Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 11

Thread: copper vs. aluminum

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    13

    copper vs. aluminum

    Hi Everyone,

    I have an option to pull either 2/O CU or 300kcmil AL. Can anyone tell me in their experience, if the amount one saves on using aluminum is greater than the labor saved by pulling a smaller wire size on the copper?

    Thanks a lot

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Williamsburg, VA
    Posts
    5,724
    I would say in almost all cases with wires in those sizes that you will come out ahead with aluminum conductors, labor and materials both considered.
    Electricians do it until it Hertz!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    13
    Thanks for your input!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    26,163
    As for the installing either of the conductor types IMO it's a toss up. The real savings will be in the cost of the conductors but part of that may be eaten up if you need a larger raceway.
    Rob

    Moderator

    All responses based on the 2014 NEC unless otherwise noted

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Fort Collins, Colorado
    Posts
    1,708
    Quote Originally Posted by MGest View Post
    Hi Everyone,

    I have an option to pull either 2/O CU or 300kcmil AL. Can anyone tell me in their experience, if the amount one saves on using aluminum is greater than the labor saved by pulling a smaller wire size on the copper?

    Thanks a lot
    Why 300 aluminum? 4/0 Al. is close to the ampacity of 2/0 cu.
    Ron

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    13,588
    This is a no brainer, AL all day long. It's literally a fraction of the cost of copper.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    NE Nebraska
    Posts
    38,507
    Important factor - how long of a run?

    Only 10 foot run, might still be less materials cost for aluminum but still be close enough you look at more at other advantages and not just cost.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Placerville, CA, USA
    Posts
    19,755
    It also depends on how the wire is going to be terminated. It is possible that some devices you plan to use are either not rated for Al or will not accept the wire size needed when using Al. Not a terribly likely situation, and can be accommodated using a pigtail, but still worth looking out for.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Williamsburg, VA
    Posts
    5,724
    Good points by everybody here. Some of the exceptions where copper would be better is running to equipment that has lugs that can only accept copper conductors, having to go up to the next size raceway where the raceway is already installed or would be a giant pitb to upsize, where wire ampacities cross on the tables, and so on.

    Exceptions notwithstanding, generally you will come out way ahead with aluminum. Specifically, there are a few cases where copper is the only way to go, job spec being the number one reason.

    branch circuit wiring is almost exclusively run in copper, however that is why I mentioned in my first post regarding the wire sizes. You are almost never going to see number 12 in aluminum, 350 MCM is a different matter.
    Electricians do it until it Hertz!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    13
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarroll View Post
    Why 300 aluminum? 4/0 Al. is close to the ampacity of 2/0 cu.
    thats what they're asking for. we gave them an VE alternative

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •