How To: Installing Wire & Cable in Cold Weather

We’re entering the coldest months of the year, which can impact the products on job sites, including wire and cable. But when the temperatures drop, your need to install and maintain these products continues! That’s why it’s important to handle these products cautiously in cold weather to prevent damage.

What counts as cold weather?

Cold is relative, and what counts as “too cold” will depend on what type of cable you are planning to install. Wire is most commonly rated to either 14° or -40°, but the minimum installation temperature is 15°C higher than the cold bend temperature rating. The cold bend temperature rating is indicated on the catalog spec sheets, so ensure you know how cold is “too cold” for the cable you’re installing.

installing cable in cold weather

What happens if you install cable when it’s too cold?

According to General Cable, low temperatures can cause various difficulties when installing cable, as cold weather can cause wire and cable to become brittle and inflexible. This doesn’t just apply to the wire itself either; wire jackets can also become stiff and crack when moved in cold temperatures. Because of this, regular wire installation practices can cause damage, so it’s important to properly prep the cable beforehand.

cold weather cablePreparing cable for installation

The only way to prepare wire is to bring it up to its minimum installation temperature. Bringing cable up to the right temperature takes at least 24 hours, so be sure you have enough time to prep the wire beforehand.  When possible, store the cable inside. Otherwise bring it to a heated location of 55°- 60° or warmer for 24 hours before installation.

Even when wire and cable has been prepped, it should be pulled more slowly the day it’s removed from storage, and avoid any impact or kinking, like dropping the cable or bending it sharply.

Of course, wire isn’t the only thing to be concerned about in the cold. Make sure your team is prepared for the cold as well, with proper hydration, clothing and gear.

This winter, don’t let the cold ruin your wires or stop installation. With just a few steps, it’s simple to keep cable and wire jackets flexible and ready to install. You can view our full selection of wire options on our website or on the French Gerleman mobile app. You may also connect with your French Gerleman Account Manager or contact us online today to learn more.

Cable General Cable Wire Management