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PODCAST TRANSCRIPT EPISODE 4 : ALUMINUM WIRES AND CABLES AND HOW TO DEAL WITH FLUCTUATING PRICES OF ALUMINUM

Transcript

Karellys [00:00:04] Hi again. I am Karellys with Nassau National cable podcast. And today we have our resident expert, Vita. Hi, Vita. How are you doing?

Vita [00:00:13] I'm great. Nice to be back here.

Karellys [00:00:17] Great. It's always a pleasure to have you here with us discussing everything for our projects involving electrical wires and cables. So today, Vita, I was thinking we should talk more about Aluminum cables or better said, wires and cables that have Aluminum as their conductor. Some projects that we can build with those, what are they used for, when and what situation, especially in this current market that we're having. So, if you don't mind, would you be able to give us a brief introduction of Aluminum as an electrical conductor, maybe some historical facts that you want to kind of like teaches about or mention something that is fun to know.

Vita [00:01:16] Yes. So along with Copper, Aluminum is one of the top two electricity conductors on the market, actually. They are like the only metals that are used for electrical wiring because they are the best conductors of electricity. In actuality, silver is also a good conductor, but it's never used in cables because it is too expensive. So, all we have is Aluminum and Copper and out of the two Aluminum is cheaper and it generally has a better conductivity to weight ratio compared to Copper wire. Copper is a better conductor of electricity, but because Aluminum is much cheaper than Copper and it also lighter, it is used in a range of electrical applications, mainly in overhead power lines, because weight and price matters a lot in those. As for homes, Copper is more popular than Aluminum, and Aluminum actually has a bit of a bad reputation because it was used in home wiring in sixties and seventies and it wasn't really great at that time. But it wasn't because of Aluminum per se. It was because of the fact that wiring was not meant for Aluminum Conductors and there are a lot of problems based on that. And also, as its alloys were used back then, were not as high quality as the ones that are available now, of course. And that's why Copper like took back its ring in the 1980s but now with modern Aluminum alloys and with rules are kind of made to serve the safety, Aluminum is used once again. It's popular and it is perfectly fine for home wiring.

Karellys [00:03:32] Nice. Well, it was an interesting tip that you throw out there. And yeah, I remember once, I think back in college where we were building electrical circuits and stuff like that or chips and stuff, and the conductor was actually Silver. And I thought it was kind of like funny, you know, silver was only used for jewelry and to do, I don't know, adorn little things here and there being that it's like a precious metal. So, it seemed weird that we were, in my opinion, wasting a conductor, but I heard is actually the best conductor in there. Is that right?

Vita [00:04:16] Yeah, it is. But because it was too expensive, so we do not produce on an industrial scale. So, we need in our head power lines or in our houses.

Karellys [00:04:27] It makes a lot of sense. Imagine how much building a house would be if we were to use cables with Silver as the conductor. With that we won't be able to afford in this market or any market whatsoever. Yes, those are good, interesting topics. Thank you for that. So, you discussed a lot about how back in the days Aluminum was not good or probably because of the materials that were used in order to build the cable. We're not the appropriate to have Aluminum as the conductor inside homes. But now with the technology and advances that we've had throughout time, I feel like, well, a lot has changed, of course. But am I wrong saying that Aluminum is one of the most used for home projects?

Vita [00:05:22] Well, actually, Copper is like the golden standard for home project, but Aluminum is also used because it is cheaper. And if you want your project to like have a smaller budget, you can use Aluminum. But still like Copper is preferential because of conductivity. But it doesn't stop people from using Aluminum. And Aluminum is approved by National Electric Code and modern alloys of Aluminum are perfectly good for home.

Karellys [00:05:58] Okay. All right. That's good to know. What are some of the cables that we have on our website that would be able to kind of like serve the same purpose as the Copper cables at homes? Do you know who we're talking about? Yes.

Vita [00:06:16] If we're talking about building wire for residential wiring, yeah. We have a lot of cables that are available in both Aluminum and Copper. So, you can like choose which ones preferential to use. So, first of all, it's THHN. We have an Aluminum version of that also XHHW, we also have an Aluminum counterpart to Copper. Also, service entrance cables are available in Aluminum and MC- metal clad cable is Aluminum.

Karellys [00:06:54] So cables are for residential building purposes and they both have Copper conductors as well as Aluminum conductors. But you can find that in both ways, correct?

Vita [00:07:07] Yeah, that's right. Also, underground cables for residential applications are also available in both Copper and Aluminum. And the only cables that is Copper and is not available in Aluminum is NMB Romex. For industrial wiring it's only Copper, but the rest of building wire you can choose between Aluminum and Copper.

