The electricians at Giombetti Electric, Inc. are authorized AMP COPALUM product installers. Our electrical technicians crimp copper pigtails onto existing aluminum wiring in homes, apartment buildings, and condos.

While COPALUM crimping may be portrayed in charming terms such as “copper pigtails” being crimped onto aluminum wiring, executing this retermination process demands a high level of expertise and precision—qualities inherent in our skilled workforce.

For properties with “old technology” aluminum wiring, Giombetti Electric, Inc. is one of the few companies in the northeast who are certified and equipped with tooling to provide one of the U.L. approved methods of correcting overheating of aluminum branch circuit connection/splice point. This method uses the AMP COPALUM Retermination Program—the only procedure considered a permanent replacement (when applied to every aluminum electrical connection) by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Some warning signs that can indicate a fire hazard within 15- and 20-ampere aluminum wiring circuits are:

  • Warm-to-the-touch face plates on outlets or switches
  • Discolored outlets
  • Flickering lights
  • Circuits that don’t work
  • Smell of burning plastics
  • Smoke coming from the outlet

(Learn more about Repairing aluminum wiring (PDF).)

What is COPALUM?

COPALUM stands for “Copper and Aluminum,” and the COPALUM retermination program involves the replacement of branch circuit aluminum wiring connections using specially designed connectors and techniques.

Why do COPALUM Retermination?

The goal of the COPALUM retermination program is to eliminate potential fire hazards associated with aging and deteriorating aluminum wiring connections. It is an alternative to completely rewiring a building, which can be costly and disruptive.

Aluminum wiring, was commonly used in North American homes in the 1960s and 1970s. Over time, it was discovered that aluminum wiring could lead to fire hazards due to its tendency to oxidize and expand and contract at connection point with temperature changes.

The COPALUM retermination program was developed to address these safety concerns.

COPALUM retermination is just one of the ways we keep our residential customers safe!

The COPALUM Retermination process

The COPALUM retermination process involves the following steps:

  1. Assessment: One of Giombetti Electric, Inc.’s qualified electricians or specialists will first assess the electrical system to determine if there is aluminum wiring present and if it requires retermination.
    If retermination (and not wire replacement) is the appropriate choice for this residence, the process continues to step 2.
  2. Connector Installation: Special COPALUM connectors are installed at each connection point where aluminum wiring transitions to copper wiring. These points are usually located at outlets, switches, fixtures, appliances, and junction boxes. The connectors are designed to create a safe, reliable, and irreversible connection between the copper and aluminum wires.
  3. Crimping: The connectors are crimped onto the aluminum and copper wires using a specialized crimping tool. This process ensures a permanent and reliable connection that reduces the risk of overheating and arcing.
  4. Testing: After all connections have been replaced or repaired, our electricians test the customer’s electrical system to ensure that it is safe and in proper working condition.

Benefits of COPALUM Retemination:

  • Improved Safety: The primary benefit of the COPALUM retermination program is enhanced safety. By addressing the known fire hazards associated with aluminum wiring, homeowners can reduce the risk of electrical fires.
  • Cost-Effective: COPALUM retermination is often more cost-effective than a complete rewiring of a building, making it a practical solution for many homeowners.
  • Minimal Disruption: This method is less disruptive than rewiring, as it typically involves working on individual connection points rather than replacing the entire wiring system.

Note: COPALUM retermination should only be performed by qualified and certified electricians. In addition, this method may not be suitable for all situations, especially in cases of severely deteriorated or damaged aluminum wiring.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission provides a downloadable PDF for homeowners to learn more about Repairing Aluminum Wiring.