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  1. #1
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    Default copalum verses purple wire nut

    hey all
    wonder what your area does about this-----most colorado fixes--that i have seen converting aluminum wires in outlets and switches-is by using the PURPLE wire nut behind outlets and switches---i know many publications say to use the copalum crimper fix----but most electricians dont have the crimper tool to do this--and i think it is a copalum statement only---i inspected a house today where there were yellow--red--and other wire nuts used to convert----don't think this is accepted because of the heat --WHATS IN YOUR WALLET
    CHARLIE

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    Charlie,

    I believe the purple wire nuts are UL approved. I have no problem with them, but I rarely see them. I do not open/remove receptacles or switches.

    Department of Redundancy Department
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    HEY GUNNAR
    i dont usually open outlets and just recommend evaluation by licenced electrician-- but had two with covers off and took a peek---one red wire nut and the other yellow---i said woops--thanks


  4. #4
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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    Most any time I see Aluminum, there is enough wrong to have an electrician out anyway.
    Even when it looks clean, I ALWAYS defer to an electrician who specializes in Aluminum conversion.
    I will take off a representative number of outlets (our state SOP also requires it) for a peek.
    But I warn my clients that I cannot see everything that the electrician has done and you need a letter to go with the property for insurance and later sales anyway.
    One big concern for me is that most of the aluminum that I see is in multi dwelling unit buildings (notice I did not use the "C" word) and no matter how well this unit is done, you never know about the neighbor unit.
    If they burn down the building, you good wiring won't help!

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  5. #5
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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission has a bunch of info on this. As of about 5 years ago (last time I really researched it) the only accepted fix was the specialized copalum crimp. They went to great lengths to specifically denounce the use of the previously accepted purple wire nuts.

    Again, this was five years ago so you might want to check out their site to see if there is any more recent news. As the others mention, there's usually enough more wrong to justify calling out an electrician.

    Something relating to this I was just talking about with another inspector... My state SoP (Oregon) are really pretty vague about most things. One of the few items they specifically require us to call out is the presence of any 110 volt aluminum electric circuits. That alone is usually enough to get people's attention.


  6. #6
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    Even when it looks clean, I ALWAYS defer to an electrician who specializes in Aluminum conversion.
    Jim:

    I agree. Even if they do the receptacles right, they often will not do the main panel, almost never do the switches, and never do the light fixtures or attic junction boxes. Besides, the electricians need something to do other than drill oversized holes in studs and wire things backwards. It promotes diversity.

    notice I did not use the "C" word
    Ah, but that will make ECJ cringe . . .

    Aaron


  7. #7
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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    I absolutely agree with Jim and Aaron...

    There may be a representative number of pig-tailed outlet receptacles. But the switches, c-fans, attic j-boxes, etc... are almost never done.

    Remember, these folks (sellers) are usually being advised by realtors who only are aware of or only want to do the minimum to be able to sale the home. Also, pigtailing is not a recommended repair by the Consumer Protection Safety Commission (see attachment).

    ALWAYS... recommend a licensed and qualified electrical contractor who specializes in aluminum conversions--even if all "APPEARS" alright with your sampling.

    Back to the original question...

    Charlie, open the second attachment on my post and take a look on pages 5-6. The Amp connector and/or the purple type "Alumicon" are the answer.

    The "Reducing the Fire Hazard" and "The History of Aluminum Wiring" are damn good reading and should be mandatory for all inspectors.

    Rich

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  8. #8
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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Rushing View Post
    Charlie, open the second attachment on my post and take a look on pages 5-6. The Amp connector and/or the purple type "Alumicon" are the answer.

    Rich,

    The expand your answer and to answer other as yet unasked questions:

    "The Amp connector and/or the purple type "Alumicon" are the answer." ANY twist on wire nut of any color, including those purple ones, *are not* the answer and should be replaced. Call a qualified and licensed electrical contractor to perform repairs.

    I use the words "qualified" and "licensed" specifically as, to be 'qualified' in licensed states or licensed areas, one only needs to be "licensed", however, being "licensed" does not necessarily make one "qualified" to do the work.

    If a licensed contractor comes out and does it wrong, you had advised your client to hire one who was also "qualified" to do the work properly.

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    I use the words "qualified" and "licensed"
    ECJ:

    Unfortunately, the licensing agencies in question would have us believe that licensed=qualified. Though we know this is not the case, in your unending search to be precise with your words, might I suggest that you offer a better term or phrase for the use of HIs when referring clients to a professional this or that for further evaluation of a system or material?

    Thanks,

    Aaron


  10. #10
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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    might I suggest that you offer a better term or phrase for the use of HIs when referring clients to a professional this or that for further evaluation of a system or material?
    Aaron,

    The only "professionals" in construction are the architect, the engineer, the landscape engineer, the interior designer, all of whom are 'design professionals'. Those individuals are typically 'registered' with the state (at least in Florida).