Karellys [00:07:32] That's interesting to know. Well, guys, all those cables the Vita has just mentioned are available to purchase on our website. You can very easily visit our website www.nassaunationalcable.com. If you finish the entire podcast, you are going to hear a little bit of a surprise that we have for you if you are able to hear us from beginning to end. So just stay tuned for this big surprise that we have for you. All thanks to Garrie, our resident funny goat. And we definitely have a lot to thank Garrie for. Vita, I know that residential and construction, you know, like building wires basically have to have a use that here in United States needs to go according to code. Does that code change per state proceeding or how does that work? Ah, basically for example, I can build my house here in New York with an Aluminum wire for underground the same way I can use or I can build my house in, I don't know, Washington using the same cable.

Vita [00:08:56] Yes, there are some state regulations that apply and that you should check for. But generally National Electrical Code allows Aluminum, I guess 8000 series alloy is allowed in all residential and commercial projects, but maybe there could be some regulations linked to particular type of cable in particular application. And you should check out depending on the state when you're.

Karellys [00:09:31] Applying to like we have said throughout the series of podcasts, your best ally is always to have some kind of research before you start your project. So as we have always said during the series of podcasts that we have research is your best friend. So always make sure to have this research before you start any project for electrical wires and cables. So before purchasing the table, not just focus on the price, but also think about the electrical code that is regulating on your city or on the state. You don't want to finish building it and then find that you're not according to code and you have to restart the project. Always make sure that you do your research and that you confirm with an electrician, in your city and in your state before you purchase the cable that you're looking for. Remember, price is not everything when it comes to electrical needs. Okay, so Vita, I know the current market is kind of like going crazy, just like everything else in this world. After Covid, nothing has been the same. And of course, our market is not an exception. So why do you think all this fluctuation in prices, especially in this industry where, you know, precious metals in a sense are just so up and down, especially Aluminum, since we're discussing it and this topic, this podcast, do you know or have any idea what's that for?

Vita [00:11:23] Yes. So basically, you're right, the Aluminum market is fluctuating, at this moment. And in March, the price for Aluminum reached its highest peak since 2008-2011, it was $3,849 per metric ton. But the market has since stabilized and it's now like $2,500 per metric ton, but this stabilization was not expected and we are still not certain about how the price will look like in 2023, for example. So, there are a lot of factors that we cannot predict. That's why the market is very uncertain right now. The fact that Aluminum prices were so high back in March was affected by a couple of factors. First of all, it is affected by production cuts in China because China is the largest supplier of Aluminum. It accounts for more than 50% of all Aluminum produced in the world. And China has adopted new environmental legislation to cut its carbon emissions. And that's why it couldn't keep up with the former supply. And this affected prices greatly. But right now, China is in the midst of a strong COVID 19 regulations, and its domestic demand has dropped because not all industries are operating on the same scale as they were just a few months ago. That's why the prices had the opportunity to stabilize. But like you said. there are a lot of factors affecting Aluminum prices, and certainly problems with supply that are a result of COVID 19 has also affected prices. So, while the prices are much lower than they were a couple of months ago, the market is still uncertain. And we should expect that some other factors might influence the price in the next couple of years as well. But the outlook is not as dramatic as it looked a couple of months ago and prices actually stabilized.

Karellys [00:14:08] Okay. Well, that's good news. I think, you know, bad times don't stay with us forever. There's always the sun, right at the other side shining, day or night, actually, the sun is always there. So just like that, in this case, there's always a ray of sunshine coming at us and telling us and that things will be alright again. Maybe not our usual 2019 normal, but it's going to be a new normal that we're going to adapt to because humans are resilient. And just like that, we make the best out of everything. At least that's what we tried to do here at Nassau National Cable. And that's why we have always provided our customers with not just excellent service, but excellent products. And one of the things that we have tried during this pandemic and during this uncertain market is to make sure that we bring good prices for everybody. So, yeah, like I was saying at the beginning, just wait until the end of the podcast and you're going to receive a surprise that you can use on our website. All of this thanks to Garrie, who has allowed us to be able to give you a surprise that you can use on our website, if you stay tuned till the end of the podcast. Okay, so, Vita unstable market, do we have any alternatives? I feel like when we compare Aluminum to Copper, there is, like you mention, a significant difference in price. So even if Aluminum right now is I don't know at its highest price in the last 10 to 20 years. It's still lower than Copper on my right.

