Why has Romex wire gotten so expensive?

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On 6/18/06 8:29 AM, in article snipped-for-privacy@c74g2000cwc.googlegroups.com, " snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com" wrote:
It cannot be! Over the last 10 years we have been assured that inflation is under control by our Government. Would it lie?
Bill -- Ferme le Bush
Reply to
Salmon Egg
You don't say what length of wire is a "roll", so I can't confirm or not whether the price has jumped.
That said, if the price has risen, no doubt the price of copper has had a big impact.
TTYL
Reply to
repatch
T&E (Twin & Earth) in the UK has also jumped in price, due to the increase in price of copper due to heavy demand from China. However, not by anywhere near the amount you cite above.
Reply to
Andrew Gabriel
Simple. The price of copper has gone up. Here in the SF Bay Area you can get $1.65/lb. at the recyclers for #12 THHN ***with*** insulation.
I know a lot of electrical contractors are hurting because the price is going up so rapidly. One in particular under bid their job by 50K because the price of copper went up so much from time of bid.
Reply to
Matt
On 18 Jun 2006 12:52:27 -0700, "Matt" Gave us:
Raw copper scrap is at like $3 a Lb. That would make processed copper even higher than that. It used to be a buck a pound.
Reply to
Roy L. Fuchs
The price of copper has just about tripled during the last year according to infomine.com Copper has gone from about $1.30 to $3.15 a pound. Take a look at this chart.
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(According to copper.org it takes about 400 pounds of copper to wire a home.)
Additionally, the world's second largest deposit of copper, the Pebble deposit, has been discovered in Alaska but the owners cannot get a permit to develop this mine because the environmentalists and fishermen are worried about the effects on the fishing industry near Anchorage. (link:
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Add to this the cost of doing business in the US. The environmental, safety, and labor laws triple the cost of production over many other countries.
Reply to
electrician
On Mon, 19 Jun 2006 00:02:33 +0100, "sQuick" Gave us:
Well if that don't just tip your scales!
Over here, we have pennies that are 99.7 percent ZINC. A clad strip is used to coin them, and it is even done in such a way as to cover the edges with copper when struck as well.
Next thing ya know, Zinc will be going up too!
RoHS will likely have a hand in that.
Reply to
Roy L. Fuchs
Here in Oregon, there have been several cases of Meth Addicts pulling all the romex out of partially unfinished houses to sell for scrap. The homeowner ( or the insurance company) is out for $12,000 or so and the electrical system has to be rebuilt from scratch.
I'm told the power companies are nevous about idiots who get inside their substations and start hacking away at the ground system ( or worse, live copper conductors).
I had a friend once who used to install radio transmitters all around the world. He said he once worked in an African country where the natives kept tearing down the power lines to the transmitter site to make trinkets. It sounds like its getting that bad in the USA in certain areas.
Beachcomber
Beachcomber
Reply to
Beachcomber
There have already been cases of this. It works out OK for them until they cut the last bonding wire and find out why that stuff gets bonded in the first place.
Reply to
gfretwell
and here's the rather gruesome results of such activity...
WARNING: DONT CLICK IF BURNED BODY REMAINS MAY UPSET YOU
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Reply to
Andrew Gabriel
I read "somewhere" that even with the zinc, the $.01 piece cost more than $.01 to make.
I don't know about the UK, but the time has long since past for the US to be making the smallest coin ($.01).
Reply to
John Gilmer
The last time it peaked we got stuck will Al wire in homes that caused lots and lots of problems.
Maybe "this time" the technology will be up to the job. If the problems are truly solved then copper wiring for power will go the way of the dodo.
Reply to
John Gilmer
NOFI, but there _is_ a tried and tested fix available for decades. It's called 'abandoning 120V' :-P
(Go figure: Utility-side and 'power hungry' devices 120-0-120 => 240-0 = same power with 33% less copper Replacing 120V appliances with 240V ones = 1/2 current = same power with 50% less copper
But seriously, unless someone invents some conductive polymer that rivals copper in both conductivity and price ('alternative' metals/alloys obviously won't qualify), phasing out 120V would be a damn good start at slowing down the copper price hike and keeping wiring affordable!)
Reply to
ELAL
Depends on how you "do things."
If you require a ground wire, then you only save 25% of the copper (savings depend upon the relative sizes of the neutral and ground conductors.) But many 240 volt appliances have 120 volt motors and timers and lamps.
Folks like to have 120 volts for "small stuff."
Unless the government steps in and requires 240 volt for anything that draws more than 9 amps, it just will not happen.
True. But only if you go 100% unbalanced and give up 120 stuff (or pay the penalty of transformers all over the place.)
Well, expensive copper has just about permanently priced itself out of a lot of applications. It's still used for a lot of residential plumbing but some of the techniques used for plastic have been transferred to copper. Next step is to just drop the copper in the first place.
Right now houses keep going up and up in price and folks just don't care about saving a few $100 in wiring. But when the market shifts and the builders have to pinch every penny or go out of business, I bet Al will be back. If will have some kind of "lifetime" guarantee.
Reply to
John Gilmer
The 3-wire, single phase 110/220 volt system was deliberately picked by the Rural Electrification Association in the early days of the Roosevelt administration becuase it "did" and still does offer the maximum in safety (most circuits at the lower 110V. level), flexibility (Two voltage levels available, the higher 220 for heavy-duty circuits), and simplicity (the ability to power 10 HP and larger motors) while using single phase transfomer banks. The common neutral with the higher voltages also minimizes voltage drop when the loads are balanced.
Keep in mind that this was in the days before GFCI's and any solid state electronics. The US Government was extending light & power to the farms of the land and was looking to do it as economically as possible.
The rejected the choice of the Euro-Continental model, essentially bringing 3-phase primarys to a central town transformer and using thick secondary conductors to serve 200 houses or so from one facility.
American farms were different than what geographically was found in Europe. Rural Europeans tended to live in clusters in small towns and villages surrounded by farm fields. America, on the other hand, consisted of isolated farm houses on each plot of land separated by great distances. The single phase model, typically served by a set of poles with a simple neutral and hot primary wire (no crossarms necessary) and a small distribution transformer at the end made the most sense.
Beachcomber
Beachcomber
Reply to
Beachcomber
Where I grew up (upstate NY) all the really old stuff from that era in rural areas was two hots on a crossarm, no neutral. Everything seemed to be wired delta then.
Reply to
Michael Moroney

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