What Exactly Is The Purpose Of Electrical Wiring Nuts Is It Just The Easiest Safest And Most Effective Way To Join Two Wire Ends – Here’s what you need to know when shopping for electrical wires and cables for your next home improvement or DIY project.
Checking out electrical wiring at a home center or hardware store is fun for experienced DIYers, but tedious for many.
What Exactly Is The Purpose Of Electrical Wiring Nuts Is It Just The Easiest Safest And Most Effective Way To Join Two Wire Ends
As a retired electrician myself when shopping for household items, I often politely intervene when I see a colleague confused by all the options. – Okay, okay, I’ll help! I tell them. And they usually leave with what they need.
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Now I am here to help you. Here are the main types of electrical wires and cables, where they can be installed, and how to choose the right type and size for your next project.
Homeowners and electricians use the terms “wire” and “cable” interchangeably, but there are important differences.
The electrical code officially refers to wires as “conductors,” but for simplicity we’ll call them wires. Wires are bare to connect and connect electrical equipment and circuits. However, they may only be coated with a corrosion-resistant material and are not officially considered electrical insulators.
Most of you are probably familiar with colored wires wrapped in plastic insulation with an identifiable code. In the early years of wiring, the wire was covered with rubber. Today, they are covered with a variety of high-tech materials that can withstand harsh environments and conditions. They may be underground. Submerged in water or exposed to sunlight, vibration, chemicals or high temperatures.
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Individual electrical wires are usually placed in metal or plastic conduit. The combination of wires and pipes forms a complete wiring system.
On the other hand, a cable is an assembly of two or more bare, coated, or insulated wires wrapped in a common metal or metal sheath for physical protection. Unlike individual wires, cables are self-wired and usually do not need to be placed in conduit.
We’re all guilty of reading the fine print on user agreements when we download new apps to our smartphones. But actually, the information about the wire or cable is an important agreement of the users.
It is very important to use the power cord and wire or cable according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Understanding this information will tell you the difference between safe and secure wiring. You will be praised by your local electrical inspector for your homework and attention to detail.
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A lot of important information is printed on the individual wires. Here are a few examples to look out for:
For cables, there is a lot of information on the outer casing: the manufacturer’s name, UL mark or other safety certification, voltage rating, wire size of the cable, type of cable, and even the date of manufacture.
For safety and uniformity, electronic codes require certain wires to be certain colors. Green is only for connecting and connecting wires. Equipment grounding ensures that the circuit breaker trips and interrupts power in the event of a ground fault.
Wiring connects electrical systems to other metal systems in your home, such as plumbing, gas lines, cable television, and telephones. This ensures that there are no voltage differences between these systems around abnormal surges or lightning strikes on power lines. The voltage difference between the two systems creates a risk of electric shock.
Yes, Electrical Wire Colors Do Matter
White is for neutral wires. Hot wires come in many different colors, but manufacturers have developed a common color scheme that has kept the industry going.
To make life easier for electrical industry electricians and homeowners, the cable sheath is available in a variety of colors.
With the exception of some underground cables, individual insulated cables must be enclosed in metal or plastic tubing to secure the entire system. On the other hand, the metallic cable that dominates our homes is a complete, self-contained conduit, with wires enclosed in a protective outer casing.
Cabling is much easier and cheaper than installing pipes and wires. The color of the outer sheath of the cable is a convenient way to remember the wire diameter and the power consumption of the cable.
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This is the most common electrical cord in the household. As the name suggests, this cable has an outer metal (NM) sheath made of plastic material.
The suffix “-B” indicates a non-metallic sheathed cable with single conductors and an insulation rating of 90 C.
Type NM-B cables are permitted for installation in one- and two-family dwellings and in outbuildings such as garages and yard storage. It can be hidden or exposed in normally dry areas. The outer shell is non-flammable. It is also moisture resistant, so it can withstand nominal moisture that occurs during construction until the building’s walls, windows and roof are installed.
Typically, NM-B cables have two or three conductors along with the ground wire. To translate the information printed on the cable jacket, “14” is the wire diameter, “2” is the number of insulated wires, and “ground” is the ground wire for unarmored equipment.
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Hot and neutral wires are insulated separately. The ground wire is bare copper or green insulation. A group of wires is wrapped in a paper jacket. And the entire set is covered with a plastic outer shell.
The UF type refers to the underwire (UF) and the subwire. Underground installations in direct contact with the ground and other moist, wet, dry or corrosive locations are permitted.
The UF type is mainly used for garage, building or outdoor lighting. Unlike NM-B type cables, the insulating conductor and bare wire in UF type cables are formed inside the outer sheath.
Compared to the simple stripping of the outer jacket of NM-B cable, stripping the outer jacket of UF cable often becomes a tug of war. However, it is designed to be extremely durable to withstand the harsh conditions of direct burial installations.
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Depending on the situation, the UF type can be buried directly or connected to a pipeline, such as a short length of metal or PVC pipe used as a sleeve under the pavement. It should also be protected from physical damage by 80-gauge metal pipe or plastic pipe that protrudes from the ground. So you can’t remove it with your lawnmower.
Simple type UF insulated wires only reach 60°C. If the UF type is to be installed in a house instead of the NM-B type, look for the UF-B type and ensure that the cables supplied are rated at 90 C.
MC-type cables have largely replaced AC (bronzevic) types. The latter is popular factory insulated wire with bare tape wrapped in flexible braided metal armor.
Type MC cable is similar, but is produced in a variety of sizes and configurations for residential, commercial and industrial installations.
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Type MC cable is a good solution for unfinished areas that require stronger protection to prevent physical damage, such as basements or garages. NM-B type cables are more dangerous in this environment.
Twisted wire is more flexible than solid wire. If the wire is pulled through the pipe, the twisted wire makes it easier to turn the corner. On the other hand, if you’re working alone and don’t have someone to help you pull the wire, you’re often pushing the hard wire through conduit to the next outlet or junction box.
John Williamson has worked in the Minnesota electrical industry for over 45 years as an electrician, inspector, instructor and manager. John is a licensed electrician and certified civil engineer. John has worked in the construction code, permitting and inspection industry for over 33 years, including over 27 years in Minnesota. John has provided consulting and electronic coding for a variety of book and magazine publishers over the past 30 years. John retired from the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industries, where he was an electrical equipment supervisor.
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