I just purchased and installed a new Panasonic FV-10NLF1 inline exhaust fan. My house has copper wiring, but the wires on the fan appear to be aluminum (they are silver in color). I didn't think anything was made with aluminum wire anymore.

What special considerations do I need to take when connecting the copper house wiring to the fan wires?

  • I've come across steel wires as well. Usually when the wires are thin, and subject to physical forces. Commented Nov 24, 2011 at 16:13
  • I would make sure your insurance covers this situation. Some insurance policies will not cover homes with aluminum wiring. The easiest solution is just finding out for a fact if it is aluminum wiring, and then returning it and getting something compatible.
    – Hemm
    Commented Nov 26, 2011 at 1:24
  • You can't buy new household electrical devices which use aluminum wire. It is either steel or tinned copper. Commented Nov 26, 2011 at 4:46

1 Answer 1


Sometimes with stranded wire, they will tin the ends with solder. I would guess this is the case here since you're right that aluminum is not usually used. I think the only reason they do this is to keep the ends from fraying and keep it neat.

You can check for sure by stripping new ends.

I have never seen stranded aluminum, or anything less than 12awg used (most house wire is 14awg copper, which is a bit smaller). You can see in this picture the aluminum is slightly bigger:

enter image description here

I would also be very surprised to see aluminum wire since it requires special wire nuts (co/alr rated) and an anti-oxidant paste (eg, Noalox) to connect.

If it's just tinned copper, you can twist and wire nut to a regular standed wire, just treat it like a normal copper wire.

  • +1, also aluminum wires can be stranded, but each component will be at least 2,5mm<sup>2</sup>, so that only happens for wires with cross-section of more than 25mm<sup>2</sup> - not something that one will find in a bathroom fan.
    – sharptooth
    Commented Nov 25, 2011 at 6:52

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