Electrical Questions? Ask an Electrician Online.
Welcome. My name is XXXXX XXXXX would be glad to assist.
Hi Jesse, In order to change out those receptacles, you would need to use some special connectors and change the wires over to copper.
CLICK HERE and you can see the special connectors that allow you to go from the aluminum to copper pigtails. Then you van use the standard copper receptacles as you have already used.
That would mean a major rewire job in a two story house built in 1972 without electrical conduits. The new outlet boxes look very similiar to the old ones, so what is different if I just change the outlets?
Those connectors are used at the box for the receptacles, there is no rewiring involved
CLICK HERE and watch a video installation
Aluminum required a special type of receptacle and switches, they are CO/ALR
Using another type you must use copper wire or it will heat and burn out. Very dangerous
I am not doing anything other than disconnecting the wiring from the old outlets and switches and reconnecting the same wires to the screws on the new outlets and switches. No wire to wire connections are involved.
Receptacles MUST be CO/ALR
the ones you have are for copper only
Did you watch the video?
The receptacles that use aluminum wire connections cost around $5-$7 each. Changing over to copper pigtails will have a safer connection and be less expensive to change in the future. Insurance cost for the home should be less expensive as well if you report it to the insurance company of the changes.
Even the special receptacles and switches will get loose over time and cause problems. They always have and always will if not changed to copper pigtails for connection.
I did just now watch the video. At home Depot I did not see any replacement outlets and switches specifically designated for aluminum. I purchased the Leviton Tamper Resistant outlets and switches which is the highest quality offered by Home Depot.
If they are not COALR, do not put them on aluminum wire
CLICK HERE and see a Leviton receptacle made for Aluminum wiring.
Best to use the little changeover blocks posted earlier and be safe for the future. They can be purchased at some Home Depots or Online.
Then use any receptacle you wish.
does the same changeover block need to be used for switches
That is correct
Some of the boxes are crowded with wires already. How do the changeover blocks fit in? I have the square receptacle and switch design already installed on a copper circuit and would like to continue the same with the aluminum circuits. Seems that my home used some aluminum circuits and some copper and I can't tell the difference until I go into the boxes and check the wires
They can be tight with the blocks. They push back into the box. There is one more approved method, but it takes a little more work and special crimper to apply. It does fit into boxes and takes less room on situations where it is tight in the boxes. It is called COPALUM, but I believe you have to hire certified electricians for the installation.
CLICK HERE to read the CPSC ruling on authorized connectors for aluminum
The ALUMICONN was approved after the COPALUM in that article
Do the COALR receptacles and switches come in the new square outlet designs made by Leviton that are tamper resistant? I went to the site you suggested to order the COALR products and only saw the round ones like the ones I am replacing.
They are limited because they suggest to only use them for a needed repair and recommend to change over to copper pigtails. There are very few out there in the market place and they do not have any different styles to choose from
Which wires need the blocks? A switch has typically has 3 wires - a ground, a hot wire and a return. Do I need three blocks for the three wires?
Grounds are not required for the blocks
all others are, blacks and whites
Any idea as to the cost of the blocks and where to get them?
CLICK HERE at Home Depot online
OK, thanks for your help....
Ok, you are most welcome. Usually just doing a few every week eventually gets the whole house in a short time. Our customers like to spread out the costs