    All others are considered 'the trades' and are 'licensed'.

    Yes, it is a quest trying to make sure that the wording says what you want it say, without it saying what you 'do not' want to say.

    Which is why I say either 'licensed and qualified' or 'qualified and licesned', acknowledging that 'the state' may grant a license to someone who thereby becomes qualified to do the work (i.e., they are "licensedlicensed"), and yet there is another term in addition to "licensed" in 'licensed and qualified' - that being "qualified", meaning that they are, indeed, 'qualified' to perform the task at hand.

    I wish there were an easier way to state it, but referring to having something done by a 'professional' typically does not apply to the normal application of the word 'professional' when it comes to construction.

    Bob Harper is a "professional" regarding fireplaces and hearths, John Steinke is a "licensed" electrician (at least I think I recall him telling us he was licensed).

    2a below is the typical application of the word 'professional' "2 a: participating for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by amateurs"

    Main Entry: 1pro·fes·sion·al Pronunciation: \prə-ˈfesh-nəl, -ˈfe-shə-nəl\ Function: adjective Date: 1606 1 a: of, relating to, or characteristic of a profession b: engaged in one of the learned professions c (1): characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession (2): exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace
    2 a: participating for gain or livelihood in an activity or field of endeavor often engaged in by amateurs <a professional golfer> b: having a particular profession as a permanent career <a professional soldier> c: engaged in by persons receiving financial return <professional football>
    3: following a line of conduct as though it were a profession <a professional patriot>
    — pro·fes·sion·al·ly adverb

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  11. #11
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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    I just use the word "qualified" alone, e.g., "Have a qualified electrician ....."

    In the section of my report that has general info I define "qualified" as "having the knowledge and skills to properly and legally complete the work in a professional and workmanlike manner." Implied is that the person has required licenses, pulls permits, and meets any other regulatory requirements that may apply to the job at hand.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    The only "professionals" in construction are the architect, the engineer, the landscape engineer, the interior designer, all of whom are 'design professionals'. Those individuals are typically 'registered' with the state (at least in Florida).

    Perhaps in Florida, but not here. In Texas, the highest designation of home inspector, for one example, is officially designated as a "professional inspector". This same person is also "licensed". And, in my experience most, yes most - not all - are incompetent. As for the engineers, et al. being "professional" as relates to competent, certainly not all will qualify. It is also pertinent to note here that several construction estimator guides list home inspectors as "certified building technicians", just to further thicken this alphabet soup.

    Which is why I say either 'licensed and qualified'
    How about using licensed and competent? Since, it seems, that licensed also infers qualified, at least by the licensing agency. Competent, on the other hand, denotes someone actually capable of doing the job properly.

    I wish there were an easier way to state it, but referring to having something done by a 'professional' typically does not apply to the normal application of the word 'professional' when it comes to construction.
    Agreed.

    (2): exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace
    This one could present a problem for some of us . . .

    Aaron


  13. #13
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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    How about using licensed and competent? Since, it seems, that licensed also infers qualified, at least by the licensing agency. Competent, on the other hand, denotes someone actually capable of doing the job properly.

    Competent it is, then.

    "Licensed" = legally 'allowed' (started to use the word "able" but changed it) to do the work, thereby givent the assumption that the person is "qualified" do to the work (whether they are or are not actually "competent" to do the work).

    "Competent" = able to complete the work properly (see 2 below - underlining is mine)

    Main Entry: com&#183;pe&#183;tentPronunciation: \ˈk&#228;m-pə-tənt\ Function: adjective Etymology: Middle English, suitable, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin competent-, competens, from present participle of competere Date: 15th century 1: proper or rightly pertinent
    2: having requisite or adequate ability or qualities : fit <a competent teacher> <a competent piece of work>
    3: legally qualified or adequate <a competent witness>
    4: having the capacity to function or develop in a particular way; specifically : having the capacity to respond (as by producing an antibody) to an antigenic determinant <immunologically competent cells>

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    I have abandoned my long use of the words “licensed” and “professional” and currently employ “competent” as the golden adjective de jour for report writing 101. The word “professional” has lost its significance and “licensed” means less than nothing, particularly when used in reference to today’s construction trades.
    Oxford American Dictionary of Current English: Competent – properly qualified or skilled; adequately capable; legally qualified.

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry McCarthy View Post
    Competent – properly qualified or skilled; adequately capable; legally qualified.
    That's covered by 2 and 3 in the definition in my post above:

    2: having requisite or adequate ability or qualities : fit <a competent teacher> <a competent piece of work>
    3: legally qualified or adequate <a competent witness>

    Thus "competent" it is ... but I don't know if I'm ready to let "licensed" fall by the wayside quite yet. Guess there is not really a problem with being redundant, and its just two more words ...

