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Sad but true: price increases on enclosures, dampers — and other steel products — are coming.

2021 February 5

enclosures and dampers at

It pains us to give you this update, but we’re pretty certain that you don’t like surprises when it comes to what you pay for HVAC and peripheral parts, so here we go:

Your prices on steel enclosures and dampers are about to go up, higher than they usually would as part of a traditional annual increase. The enclosure and damper manufacturers that we carry — Beaver Steel, Inc., Hoffman, Ruskin, and Saginaw Control & Engineering — have either posted price increases already, or will be doing so soon.

And why is that? It’s because the price of steel has reached levels not seen since 2008 as detailed in this article from The FABRICATOR.

These steep increases in steel prices (also see this article from Industry Week) have accompanied increased demand in the last year (according to the Wall Street Journal) — so the fact is, any product that we sell on that has a significant amount of steel in it will likely also get a price bump in the coming months. One of our enclosure suppliers told us that the price of their primary resource, cold rolled steel, has doubled in the last six months.

This kind of spike in steel prices is extraordinary. Many products are up 50–100% since late summer 2020, with the bulk of the increases occurring in November and December 2020. Sheet price in the United States has more than doubled since mid-2020 and just set a new all-time-record high. The prices of all products are rising rapidly, spiking to unsustainable peaks in 2021. Rapid construction and industrial recovery from COVID-19 lockdowns outpaced sluggish capacity restarts, so supply is temporarily tight.

Sheet prices are spiking in the United States at one of the fastest rates in history, despite ample (but idle) capacity. Despite the high prices, buyers should worry more about supply than price for the first quarter of 2021, but should avoid locking prices for the remainder of the year. Other products and regions have high prices for the first quarter of 2021, but are not experiencing shortages.

You can go ahead and mark this one down in the Sorry-We-Had-To-Give-You-This-Unfortunate-News-Today-But-Maybe-Tomorrow-Will-Get-Better column.

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