Fiberglass Conduit vs. PVC Conduit

Comparing Fiberglass Conduit and PVC Conduit

Due to increasing raw materials costs, disruptions in the supply chain, and higher freight costs, the price of PVC has climbed steadily in the past year while the available supply has decreased. For some contractors this means that PVC electrical conduit is either no longer available, or not within their budget.

But since most projects can’t be delayed or stalled, many electrical contractors are turning fiberglass electrical conduit as a suitable alternative to PVC conduit. Fiberglass conduit is not only typically much lower priced than PVC conduit, but installation costs are also lower due to less labor needed to install fiberglass conduit.

In this article the electrical conduit experts at Team Electrical Supply in the Detroit, MI area compare and contrast PVC and fiberglass electrical conduit – and reveal some surprising advantages of choosing fiberglass for your electrical conduit needs.

Industries that can Use Fiberglass Conduit

If your industry doesn’t typically use Fiberglass Conduit, you may be wondering if it is a suitable alternative to PVC for your needs. Many people are actually surprised to learn that fiberglass conduit is often a stronger and more durable conduit than PVC. Fiberglass conduit is also more corrosion resistant to many chemicals.

As a result, many data centers bridges, tunnels, utilities, chemical plants, and wastewater treatment facilities choose fiberglass for their conduit needs.

PVC vs Fiberglass Conduit Installation

Fiberglass conduit installs in about one-third the time of PVC conduit. The NECA Manual Labor Rates reports that installing 100 foot of 6” diameter conduit takes 9 hours for fiberglass conduit, and 24 hours for PVC SCH 40 installation.

Obviously, this could result in dramatically reduced installation labor costs if fiberglass conduit is chosen over PVC.

PVC vs Fiberglass Conduit Weight

Fiberglass conduit also weighs significantly less than traditional SCH 40 PVC conduit.

This means that lighter-weight fiberglass conduit will not add much weight to supporting structures, compared to heavier PV Conduit systems. One hundred feet of 4” SW fiberglass conduit only weighs only 72 pounds – compared to 231 pounds for the same amount of SCH 40 PVC conduit.

Additionally, fiberglass conduit has a lower cable coefficient of friction (.38) compared to PVC (.90) – so fiberglass conduit can be pulled longer. So, fewer pull boxes are required for long runs using fiberglass conduit – providing even more savings on material.

Integrating Fiberglass Conduit

Fiberglass elbows are often provided with PVC couplings for use when transitioning to underground PVC conduits. While PVC or fiberglass male/female adapters can be used to transition from fiberglass to GRC and PVC-coated rigid steel conduit. For fiberglass-to-fiberglass connections, however, only fiberglass coupling is recommended.

PVC vs Fiberglass Conduit and Heat

Fiberglass conduit does not burn-through like PVC – meaning fewer conduit repairs.

And while PVC, steel, and aluminum conduit can be vulnerable to melting or welding the affected cables during fault conditions, fiberglass conduit does not have this problem. The natural heat and fire resistance properties of fiberglass mean that it will not melt or weld the affected cable to the inside of the conduit during fault conditions.

In high-heat situations, for example, PVC SCH 40 and 80 can only withstand temperatures of 40 degrees F to 150 degrees F. But Champion fiberglass conduit, for example, can withstand temperatures of minus-60 degrees F to +250 degrees F.

Fiberglass also does not get weak or brittle when exposed to freezing temperatures. In fact, fiberglass actually gets slightly stronger in cold temperatures – making it an excellent choice for outdoor conduit applications that will be exposed to cold Michigan winters.

PVC and Fiberglass Conduit Distributor | Detroit Area

In many ways, as demonstrated above, fiberglass conduit is a superior product to PVC conduit. Fiberglass is not only stronger and more durable but offers a greater range of temperature tolerance, is heat resistant, and offers increased longevity over PVC. Additionally, fiberglass weighs less, and its installation costs are significantly lower.

If you are interested in exploring fiberglass conduit for your next construction project, new build, or upgrade, the electrical product experts at Team Electrical Sales in the Detroit area are here to help!

At Team Electrical Sales we pride ourselves on representing the highest quality of electrical products and the best customer service in the industry. Call us today for all of your electrical conduit needs and we will help you find the products that are right for you at the best possible prices.

Call: 313-874-1000 or Click Here to Request a Conduit Quote

Importance of Surge Protection

Panel Level Surge Protection Offers Optimal Protection

Many people erroneously think that power surges only occur during a storm or a lightning strike – but this is absolutely not true! There are a wide variety of factors that can cause power surges – many of which you may not even be aware of. And these ‘unseen’ power surges can ruin thousands of dollars of personal and commercial electronic devices.

