Conduits are used in construction any time you want to distribute power or telecommunications cables in different settings. PVC and PVC-coated steel have been in use for a very long time, but they come with some disadvantages that make them not ideal for use in certain cases. These downsides have also caused a lot of contractors to switch from PVC to fiberglass as it does not have the same downsides. Fiberglass is much better than PVC for a variety of reasons, and it is these reasons that explain why you should choose it over PVC.
A PVC-coated conduit has to be bent to be used in certain applications. Doing so requires specialized tools, a lot of care, and enough experience so you get things just right. Installing a fiberglass conduit is easy as contractors only require a hot box, a tool that many of them already have in the field anyway.
PVC-coated conduit is also a lot heavier than fiberglass. This means it requires more people to carry and install, with the weight contributing to the additional installation time. Workers have to also take their time because PVC can break under a lot of pressure or if the temperature gets too low.
Fiberglass is a lot cheaper than PVC for the same length of conduit. The cost of installation also increases with PVC due to the additional number of people required to handle it. By comparison, PVC is usually four to six times more expensive to install than fiberglass conduit under the same conditions.
PVC is not well suited for underground installation because it contains chemicals that can leak into the soil and contaminate the ground and water sources. Fiberglass does not contain these chemicals meaning that you can use it as an underground conduit system for electrical installations.
Better Coefficient of Friction
You need to run wires through a conduit during installation. If the conduit has a high coefficient of friction, it gets much harder to do so. This higher coefficient of friction also means that there will be a lot of heat building up as you pull the wires or cables through.
This results in what contractors call “burn-through” where the structural integrity of the conduit is compromised.
Such a compromise means the conduit can no longer be used because it will allow moisture to get in. This can be a massive problem if you are running electrical wires that might have also been stripped by the heat.
Fiberglass Withstands Different Environments Better
Fiberglass is resistant to a wide range of environments as it is not affected by temperature or corroded by most acids and alkalis. One chemical that might be a problem is ammonia, but it does not have to be unless the land is infused with it from farming, for example.
PVC-coated pipes perform better in such conditions, but not many others.
PVC and fiberglass are both great options for a conduit. Fiberglass does have some advantages over PVC, and this is why it has become the material of choice for many contractors.