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Old 25-May-2012, 4:17 AM   #7
Junior Member
Join Date: May 2012
Location: MD, Soon back to MT
Posts: 1

Hello to everyone:

Yes Electron is correct in one sense, aluminum wire is not the preferred material for typical residential and commercial wiring. This is because when the wire is under a high load, aluminum wiring has a high expansion rate. After the load is removed (say a skillsaw for instance, after many cuts) the wire cools and eventually ends up shrinking back to original size. The constant expansion and contraction cycles will eventually lead to a loose connection where the wire is attached to the outlet, or series of outlets. These loose connections can eventually lead to overheating, and worse yet, fires. Some of the newer connectors are made with these concerns in mind, however, I would prefer copper all of the way.

Having said that, a ground connection using aluminum wire is a whole different thing. In most cases there is no noticeable load whatsoever. If there is, one would definitely have other things to worry about.

I use to install a lot of Starband satellites. The common practice back then was to install the ground wire using aluminum wire, which is what I did as well. However, after driving the ground rod into the soil, I always left a couple inches of the ground rod above ground. The aluminum wire was then attached (clamped) above grade. While this doesn't look quite as nice, it seems as if the integrity of the clamp is achieved by the connection being above ground.

Coincidentally, I am only here because I am having a garage sale tomorrow. I had a bulk of the ground wires, as well as other installation items from my past work. I came upon this site trying to figure out a reasonable price to charge for the items I had.

I look forward to checking this site out more in the future.
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