Why not AC?

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  #1  
Old 03-02-06, 09:47 AM
wgc
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Why not AC?

What are the disadvantages of using AC and why wouldn't I just use it? I thought it was going to be a lot more expensive than Romex, but not really.

I'm re-wiring a circuit to replace the ungrounded fabric covered original 1940's wiring and need to use AC wiring for the outlets on the exterior wall (plaster/furring over block with not enough depth for nailing protection). Assuming AC was expensive and a pain to work with, my original plan was to run Romex in the basement ceiling to junction boxes below the locations for the outlets in exterior walls. Then I would only need a couple feet of AC at each location and would only need to fish one cable up into the wall. However it's not as expensive as I thought, I'd need to get a cutter in either case, and the extra junctions are extra points of failure. I'm not sure the extra cost of all AC is higher than the extra cost of the extra junction boxes of my original plan. Would it make more sense to just do the whole circuit in AC, or maybe have a cutover where the section in interior walls is Romex, then just switch to all AC for the rest?
 
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Old 03-02-06, 10:17 AM
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If AC is required for one point of the run, the best course is to use it for the entire run, just as you are already thinking.

Would metal conduit work in your application? NM is sometimes hard to pull through conduit (but that part wouldn't be very long,) and I've know some electricians that think it is bad practice, but, if not a Code violation, that could work well for you also.
 
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Old 03-02-06, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by wgc
What are the disadvantages of using AC and why wouldn't I just use it?
In general, added price and added labor, both of which add to the overall cost of the job. In your situation it sounds like a full run of AC would be a fine solution.

I'll probably get flamed for this, but you can just use a hacksaw to cut the AC armor if you're careful. If you don't want to try, a cutter is only about $30.
 
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Old 03-02-06, 12:33 PM
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conduit seems more difficult

Originally Posted by MAC702
Would metal conduit work in your application? NM is sometimes hard to pull through conduit (but that part wouldn't be very long,) and I've know some electricians that think it is bad practice, but, if not a Code violation, that could work well for you also.
Conduit seems like it would be more difficult to fish through a wall without opening it. Also, I don't think I'll have a straight shot up from the basement because of the rim joist being below the wall cavity of the exterior walls.

I'm sure I'll be asking for advice on conduit once the weather gets warmer and I can finally pay attention to my garage and shed where the current wiring is on the surface.
 
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Old 03-03-06, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks
In general, added price and added labor, both of which add to the overall cost of the job. In your situation it sounds like a full run of AC would be a fine solution.

I'll probably get flamed for this, but you can just use a hacksaw to cut the AC armor if you're careful. If you don't want to try, a cutter is only about $30.

In a pinch, I have folded the cable to separate the spirals and then used my side cuts to cut the armor. I just made sure that I cleaned up the cuts real well with the side cuts, and didn't nick the wires.
 
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Old 03-03-06, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks
In general, added price and added labor,
The added price isn't much.

I can pull MC faster than NM.
For example, MC uncoils freely and glides right through bored holes in studs and joists for long runs.
NM requires two people to pull it and you still risk snagging the sheathing.
I say the labor is so close to equal, it's a toss up.
But if I had to, I'd bet that working alone an MC installer can beat an NM installer hands down.


> I'll probably get flamed for this,
Let the punishment fit the crime.


> but you can just use a hacksaw to cut the AC armor if you're careful.
If? If you don't cut your thumb and you don't cut the insulation inside.
This is a bad idea. A rotary cutter is easy to use and much faster.


> If you don't want to try, a cutter is only about $30.
It's silly not to have the correct tool.
 

Last edited by bolide; 03-03-06 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 03-03-06, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by bolide
I can pull MC faster than NM.
For example, MC uncoils freely and glides right through bored holes in studs and joists for long runs.
NM requires two people to pull it and you still risk snagging the sheathing.
I was gonna let this go but I can't.
All I can say is: HUH????
NM snagging and MC not?? I don't think so!
MC "gliding" through holes and NM not?? I don't think so!
NM requiring TWO people to pull?? What world are you working in. A jaded commercial world I think.
Hardcore commercial electricians are the only ones I know who have issues with NM. They are simply jealous that they can't use it everyday.
I have run A LOT of many types types of wiring methods, including lots of conduit and MC, so I am not biased, just opinionated.



I say the labor is so close to equal, it's a toss up.
But if I had to, I'd bet that working alone an MC installer can beat an NM installer hands down.
I will take that bet ANY DAY of the WEEK!
 
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Old 03-03-06, 09:46 PM
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I started in industrial, working MC almost everyday. Now, I mostly do side jobs, running NM almost everyday, with a few MC jobs here and there. So it's where your experience is, because I can run both equally fast.

In the OP's situation, I'd run MC for the entire run, if it is needed at any point in the run. And I see no problem with MC in parts of an installation and NM in others where allowed.

I always use my rotary cutter for steel MC. I can often use the bend-and-snip technique for aluminum MC when I can't remember at the time where I set down the proper tool.
 
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Old 03-03-06, 10:17 PM
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Tell you one thing, I can do without the black all over my hands after a day with MC.


I do agree about the OP though.
 
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Old 03-04-06, 03:19 AM
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Angry

So. Now that you all have given your personal opinions on the best way to run and cut cable has anyone answered the poor guys question ??
 
  #11  
Old 03-04-06, 04:40 AM
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I'm not sure. I think so.
If AC is required for one point of the run, the best course is to use it for the entire run, just as you are already thinking.
In the OP's situation, I'd run MC for the entire run, if it is needed at any point in the run. And I see no problem with MC in parts of an installation and NM in others where allowed.
I do agree about the OP though.
 
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Old 03-04-06, 05:01 AM
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Thanks Pete.
 
  #13  
Old 03-06-06, 06:08 AM
wgc
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thanks

Alright, it's unanimous then, thanks. Now I just need the time to do it. I missed the window of opportunity, so it's going to be at least three more weeks before I get another weekend free. Time machine anyone?
 
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