All types of supply chains have been squeezed in unexpected ways in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and other factors such as this year’s active hurricane season. While it’s easy to understand some shortages—hand sanitizer, toilet paper, disinfectant wipes, medical supplies—the reasons behind the impact on other markets are less obvious. 

PVC conduit is widely used in electrical applications. Demand for PVC is currently outpacing supply and prices have been rising. PVC, along with other thermoplastic resins such as polyethylene, is often used to construct the protective barriers that are popping up everywhere you turn. 

In fact, many suppliers of these plastic resins have declared force majeure, which is pushing the price of these plastic resins to levels that haven’t been seen since 2017 as a result of Hurricane Harvey. 

Alternatives to PVC Conduit

If you’re struggling to find PVC conduit for your project, there are alternatives that can help keep your job moving. 

Steel and aluminum conduit

Options include electrical metallic tubing (EMT), which is lightweight and easy to install; intermediate metallic conduit (IMC), which has a thicker, galvanized wall, ideal for outdoor applications; and galvanized rigid conduit (GRC), which is thickest.

It’s important to note that metal electrical boxes must be used with metal conduit. Your specifications may require that green grounding wire be used with metal conduit, so be sure to check your plans to ensure your installation meets requirements.

HDPE conduit

High density polyethylene is a thermoplastic that offers superior durability and corrosion resistance. It can withstand even the harshest outdoor ground conditions and has a wide temperature tolerance. 

While more expensive than PVC, HDPE makes a great substitute and can offer superior performance. 

Electrical Nonmetallic Tubing (ENT) 

ENT is a light, strong, and flexible material ideal for use in walls, floors and non-plenum ceilings. It’s easier to cut than metal and won’t corrode or conduct electricity. 

HOLT is here to help

We have relationships with great suppliers who have worked with us to get our customers the products they need despite the shortage. HOLT has PVC conduit in stock and can help you fulfill your project’s needs. Find your HOLT rep or visit your nearest HOLT location today to get your next project started!

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