Aluminum building wire is essential for various commercial and residential construction and industrial projects. At Classic Wire and Cable, we offer a variety of building wire types to meet various needs and ensure you can complete your project to the required specifications and in alignment with your budget. Our products meet or exceed industry standards and safety requirements as outlined by UL, RoHS, and others, and we maintain an extensive network of distributors to connect you with the wire and cable you need.
What Is Aluminum Building Wire?
Utility companies have been using aluminum building wire for power transmission and distribution for more than 100 years, and it’s also a common choice in houses and other buildings that use aluminum electrical conductors. Aluminum is less expensive and offers a better conductivity-to-weight ratio than alternatives like copper, making aluminum a preferred choice in many commercial and residential building applications.
For residential buildings, aluminum building wire grew in popularity during the 1960s and 1970s, when alternatives were prohibitively expensive. Since then, products and systems have improved significantly. The aluminum alloys used today have exceptional conductivity, creep resistance, strength, and more, and aluminum remains a cost-effective, reliable choice for building wire.
Benefits of Aluminum Building Wire
Especially when compared to copper, aluminum offers several advantages as a building wire in specific applications:
- Lightweight: In construction and other load-bearing projects, every ounce matters. An aluminum wire is slightly larger than a comparable copper wire, but it weighs about half as much as the copper wire and possesses the same conductivity. On large projects, this can add up to a significant reduction in overall weight with no loss in conductivity and effectiveness.
- Inexpensive: Aluminum costs considerably less than copper—often half the price. Though aluminum is not as corrosion resistant as some alternatives, the price difference typically more than makes up for the slight decrease in lifespan. In certain applications with minimal exposure to corrosive elements, for example, lifespan is not as big of a concern. This makes aluminum building wire even more affordable over the long term, especially on larger projects that require a lot of wire.
- Malleable: Aluminum is known for being flexible and malleable, which makes it easier than copper to use over long distances and in small spaces.
Every application is different, and it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of the various types of aluminum building wire to ensure they meet your specifications. In many cases, you’ll find aluminum to be the most reliable, workable, cost-effective, and durable choice for your project. We’re happy to answer your questions and help you identify the best option for you.
Aluminum Building Wire Applications
Aluminum building wire is used in a variety of electrical utility applications, thanks in particular to its exceptional conductivity-to-weight ratio, low cost, and workability:
- Overhead power transmission lines
- Local power distribution lines
- Power grids
- Commercial and industrial buildings and project installations
- Houses and multi-family residential buildings
With its lightweight durability, aluminum wiring has a place in the aerospace and automobile industries, as well. As technology evolves, we’ll likely continue to see new uses for aluminum wiring in construction, transportation, and other applications.
Classic Wire and Cable Aluminum Building Wire Capabilities
At Classic Wire and Cable, our professionals offer a combined 200 years of experience in the wire and cable industry. Since 2016, we’ve supplied aluminum building wire and other products for a variety of markets and applications, and we’re committed to maintaining a large inventory of wire and cable options at competitive prices. We’re proud to support our distributors to ensure they can connect you with the products you need when you need them.
We offer many building wire types to suit your unique needs:
- Type SE XHHW Aluminum Cable (SER): This is common as an above-ground service entrance cable, in branch circuits, and as a panel feeder. Following NEC Article 338, it can be used in wet and dry environments, and it’s rated at 600 volts and 90ºC. The jacket is sunlight resistant, RoHS compliant, and flame retardant.
- Type SE XHHW Aluminum Cable (SEU): With a neutral conductor, SEU cables can be used up to the service disconnect. This high-quality wire meets the same standards as its SER counterpart, with a flame-resistant, fiberglass-reinforced binder tape that assembles the core in a tight configuration.
- XHHW-2 Aluminum Power Cable Low Friction 600V/1000V: Available in a variety of sizes and colors, this aluminum cable is common in house construction, conduit, and known raceways for services, branch circuit wiring, and feeders wiring in wet or dry environments. It can be installed without a pulling lubricant.
- THHN/THWN-2 Aluminum Power Cable Low Friction 600V: This meets standards UL 83, UL 758, UL 1063, UL 1581, and UL 2556, and complies with UL’s VW-1 Flame Test. It’s common in conduit and cable trays for feeders and branch circuits in a variety of commercial and industrial applications. Type THHN can be used in dry locations with temperatures up to 90°C, while Type THWN-2 and TWN75 can be used in either wet or dry conditions at the same temperature. When exposed to oil or coolant, that temperature limit is 75°C. Like the XHHW-2, it can be installed without pulling lubricant.
- Mobile Home Feeder – Aluminum Conductor: Primarily used for power supply in mobile homes, it’s designed for use at 600 volts or less with conductor temperatures up to 90°C. It meets or exceeds standards UL 44, UL 854, Federal Specification A-A59544, NEC requirements, and more.
- 600V Aluminum USE-2 RHH or RHW-2: This exceptional general purpose wiring is resistant to heat, abrasion, moisture, and sunlight. It’s suitable for wet and dry locations with conductor temperatures up to 90°C.
We also offer duplex, triplex, and quadruplex aluminum service drop cables, bare aluminum cables in a variety of sizes, type MC armored cables, SO portable rubber cords, and more. Our value-added services make it even easier to get exactly what you’re looking for. We offer paralleling, cut-to-order lengths for wires 6 AWG and larger, pulling eyes, and same-day shipping on stock length orders entered by 11:00 a.m. EST. (Any order received after that time will ship the next day.) All of our offerings are aimed to best serve our clients throughout the country and establish ourselves as the go-to source for wire and cable.
Learn More About Aluminum Building Wire or Place Your Order Today
As a leading aluminum building wire supplier, Classic Wire and Cable is proud to offer fast service, competitive pricing, and a network of trusted distributors as proud members of the National Association of Electrical Distributors and the National Electrical Manufacturers Representatives Association. Headquartered in Virginia Beach, VA, we maintain warehouse hubs in Pennsylvania and California and strategically placed regional distribution centers throughout the country, helping us reduce lead times and better serve our clients.
Our sales team is highly knowledgeable and experienced, and your local sales representatives receive our full support to ensure they can take care of your needs. Contact us today to talk to our experts about choosing the right aluminum building wire for your application.