Vita [00:16:17] Yeah, that's right.

Karellys [00:16:19] And even after that fluctuation in the market, it's still means that Aluminum is a good choice for anybody who wants to kind of have a project that involves electrical wires and cables.

Vita [00:16:41] Yeah. Actually, existing that makes it difficult is that it's only Copper or Aluminum and there are no real alternatives to this. So, we are stuck with either Copper or the Aluminum and we don't have like a wide market of alternatives. So, we still have to choose one of those.

Karellys [00:17:04] Right. Right. Well, like I said before, Nassau National Cable does offer very good prices for everybody and especially in this market. So just go ahead and visit our website. Vita, do you have anything else that you would like to add about this topic?

Vita [00:17:21] Yeah. So actually, I wanted to talk about how Aluminum is linked to rise in energy prices. And in fact, it is directly affected by this because it is a very energy dense metal and Aluminum producers are among the top energy consumers globally. That's why, like the prices for Aluminum are dependent on energy prices. And like we know, like free energy prices are skyrocketing right now. So, I guess the best advice for those contemplating an electrical project right now or those who are in the process of an electrical project, is to make energy smart decisions. So if you are choosing between Aluminum and Copper, you still need to follow some rules to make your product cheaper. For example, don't overbuy, don't buy more product than you need. Just get the exact amount of cable that is needed for your electrical project. Also, do not just focus on the price alone and think about the bigger picture and think of your cables as a long-term investment. So don't just buy bad cables from repeated sellers just for the sake of saving money, because if you invest in high quality, efficient materials, it will just last longer and you will end up saving in the long-term perspective. Also, if the price is the defining factor for you and you think of choosing Aluminum because it's like 400% cheaper than Copper, maybe at a time when it's not when it's just 200% cheaper, you can look at Copper is your alternative as well.

Karellys [00:19:33] Can you give us the four points that we need to look out for whenever we're considering Aluminum as a base for our building project? Yeah.

Vita [00:19:50] Yeah.

Karellys [00:19:51] Okay. Okay.

Vita [00:19:52] So the first thing is that Aluminum is still cheaper than Copper, even if its prices are fluctuating. So, if you are looking to save money on the price of electrical conductor, you can still opt for Aluminum if the price difference would not be as significant. For example, if it was 400% before, it could be like 200% now and you need to have budget for that. But Aluminum is at the end of the day, still, it's a cheaper alternative. Second of all, just focus on smart solutions and think about bigger picture. Do not invest in cheap cables you must use a long time, because if you buy high quality cables from trusted manufacturers, you can count on them for years and decades. And long term it will save you money. Also, the third thing to note is that Aluminum is dependent on energy prices and a good long-term strategy would be just to save your energy in any way possible and do not just focus on the price of the cable and just make your project energy efficient in general. And last but not least, I think it's important to get the exact amount of products that you need at the moment and do not buy too much cable, because if you overspend and do not use the product, in the end your project will get more expensive.

Karellys [00:21:31] Okay. All right, guys. So, you heard it from our expert. Those things that she just mentioned summarize everything we've discussed in this podcast. And it's important to always consider, like I said, research is your best friend. So always make sure that you don't focus on the short-term goal. Focus on your long-term goal. You want your project to last forever. And also, you want to make your project as safe as possible. So, make sure you do your research. You corroborate the information you got with a certified electrician and make sure that you're up to code with everything that you're doing. Think about the bigger picture, guys. So, as promised our surprise thanks to Garrie, our chief meme officer, is a discount for all purchases of more than $2,000 on our website. So, the discount that you're going to use at the end of the checkout is Garrie3. Now the spelling is g a r r i e and the number three altogether. Like one word. So just go ahead, run to our website www.nassaunationalcable.com where we have the best offers in electrical wires and cables. And on top of that we're giving you a discount specially for you because you stayed with us throughout the entire podcast, you're, you're eager to learn and to implement the best practices on your project. So, congratulations for that. And for that, we have this surprise for you. Run to our website before we run long stop. Thank you, Vita, again for this amazing information, very useful and important for your time and for going through with this project. So, thank you very much for being a resident expert and sharing these important tips with everybody here at Nassau National Cable podcast.

Vita [00:23:54] You're welcome.

Karellys [00:23:55] So see you next time. And remember, guys, just go to our website, use Garrie's code and enjoy the discount for you. And very loyal and special listener who wants to perform the best on its project. Make it safe, make it lasting, and always thinking of the bigger picture. So. Keep those advises in mind and see you next time. Take care. Bye bye.

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