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  1. #1
    Patrick Knight's Avatar
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    Default Aluminum grounds with Copper branch wiring

    I came across this Square D panel yesterday. Everything seems to be in order however I am unsure as to the acceptable use of aluminum as grounding wires in a predominantly copper wired panel. Is this something that should be noted and referred to a licensed electrician for further evaluation?

    Is it possible the alum ground is for an appliance? The sub panel is also shown in the next picture, and it contains all copper wiring.

    Thank you for your time!

    PK

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Aluminum grounds with Copper branch wiring

    I've run across this a couple times over the years.... I seem to remember it's a 1960s era roughly. Logically, I can't see a problem as the ground system doesn't regularly carry current but my SOPs do require I call out any aluminum 110volt circuits so I at least brought it to their attention.

    I think I may have posted about this before so you might try a search.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Aluminum grounds with Copper branch wiring

    Could you post larger pics? 640 X 480 pixels.
    I can't see enough detail to draw any conclusions.
    What is the age of the house?

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  4. #4
    Patrick Knight's Avatar
    Patrick Knight Guest

    Default Re: Aluminum grounds with Copper branch wiring

    I thought the pics were larger. Thanks for any additional help!

    PK

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  5. #5
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    Default Re: Aluminum grounds with Copper branch wiring

    As far as I can make out, there are some Al neutrals as well. Sometimes the camera flash will make Cu look pale, so it's hard to tell. But usually if there are solid Al grounds, the hots and neutrals are also Al.

    Yes, I would call for an electrician to go over the connections. not just in the panel, but at the fixtures as well. Something to look for is reno'd rooms where they've bought new receptacles at a box store. They will often use cheap Cu-only fixtures, and mix Cu and Al with the wrong wire nuts, etc.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Aluminum grounds with Copper branch wiring

    bigger pictures please


  7. #7
    Patrick Knight's Avatar
    Patrick Knight Guest

    Default Re: Aluminum grounds with Copper branch wiring

    I made my pictures as big as they allow and then uploaded and it makes them even smaller. Do not know what gives. If you would like to see a bigger picture, I can email it to you. Thanks, PK

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: Aluminum grounds with Copper branch wiring

    patrick

    still to small to really see--but most of the problems with alum branch wires is at the outlet and switches . they can get hot and alter the expansion and contraction of the wire. wires get loose and mr. sparky shows up. but even lately, some electricians are cop/alum cripping the wires in the panel.

    cvf


  9. #9

    Default Re: Aluminum grounds with Copper branch wiring

    There are a couple fo other things that I noticed that should be mentioned. In the main panel there are a couple of distribution wires that have too much sheathing exposed in the panel. One is just visible in the top left (a couple of inches of sheathing), and the other comes all the way down on the right. There should be less than 1 inch of sheathing on the wires as they enter the panel.

    It is tough to tell on the sub-panel, but it looks like as though the insulation is stripped back on the feed wires for several inches. The is not correct and presents a significant safety risk for anyone working in the panel.


  10. #10
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    Default Re: Aluminum grounds with Copper branch wiring

    What about color code?


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Aluminum grounds with Copper branch wiring

    Quote Originally Posted by John Lindley-Howard View Post
    There are a couple fo other things that I noticed that should be mentioned. In the main panel there are a couple of distribution wires that have too much sheathing exposed in the panel. One is just visible in the top left (a couple of inches of sheathing), and the other comes all the way down on the right. There should be less than 1 inch of sheathing on the wires as they enter the panel.

    It is tough to tell on the sub-panel, but it looks like as though the insulation is stripped back on the feed wires for several inches. The is not correct and presents a significant safety risk for anyone working in the panel.
    The NEC states that a minimum of 1/4 inch of sheath must extend beyond the cable clamp. It doesn't say anything about a maximum, although an install like this is usually a sign of an amature at work.

    It looks like your stripped too long wires have paint on them.


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