Installing Wires: With Conduits vs Without Installing Wires: With Conduits vs Without

Electrical conduit protects and routes electrical wiring. It can be made of many materials, including metal, plastic, fiber or fired clay. There is flexible and rigid conduit available. The type of conduit used is determined wiring regulations set forth by national and local codes. It is important to determine for your application whether or not to use conduit. Here is q quick guide. Installing wires: with conduits vs. without.  Conduit comes in various sizes. If you decide to use conduit, use available charts to determine the correct size for your application. The guidelines will determine the fill factor, which is the maximum amount of space that the conductors running through the conduit can occupy; the amount of wires you are running will determine the size of conduit needed. 

Wiring without the Use of Conduit

Due to the limitations of the conduit and the volume of regulators that are allowed by code to be within a conduit, you may have space limitations for your wires. This is especially evident when the wires have to go around a bend. There is less volume available in a conduit in this application. If you would need to go to a larger conduit size to fit your wires, you may not be able to fit it in certain applications. It may be easier to install wire without conduit.

Using conduit will increase the cost of your installation as well as the time required to install. If conduit needs to be cut you need to be careful that edges are not sharp. If conduit needs to be bent you will have to use a costly bending device or spend extra money buying pre-bent conduit.

Wiring with Conduit

  • Conduit is durable and strong and can last a long time. This will protect your wiring from damage. 
  • It may be easier to replace wires in an existing application when it is installed in conduit. It is often easier to fish your wires through the smooth lining of the conduit than through random holes in walls.
  • Using conduits will ensure that your wires are kept together. It will be easier to repair wires if there is a short in the line.
  • Code requires that romex be installed in a conduit.
  • Conduit protects your wires from exposed surfaces such as rough bricks in a basement.
  • PVC conduit is easy to cut and to install and will make your wire installation simpler.
  • If using aluminum conduit in electrical applications, it is useful as it is highly conductive. In fact, many utility companies have begun using aluminum conduits to connect power lines, towers, and substations.

If your wiring is outdoors, it is very beneficial to run it in underground conduit. The conduit will protect your wiring from environmental conditions such as rain and snow. Another benefit is the grounding properties of metal conduits. Depending upon your local regulations, you may be able to use the conduit to serve as the grounding path. Some localities require that a green grounding wire also be used. Check your regulations before proceeding.


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