Copper Building Wire Systems

As an electrical conductor for building wire systems, copper is the most efficient, strongest, most reliable metal available today. Over the life of your system, it can also be the most economical conductor money can buy. Back to Top

Copper sets the standard for conductivity

With its exceptional current carrying capacity, copper is more efficient than any other electrical conductor Because of its superior conductivity, annealed copper is the international standard to which all other electrical conductors are compared . In 1913, the international Electro-Technical Commission set the conductivity of copper at 100% in their International annealed Copper Standard (IACS). This means that copper provides more current carrying capacity for a given diameter of wire than any other engineering metal. Today, copper conductors used in building wire actually have a conductivity rating of 100% or better, based on the IACS scale.

Copper building wire requires less insulation and smaller conduits than aluminum because aluminum, with its lower conductivity, must be larger in diameter than copper to carry the same current. This is why more copper wire can fit in a given conduit, compared to aluminum. This greater “wire fill” is a special advantage when a system is rewired or expanded. Another advantage is that copper oxide also conducts electricity. So connections and terminations will not overheat and do not require the use of oxide-inhibiting compounds. In addition, copper also provides superior thermal conductivity (60% better than aluminum), which saves energy and accelerates heat dissipation. This property is also especially helpful at terminations and connections.

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Copper is strong

Because of its strength, copper resists stretching, neck-down, creep, nicks and breaks. Copper’s exceptional strength, compared to aluminum conductors, is another reason it has remained the conductor of choice in wiring systems throughout the building industry.

When long runs of aluminum conductors are pulled through conduit and cable trays, they can stretch and neck-down. This reduces the current carrying capacity, wastes energy, and can cause dangerous overheating. Copper, with its superior tensile strength, safeguards against these conditions occurring.

Copper wiring also resists what engineers call creep, the gradual deformation of metal unfair stress. When lighter, weaker aluminum is used, this problem often occurs at connecting points where a screw can squeeze and deform the conductor, leaving it under stress. This can cause a loose connection, which may be followed by oxidation, arcing and overheating. By using copper wire in your system you can avoid this problem.

The natural hardness and superior strength of copper wiring also help it to nicks and breakage. In equipment installations and machinery using non-copper wiring, nicks and scratches can lead to failure due to vibration and flexing. Through what metallurgists call fatigue failure, these small flaws can deteriorate into large breaks in the wiring, causing long-term interruptions in service. For strength, durability and reliable performance, you can count on copper.

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Copper is compatible with connectors and other devices

All your connections will be solid with sturdy, corrosion-resistant copper. Copper building wire is compatible with brass and quality plated screws, to give you connections that will not corrode or creep. It can be installed simply and easily with no special tools, washers, pigtails or joint compounds. And its flexibility makes copper easy to join, while its hardness helps keep connections securely in place. Back to Top

Copper provides strength and ductility

This unique combination makes copper ideal for wiring systems. Usually, the stronger a metal is, the less pliable it is. Not so with copper. You get the advantages of durability and ductility when you specify copper. At junction boxes and terminations, you can bend copper further, twist it tighter and pull it harder – without stretching or breaking it. Back to Top

Copper is easy to install

Ductility plus, makes copper easy to work with. The inherent strength, hardness and flexibility of copper building wire make it very easy to work with. When you pull it through a conduit it resists stretching, neck-down, or breakage. You can bend it or twist it easily and it still will not break. You can strip it and terminate it during installation or service with far less danger of nicks or breaks. When you’re looking for a wiring system that is easy to hook up and won’t break down in service – rely on flexible, durable copper. Back to Top

Copper is corrosion resistant

A noble metal, copper gives your system unequaled reliability and longevity. The pure copper used in building wire is described by corrosion specialists as noble metal. This means it is not subject to galvanic corrosion when connected to other, less noble metals and alloys. Copper wiring will also resist corrosion from moisture, humidity, industrial pollution and other atmospheric influences – to insure safe, trouble-free performance for the life of your system. Back to Top

Copper meets all codes

Years of reliable performance have made copper wiring the industry standard. Copper wiring complies with every code, ordinance and regulation for electrical conductors throughout the United States. Copper’s superior performance in all types of installations has earned it nationwide acceptance as the long-established standard for building wire conductors. Back to Top

Copper is economical

Over the life of your system, superior performance and dependability translate into real economy. On a first-look basic, aluminum is sometimes cheaper than copper building wire. But real economy is not measured by initial cost alone. Life-cycle cost, which includes installation extra tools, procedures, materials, service calls, repairs and potential for expansion of the system must also be considered along with the potential liability for inadequate service performance. These are real costs often missed on a first-look basis. Consider the following list of factors and their cost implications. Then compare copper with the substitute. You will find that copper gets more and more economical as you go down the list.

With copper, you get:

  • Superior current carrying capacity for narrower conduits
  • Easier installation – no need for special connectors, tools, compounds and procedures
  • Wire fill and expansion possibilities
  • Resistance to stretching, neck-down, creep, nicks, breaks and corrosion
  • No extra maintenance and repair calls due to poor performance and breakdowns
  • Extra protection against liability for possible problems in service Over the life of your system, the strength, efficiency and performance of copper almost always make it the most cost-effective wiring material available today.