Installing a panel level surge protection device is by far the best way to head-off transient power surges and spikes before they destroy your electronic devices and systems. In this article, the electrical experts at Team Electrical Sales in the Detroit, MI area explain the causes of power surges and spikes – and discuss the steps you can take to protect your devices with proper surge protection.

Causes of Electrical Surges

Yes, storms and lighting can cause power surges – but the daily supply of electricity to your house may also be fluctuating without your knowledge due to “dirty power”.  This is the electromagnetic “noise” on the main wiring of a structure that can result in low power, voltage variations, frequency variations, and surges.

Also keep in mind that no matter how new your structure or devices are, the electrical system supplying power to your house or business is probably built on an older, antiquated electrical grid.  In many cities, “grid switching” by the utility company causes invisible and undetected surges that can damage electronic devices.  “Grid switching” occurs many times a day when the utility company channels more electricity to areas where and when it is needed and reduces energy delivery during less busy times. Typically, grids will direct more power to businesses during the day and then “switch” the grid to supply more electricity to residential areas at night. And these ongoing “switches” cause power fluctuations that can damage devices.

Why Many Power Surges Are Not Detected

Most modern electronics have some limited protection “built in” that helps control minor power surges and spikes. Usually this is done with a small component called a Metal Oxide Varistor (MOV) that is soldered onto the electrical circuit board.  MOVs absorb power surges and spikes – but only up to a certain level.  So, when a power surge occurs that takes only milliseconds – faster than the human eye can see – the MOV handles it without interrupting the functioning of your electronic device.

But eventually, when an electronic device stops working “for no reason,” it is often because the Metal Oxide Varistor (MOV) has failed due to repeated transient power spike and surges.

Of course, the utility companies are aware of these spikes and surges – but the average home or business owner has no practical way of monitoring these power fluctuations. So, the power company will typically never admit fault or responsibility when a device fails.  And, since many manufacturers of electronics are continually trying to lower their manufacturing costs, they often install cheaper metal oxide varistors that have lower quality levels and protection abilities.

In fact, using inferior MOVs in electronic products can be advantageous for manufacturers – as it means consumers may have to replace their devices more often!

Panel Level Surge Protection

The fact that Metal Oxide Varistors are limited in their capacity is a primary reason that any building or facility also needs surge protection! Installing a panel level (facility wide) surge protection device, can head-off transient surges and spikes before they get to valuable and important electronic devices.

With a high-quality, panel level surge protection device ALL of your electronics are protected – regardless of what the utility company does, or the quality of MOV’s built into your electronic devices.  Installing high-capacity surge protection at the panel means that not only are devices plugged into outlets protected – but everything in the building (lighting, HVAC, security systems, etc.) are also protected from surges and spikes.

Additionally, by heading off power spikes and surges before they reach your devices’ MOVs, equipment will last longer. Not to mention the fact that failure of computers and mobile devices due to power damage can result in loss of irreplaceable data, documents, photos and more.

The cost of panel level surge protection devices is surprisingly affordable. In many cases, it will cost less to install panel level surge protection and protect all of the devices and electrical systems in your home or business, than it would to replace a single TV or appliance. In our book, this is the cheapest ‘insurance’ and assurance you can buy!

Surge Protection Sales & Distribution | Detroit Area

Panel surge protection offers security, protecting every electrical device, appliance, and system in your structure – saving you both the cost and the inconvenience of having to replace expensive and valuable electronics.

Team Electrical Supply in the greater Detroit, MI area offers a full line of residential and commercial panel surge protection devices to protect everything in your home or business.

If you are building or updating a home or business, contact Team Electrical Supply in the greater Detroit, MI area for all of your surge protection needs.

Call: 313-874-1000 or Click Here to Request a Surge Protection Quote

Copper Prices Rise in Electrical Distribution Industry

Zero Emissions Creates Copper Price Volatility for Electrical Distributors

In the electrical distribution industry, copper pricing has always been volatile – especially in construction-oriented electrical distribution markets. And because copper is a key component of many electrical products, copper price fluctuations can affect commercial construction profitability significantly.

For decades, the US construction market was the driving force behind the copper market and its price variations. But the recent impact of China’s increasing demand for copper has added increased scarcity and price volatility to the cost of electrical components containing copper.

Now a third competitor with high demand for copper has entered the market: electric vehicle (EV) and alternative energy manufacturing.  In this article the electrical distribution experts at Team Electrical Supply in the Detroit, MI area take a look at what this means for copper supply and cost issues in the long-term.