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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  16. #16
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    2: having requisite or adequate ability or qualities


    ECJ:

    So then, if one refers a client to a "licensed and competent" tradesperson, engineer (yes, they are also licensed), etc., it will then be up to that licensed individual who is referred to exhibit competency when called upon for further evaluation and/or repair of a system or material, and the onus should be effectively lifted from the home inspector who made this referral. And, of course, here I am alluding to generic referrals and not specific as in "call my brother-in-law the plumber", or "I can personally fix all of these things in my report sometime next week", or some such blather.

    Except, of course for the BoolDawg in Kansas, who, like Atlas, has chosen to bear the burdens of the real estate world upon his narrow canine shoulders . . .

    Aaron


  17. #17
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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    The word “professional” has lost its significance and “licensed” means less than nothing, particularly when used in reference to today’s construction trades.
    LCJ:

    How true . . . and sad . . .

    Aaron


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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaron Miller View Post
    So then, if one refers a client to a "licensed and competent" tradesperson, engineer (yes, they are also licensed), etc., it will then be up to that licensed individual who is referred to exhibit competency ...
    Yes Sir.

    That's the effect.

    If the person responds to a request for being licensed and competent as 'being licensed and competent', then they are expected to 'be competent'.

    If they respond by saying 'Yes, I am licensed' ... that is a sign we will need to make our clients aware of ... and the choice of that person leaving off the word "competent" then becomes a choice for the client to ... keep looking for someone who views themselves as licensed *and competent*.

    Talk about setting a contractor up for future litigation:

    Client: My home inspector recommended I contact a licensed and competent contractor, so I am calling you, are you licensed and competent?

    Contractor: Yes I am. What do you need to have done.

    As of that point, the contractor has committed themselves to be "competent" and able to do the work properly and up to all applicable codes, anything less and they are now saying 'I committed fraud by claiming to be competent when I was not', and fraud tolls most, if not all, statutes of limitations.

    The Client precedes to hire said Contractor, who precedes to 'screw it up like they typically do', the Client then sues the Contractor for fraud and, because the Contractor stated that 'they were 'competent, any defense (i.e., "excuse") for doing less than legally required evaporates.

    I like it!

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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    EC Jerry, sorry, I posted before seeing your previous post regarding your opine on the adjective "competent."
    However, after reading your last post, which was both amusing and accurate to say the least, I feel confirmed in my current posture on "competent." In a word, you made my day! Hmmmm that's 4 words, hope Aaron is OK with that?

    Jerry McCarthy
    Building Code/ Construction Consultant

  20. #20
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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    WC Jerry,

    Isn't it amazing what one little word can do?

    "competent"

    Just explain to our clients what the intent of that word is, make sure they understand that it is for their future status as Plaintiff to make sure to ask it that way.

    Then they are home free! (Okay, maybe their home will not be 'free', but they very well may be compensated for 'part of it'.)

    I'm not saying we should 'intentionally' go out trying to rip off contractors, just that if your client sets it up right, contractors trying to rip them off will have committed 'fraud', which is worse then 'not doing what one was supposed to do', or, 'doing what one was not supposed to do'.

    It's the difference between an 'act of omission' (I'm sorry Your Honor, I did not know I was supposed to do that.) and an 'act of commission' (Yes Your Honor, I did state that I was competent, meaning I knew what I was doing, then I failed to do same.)

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
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  21. #21
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    any defense (i.e., "excuse") for doing less than legally required evaporates.

    I like it!
    Me too.

    Aaron


  22. #22
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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    For those inspectors in DFW, I just received an invitation to the NTAREI meeting on May 13, 2008 where the speaker will be Richard Palmer from Slocum Electric who is supposed to speak on COPALUM. I can't vouch for them, but it might be informative and the Brinks guys buy your meal.
    Spring Creek BBQ @ Beltline & 183, Irving 7:00-9:00

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  23. #23
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    The biggest problem with all these fixes is that the boxes used in the 70's are not large enough to house all of these additional connectors.


  24. #24
    Aaron Miller's Avatar
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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    Quote Originally Posted by James Duffin View Post
    The biggest problem with all these fixes is that the boxes used in the 70's are not large enough to house all of these additional connectors.
    True, and if before 1972, you are dealing with first generation residential aluminum anyway . . . not NEC-compliant.

    Aaron


  25. #25
    Brandon Chew's Avatar
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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    Jerry, Jerry and Aaron,

    Based on your further discussion I think "competent" fits the bill well and I'll be using it in the future. Thanks.

    Brandon


  26. #26
    James Duffin's Avatar
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    Default Re: copalum verses purple wire nut

    I was glad to help too!


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