Actual Use Of Cca Wire


    This article introduces the history of CCA wire and its safe use in American homes. Photo at the top of the page: Copper-clad aluminum wire showing the stripped and cut ends.

    Copper Clad Aluminum Wire
    Copper Clad Aluminum Wire Marker (C) InspectApedia Roger Hankey Thomas J. D'Agostino, P.E., C.I., & Daniel Friedman Update 2016/09/26 2018/11/18

    The photo of the copper-clad aluminum wire shown above illustrates where the product is installed in a home in Minnesota: the photo was provided by and used with permission from Roger Hankey, a Minnesota house inspector.

    A close-up of the copper-clad aluminum wire shows the copper sheath (C) Daniel Friedman's copper-clad aluminum wire is made of a solid aluminum core and covered with a copper skin to improve its performance in the field. The product was installed in American homes between 1972 and 1975.

    Above, you can see a close-up of a typical end cut of #10 copper clad aluminum wire. The image shows the thickness of the copper cladding (yellow arrow) and the cut trace (white arrow) at the end of the aluminum conductor of the wire.

    In fact, at the lower edge of the cutting edge above "COR" in the word "CORE", you may notice that a small amount of copper coating is applied to the cut wire end through the wire cutting process
    I don’t think that copper-clad aluminum wires may not appear in old houses where wires are added or changed during the same period of time, and copper-clad aluminum wires may also appear in newly built houses, although it is unlikely that after 1975, if Electricians used and hoped to run out of stocks of old copper clad aluminum wires.

    Is it safe to leave the copper clad aluminum wire in place?
    Yes. Copper-clad aluminum wires are described in REDUCE THE AL WIRE RISK: DETAILS and Aronstein (2011).

    Copper-clad aluminum wire (Nos. 12-10 AWG) has a thin copper shell and aluminum core. Therefore, after installation and when visible in the main electrical service panel, it looks like "thick" copper wire (ie 10-12 AWG and 12-14 AWG), and at the cut end, the copper skin appears to be "smeared" On the aluminum core.

    The markings on the cable sheath include "Al" or "Aluminum". There is no known history of connection overheating problems associated with copper clad aluminum wires. There is no need to take any corrective measures for copper clad aluminum wire. -Arenstein (2011), D'Agostino (2014)

    How to identify copper clad aluminum wire
    Example of Copper Clad Aluminum Wire (C) Daniel Friedman

    For technical reasons, it is useful to realize that the wires are copper clad aluminum. For example, the wire gauge or diameter size of the copper clad aluminum wire will follow the same physical size as the solid aluminum wire. 15 Amp circuits should be connected with #12 aluminum wire, #12 copper-clad aluminum wire, or #14 solid copper wire.

    We have summarized these wire sizes for aluminum, copper, and copper clad wires, the wire sizes required for electrical sockets used for common household branch circuit wiring, as well as safety cables and wire sizes and ampere wire sizes, including from #14 AWG to 4 /0 wire size working group.

    Externally, if we do not pay attention to the printed labels and markings that may appear on the copper-clad aluminum wire, if we only look at the wire itself and strip the insulation, the wire looks like a copper wire.

    Below, in our Renolds Aluminex 12/2 AL (CU-CLAD) photo with a grounded copper-clad aluminum wire (Lawrence Transue), the bottom of the electrical box looks like a bare copper ground wire (orange circle). And when inadvertently inspected, it looks like a pair of twisted-pair copper neutral wires (red circles), with the twisted connector removed. ,

    The silver cut ends are always there, but it is difficult to find, for two reasons:

    Oxidation makes aluminum gray:

    The end of the older copper-clad aluminum wire was originally shiny silver when it was cut for the first time, but it would oxidize to gray, which is easily overlooked.

    Almost all copper-clad aluminum wires you find in buildings today will be obsolete.
    Conical extruded copper covered aluminum:

    The end of the silver aluminum wire is also covered by the outer copper coating of the wire. When the wire is cut, it is usually squeezed out by a wire clamp.

    When the CU-CLAD AL wire is initially cut, the wire cutter will not produce a square cutting wire end.

    Instead, the end of the wire is clamped at an angle to further squeeze the copper cladding onto the aluminum, which may be visible at the end of the wire.

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