Outlook for Copper in the Electrical Distribution Industry

Copper is the primary metal used in electrification products. Examining copper’s long-term supply and demand outlook, experts are predicting some problems in the next ten years. They are estimating that copper demand will double over the next decade.

This skyrocketing demand for copper products is chiefly being driven by the move from petroleum to electrification as the global market’s primary energy source, as the world seeks to combat climate change.  Both the international scientific community and the United Nations have set energy goals of net zero emissions by 2050.

But these zero-emission electrification technologies – including solar, wind, EV, etc. – will consume copper at exponentially increasing rates. Experts fear that copper demand will eventually outstrip supply, causing prices to escalate as availability becomes scarcer.

History of Copper Usage in the Electrical Distribution Industry

Statistics reveal a long-term rise in copper prices from the years 1975 through 2022. But a sustained occurrence of copper prices doubling is unprecedented. A potential doubling of copper usage could lead to a doubling of copper prices, which has serious ramifications for the electrical distribution market.

Experts estimate that copper wire and cable currently make up 10% to 15% of the total electrical distribution market. If the price of copper doubles, they project that the electrical distribution copper wire market will grow from a current estimate of 14 to 20 billion dollars to 28 to 40 billion dollars within the next ten years.

Forecasted Copper Usage in the Electrical Distribution Industry

Offshore and onshore wind, tidal power, solar energy, biomass, geothermal energy, bioenergy, electric grid, nuclear, hydro, and battery storage will all contribute to increasingly heavy demand for copper in the electrical distribution industry in the coming years.

Additionally, electric vehicles (EV) consume eight to ten times the amount of copper that a combustion engine uses. These “new users” of copper will become competitors for the current copper supply which is currently mainly construction-driven in the electrical distribution market.

This increased demand, coupled with less supply, results in price increases by the mines and manufacturers – which is then passed to distributors and contractors – hence making electrical projects more expensive.

Implications for Electrical Distributors

The takeaway is that the electrical distribution industry is ushering in a major economic transition. As electrification becomes the country’s (and the world’s) primary energy source electrical distributor, contractors and anyone else in the energy sector needs to remain aware of what is happening.

Experts remind that it is important to continue to price average inventory and maintain high turns with “tight inventory management”, buying and selling at market price. And as copper prices continue to increase in the next decade, distributor and consumers are warned to expect market changes and budget accordingly.

Industrial reshoring, sustainable energy growth, and government investments into climate-change technologies means this copper supply and demand issue is inevitable.

Electrical Distribution & Supply | Detroit, MI

As always, Team Electrical Supply remains your electrical distribution partner in the Detroit, Michigan area. We keep our finger on the pulse of changes and developments in the electrical supply industry to ensure that our customers always have the electrical products they need at prices they can afford.

Call: 313-874-1000 or Click Here to Request a Quote

Interior Lighting Design

New Lighting Products Expand Design Options

When it comes to the aesthetics of lighting, the constraints of conventional “T-Grid” ceiling schemes in commercial buildings have been the bane of architects and interior designers alike. Designers of retail and office environments have long wished they could branch out into more creative and inspired lighting configurations – but were always thwarted by the grid-like layout of traditional ceilings.

Integrated Ceiling Lighting Systems

However, a new category of ceiling has emerged that is lending itself to new and exciting lighting possibilities for commercial areas. Called “integrated ceiling systems,” these new ceilings concentrate lighting (and other utilities) in narrow bands running the length of the room – giving architects and designers more freedom to create imaginative layouts, while still allowing for standard maintenance operations.

Now function no longer triumphs over form, and a variety of aesthetically pleasing lighting possibilities are now a reality – bringing inspiration to illuminating all types of areas. State-of-the-art offerings on LED technologies combine band ceiling systems with specially designed compatible LED luminaires to free design concepts from being tied to a grid pattern.

Designer LED Luminaires & Light Fixtures

Additionally, the latest LED technologies offer much greater freedom in fixture design. A growing array of both linear luminaires and illuminated pendants, are now available to give the architect and interior designer a wide selection of exciting “bulb-less” lighting options. These new LED designs are thin, gorgeously sculpted, and very chic – making them highly desirable for upscale retail spaces, hotels and restaurants.

This new generation of LED luminaires completely transform look of any space. Thin, uniformly illuminated & suspended from the ceiling – a transparent band that surrounds the edge of the fixture gives the illusion that the light is “floating.”

And, in addition to being more attractive, LED luminaires can drastically reduce energy bills, by lowering an establishment’s lighting electricity costs by a full 75%.

Both more elegant and more energy-efficient than traditional incandescent or fluorescent fixtures, the new array of designer LED fixtures is in high demand in modern, upscale and progressive environments across the U.S. and across the globe.