by cold flow. It was a characteristic of aluminum to cold flow. No matter how you tighten the screw the Aluminum wire will flow away from the pressure exerted by the screw compressing the wire unless the terminal compresses the wire all the way around. If you look at the terminals terminating aluminum service entrance cable you will see that the terminal completely compresses the conductor to prevent cold flow. There are pigtail adapters to transition Aluminum wire to copper conductors.


Hall
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join:2000-04-28
Germantown, OH
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reply to Lurch77
In the case of renter's insurance, yeah, they're generally only concerned with your stuff. The structure is someone else's problem.

Even in the case of homeowner's insurance, when we moved in, the agent came to our house for an "inspection". I say inspection because I'm sure it was nothing more than "look for existing damage so they can't file a claim later". He did take rough measurements, looked around, and asked if we had a dog or dogs and if so, what breed. As far as I know, he knew nothing about structures, wiring, plumbing, etc -- he was not a "home inspector". Years later, we switched, and the agent had one of his assistants do a "drive-by" inspection. Nothing more....

------------

I did find some stuff while Googling about some carriers will refuse to write a policy if they know there's AL wiring, but nothing done after the fact. That's a different matter though.


Anonymous_
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reply to Hall
said by Hall:

said by Anonymous_:

better hope they cover Aluminum wiring LOL

most insurances have a clause that will decline the claim... more then likely it has a higher premium.

I don't believe that's true. The insurance company agreed to cover it as-is. If they don't like AL wiring, they need to "inspect" the property before they write the policy and at that point, say they won't cover it because of (insert reason(s) here).

Well it must be a grandfathered policy then.


DarkHelmet

join:2014-02-21
said by Anonymous_:

said by Hall:

said by Anonymous_:

better hope they cover Aluminum wiring LOL

most insurances have a clause that will decline the claim... more then likely it has a higher premium.

I don't believe that's true. The insurance company agreed to cover it as-is. If they don't like AL wiring, they need to "inspect" the property before they write the policy and at that point, say they won't cover it because of (insert reason(s) here).

Well it must be a grandfathered policy then.

Maybe it's by state but here I just switched companies and there's nothing about aluminum wiring anywhere and most houses were built between 1950 and 1970 in this area. If they write the policy they'll cover it.


OldCableGuy2

@communications.net
Any good insurance company worth their salt is going to send an inspector out and yes they'll check for Au wiring as this is a well known issue. Sure, your major companies like Nationwide/State Farm/etc don't do this, but then you are paying for all the payouts for issues like this. My insurance company literally costs 1/3 of those, is a mutual that only covers my county, and the inspect every property they write a policy for. They wouldn't give me replacement cost on my roof because it was 10 years old, but once I replaced the (10 years later) roof they sent an inspector out and they rewrote my policy for replacement cost on the roof.


OldCableGuy2

@communications.net
Whoops I meant Al wiring, for some reason my phone changed that from Al to Au.


Jack_in_VA
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reply to OldCableGuy2
said by OldCableGuy2 :

Any good insurance company worth their salt is going to send an inspector out and yes they'll check for Au wiring as this is a well known issue. Sure, your major companies like Nationwide/

Nationwide is in fact a mutual company. i.e.

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company

They did not check for Aluminum wiring.