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We are currently updating our '69 era kitchen and are relocating some if not all of the receptacles. The old cooktop and range that we have now removed, were hardwired and used aluminum wire. We have discarded the old wire and appliances but are now unsure of the proper materials to use for the new outlet. Is there a large difference between pvc and metal boxes, and what is recommended for a range?

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I would use metal boxes. Much more sturdy and not very much different in cost in the grand scheme of things.

You mention that aluminum wire was used to the stove. Was that aluminum wire fed all the way back from the main power panel? If so then you'll likely have an electrical box with a receptacle mounted to it that connects to the AL wire. Make sure to purchase a socket assembly specifically designed for deployment with AL wire. (That is of course unless you will be replacing the feed wire back to the panel with copper).

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Also don't forget, if switching from AL to Cu, you'll likely have to increase the wire size. – Tester101 Jul 7 '13 at 12:37
Utterly backwards. Cu has better conductivity than Al, and therefore can be a smaller size than Al wire for the same current. – Ecnerwal Dec 18 '13 at 2:41
@Ecnerwal - Totally agree with your comment. Al is often used over Cu for electrical distribution for two main reasons. One significant factor is that it is lower cost. The second reason is that it has less mass. This gives it an advantage in overhead line applications. Line cables sometimes have a strong steel wire in the core of the stranded AL conductors to help make the cable more able to support its weight over longer spans. The wire gauge of Al needs to be larger than Cu to achieve the same level of conductivity. – Michael Karas Dec 18 '13 at 4:51

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