Aluminum Wiring Wire Connectors: Alumiconn vs. Heat Shrink Crimp Connectors

By will_owen on 02/14/2018

electrical wire connectors heat shrink connectors versus alumiconn

Alumiconn vs. Heat Shrink Crimp Connector

Most of the rewiring that occurs today is for old houses that have aluminum wires in their house. Aluminum wires can cause electrical hazards and fires. But having to rewire the entire house takes a lot of man power and money in order to get it done. So is there an easier and cheaper way to go about this?

Yes there is, instead of having to rewire the entire house you have a cheaper solution with the option of two electrical connectors. In this blog we are going to explore the differences between a heat shrink crimp and an alumiconn connector.

How to Properly Repair Aluminum Wire

What is a Heat Shrink Crimp Connector?   

heat crimp and tubing

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Also known as a butt connector, a heat shrink connecter is able to connect two pieces of wiring without them having to touch. The crimp acts as a conductor between the two wires so that the electrical current can still flow through and connect. Then a tubing goes over the crimp and will shrink once heat is applied to it. People have used a lighter for this process but it’s highly recommended that you use a heat gun to reduce the risk. This will make it corrosion and weather resistant.

heat gun

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Also for this process you are going to need a crimping tool and wire stripper. The crimping tool, or a pair of pliers, is used to seal the wires in the crimp and help establish a connection. The wire stripper is used to cut off any insulation, if need be, on the wire so that they can be inserted into the crimp.

It’s important to remember, while you are choosing a heat crimp, that you choose the appropriate sized crimp for the wire. These are generally measured in gauges and the bigger the gauge number the smaller the crimp will be.

What is an Alumiconn?

2 prong alumiconn

An alumiconn is another type of connector that was designed for old homes that have aluminum wiring. Most of the aluminum wiring in houses are pigtailed in a twist-on connector. A pigtail connection is simply a twisting together of two wires. The problem with this type installation for the aluminum wiring is its ability to cold creep. This means that the wiring is expanding and shrinking when it gets hot and cold. In turn this causes extreme heat and fire hazards, melting the twist-on connector and in worst cases starting fires.

Twist on cap for wiring

[image source]

The alumiconn has two to three ports where aluminum and/or copper wires are inserted. Set screws are then screwed down on the wires sealing them in place and creating a safe connection. These connectors also have an anti-oxidant sealant that is inside of them. This allows the wires to perform at a lower temperature which, again, means a safer connection.

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Which connector should I choose?

The benefits of a heat crimp is that it will provide an easy solution for connecting two wires. The downside, and this is where the alumiconn comes in handy, is that while you’re using a heat crimp you have to be careful that the two wires are not physically touching, this is especially true with aluminum and copper wires. And with the alumiconn you won’t have to worry about whether or not you inserted a wire too far or not.

Remember that the alumiconn is specifically designed toward aluminum wired housing and making it easier and cheaper to fix. The crimps are more designed for wire extensions but can be used for a variety of other applications as well.

Always consult a professional electrician before attempting any wiring on your own.

 

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