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Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 19
site351 Offline OP
Just many of you use the Aluminum SER
round cable for your downstream loadcenters ??

Your wiring a big home and you decide to install a
125 amp loadcenter on the other side of the house to save on
several other home run wires. Would you buy a # 2 copper SER
type cable or a # 1/0 Aluminum cable....of course 3 insulated
and a ground.

One of my contractors just got a call this morning from
a guy who says he will not accept the 222 WG aluminum wire
we used to feed a small 20 circuit loadcenter...he wants copper !! Its always been an issue with cost on most of the homes we wire....and I just cannot compete with other electrical contractors in the area if I use all copper wiring. That is what I told my builder. But this guy says he couldn't sleep at night knowing there was aluminum wire
in his walls.
I explained we use it all the time on our underground services and inside loadcenters . And I know how to install it. I always use the oxidizing inhibitor....even though
one inspector said it wasn't required.

Any of you guys ever run into this problem...first time for me.....

Joined: Dec 2000
Posts: 4,291
and I just cannot compete with other electrical contractors in the area if I use all copper wiring.

A change order, then, is how it's handled.

From Aluminum to Copper.
If aluminum is acceptable to the AHJ, then charge them for copper smile

Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 745
I absolutely cannot imagine NOT using aluminum SER for such an application. Copper for that is just plain crazy.

Originally Posted by site351
But this guy says he couldn't sleep at night knowing there was aluminum wire
in his walls.

That's because he's uneducated. The aluminum wire horror stories are based upon the aluminum branch circuit wiring done in the 1960's into the 1970's. It wasn't the wire itself that caused the problems; it was the wiring devices that weren't designed for aluminum wire. They hadn't even been invented yet!

I would run aluminum branch circuit wiring today using CO/ALR devices if I could. I know that will never happen since you can't trust that homeowners won't go back and alter the wiring improperly. I certainly have no problem with aluminum being used for ranges, dryers, furnaces or for feeders. That's how my house is wired. Ironically, they used copper for the 300 amp service.


"But the guy at Home Depot said it would work."
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,429
LK Offline
If he really wants to loose sleep let him worry about what a rodant can do to the NM Cable in the walls and attic, now there is a real fire hazzard, I would have no problem using AL feeders in my home, but never consider living with NM Cable, have seen too many horror situations over the years, with rodant damage.

Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 19
site351 Offline OP

Basically the owner talked to the builder as if I was trying to use inferior materials in his house....and it really
burned my butt. He had called a electrician buddy of his and was told never to use aluminum wire in a house. I started to ask him what the dudes phone # was.....

I wire these homes and additions mostly on a sq. ft. basis and this is the first time an issue like this has come up.
Copper wire is the better alternative.....bits the price of the big cable thats ridiculous...

Joined: Apr 2003
Posts: 362
Iuse SER all the time in homes. If done correctly and to code I see no problems. Its an upgrade and charge for it.It my be interesting finding #4 Romex?? May have to go to conduit.


Choose your customers, don't let them choose you.
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 763
I use aluminum SE cables for residential services and feeders all the time. I’ve never had a problem with any installation in over 25 years.
From what I read in your post, I sounds like you would need to use either #1CU SER or 1/0 AL SER for that 100A/20CKT sub panel, since this is not being used for a main power feeder as described in 310.15 B [6].
Art. 338.18, B, [4] also refers to 334.80 for the ampacity of SE cables used for interior installations, which is ultimately 60-degree C.
I don’t know why, but to me, it seems like the NEC is trying to limit SE cable use inside of buildings.

Joined: Jul 2002
Posts: 717
I use it. For a hundred amps I run #1/0 most of the time, but that is still not required here yet.(2005 nec) . I bid the jobs that way. I never even saw any copper ser cable in Hawaii until I worked a few military projects. They can afford it and the extra shipping costs due to the weight of it. This state runs on aluminum ser cable for the most part. I have seen lots of problems with it on beach side or near the beach houses over the years, but even then usually it is first the meter can rusting away and letting in extra moisture that starts that ball rolling. Copper would probably not have done any better in that event.

Joined: Jul 2007
Posts: 1,335
I admit I was not a fan of aluminium feeders due to its ugly past. It seams that the industry is using compact aluminium conductors although it is not currently required. In addition, with rising cost of copper, how can we afford not to.

"Live Awesome!" - Kevin Carosa
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 939
I useally have no issue with larger alum feeder cables and conductors as long it done properly.

The gotcha is the feeder / service entrance SER { SE } you have to watch out the ampcapitcy rating.


Pas de problme,il marche n'est-ce pas?"(No problem, it works doesn't it?)

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