Electrical Conduit Basics

What To Know About Electrical Conduit

An electrical conduit is a form of protection used for electrical wires, and are used for ease in mounting such conductors.  For instance, in an electrical system within a house, conduits are used to cover the wires that deliver the electricity from the main power source or provider to the service entrance of the house and to the different outlets.  In any case, sizing the conduit is essential to ensure safety and functionality, as well as to minimize possible costs with regard to purchasing, installation, and maintenance.

Conduits come in various types depending on the functions they serve and the features they have.  One electrical conduit may be different from another in terms of its material and other relevant properties.  Examples of such properties include resistance to heat, fire, or water – as protection from these elements is essential in securing the safety of the building.  Using these electrical connectors is governed by certain electrical codes and building codes; and these standards can vary from one country to another.

Planning the entire electrical system of any building requires proper knowledge of the electrical components to be used, which includes sizing the electrical conduit.  Selecting the conduit comes only after the wires or conductors have already been properly sized and selected, as the conduits to be used are mainly dependent on the wires for the particular electrical system.  Once the standards regarding the sizing of the wires have been met, the matching conduit is selected depending on the preferences for the design of the electrical system.

As an example, consider this scenario: a 3.5 mm2 THW copper conductor was initially selected to be installed for the lights and convenience outlets inside a single room.  For this particular purpose, a conduit with a 15 mm size would be appropriate based on the ampacity of the conductor and the possible variations due to temperature.  On the other hand, a larger electrical conduit might be needed if it is to be used at the service entrance from the main power source because it would be carrying a larger conductor.  In addition, since it is exposed to the environment, it is susceptible to environmental factors such as rainfall and direct sunlight.  With this, the electrical connectors’ properties such as their resistance to those environmental factors should be considered in the selection of the conduits.

Buying an inappropriately sized conduit might cause certain problems during installation, as it might not properly fit the conductor that it would be housing.  In addition, buying too large a conduit would cause the purchaser to incur unnecessary expenses, as a smaller (but fitting) and less expensive conduit would be able to fulfill the purpose for which it is intended.

 A properly selected electrical conduit with the most appropriate features and characteristics would ensure that it would be able to serve its purpose well and ensure the safety of the electrical system.  Knowing how this is achieved should be the priority of anyone who wishes to install electrical components within any building, as this could serve as an assurance that the electrical system would function properly and efficiently.