Many construction firms try different materials for their above ground conduit system. Some use PVC coated steel, while others use Rigid Metal Conduits (RMC) or Rigid Galvanized Steel. But one option has become much more popular recently, and that’s because it’s safer, economical, and durable. This new option is fiberglass, and it’s simply better in many ways.
In some ways fiberglass offers the same benefits as other conduit systems made with other materials. One shared benefit is that these conduits also provide a more secure form of housing for electrical and data transmission lines. Fiberglass also has the same thermal expansion rate as RMC, which means they expand the same way when faced with extreme temperature.
But there are key differences as well. If you find the right fiberglass conduit manufacturer, then you could enjoy several crucial advantages.
- Fiberglass provides great corrosion protection compared to any other material used for conduits. The material is nonmetallic, so it won’t corrode or rust too. The way fiberglass deals with humidity is also the reason why so many fiberglass hulls are used in the boat manufacturing industry. Since many of the wiring inside these conduits are metallic, this is a key benefit.
- Fiberglass is nonconductive, and that’s obviously good news when the conduit is housing power lines.
- It is fire resistant. Fires can be problematic for conduit systems, and that’s especially true when the conduits react by releasing toxic fumes as a result of the fire. But its fire resistance can minimize the number of fires and its nontoxic nature means that it won’t release a significant amount of hazardous materials. Other materials may release such dangerous fumes as halogen and chlorine.
- Installation is also much easier for fiberglass conduits. That’s especially true for some types of fiberglass that don’t require any sort of threading for the joints. Instead, they’ve been designed with precisely fitting ends so workers need only to push the pieces into place to finish the assembly. A good manufacturer will have a complete line of conduit bodies, fittings, and elbows so you don’t need another source to finish the assembly.
- It’s much more economical too. This is partly because of the lightweight nature of the fiberglass. A section with a diameter of 4 inches and a length of 6 meters weighs only 15 pounds. A comparable steel conduit section will be too heavy for a single person to carry easily. These conduits are available in diameter sizes ranging from ¾ of an inch up to 8 inches.
- The fiberglass is also tough in the sense that it’s chemically inert. This means it’s not bothered by a wide range of fuels and chemicals. So chemicals from outside the system won’t damage it, and the fiberglass conduit can even be used to move hazardous waste materials.
- Since above ground conduit systems are exposed to the elements, they have to be tough enough that extreme temperatures won’t do them any harm. This means they should be able to withstand constant summer sunlight as well as cold winter temperatures. The superior fiberglass products can handle up to 230 degrees F in the summer and -40 degrees in the winter.
- They don’t have to be ugly. You can find fiberglass conduits in several different colors.
Using fiberglass makes sense for above ground systems. When they’re above ground, conduits are easier to install and maintain because they’re out in the open. If contractors want to make changes, the easier access makes those changes faster to complete.