Wiring of any kind comes down to a few things, especially what kind of wiring needs to be included. Whether it be your home, shed, garage, barn, or office, having a specific kind of wiring can ensure a job well done.
Having the right electrical conduit is the right place to start. Before you start wiring things up for all of your technological needs, get a better feel for the different conduit types and what they apply to.
Conduits Protect Wires
Conduits serve a very specific purpose when it comes down to wiring any project. Wiring has to be protected from potential damage that can be done no matter what the environment might be. The right conduit will offer protection to the single strands of wire that get pulled into the electrical box.
Electrical conduits come in a wide range of styles from rigid to flexible to meet the needs of the job. Picking the right conduit comes down to two things. The first is meeting whatever needs the job has and the second is to line up with the National Electrical Code.
What’s important to point out is that each conduit you find has a specific place where it can be used. For the most part, conduits are going to be used for interior projects. That said, there is a conduit that can be used for outdoor purposes. That would be PVC conduit, which is typically used in outdoor areas, underground installations, and areas where moisture is more prevalent.
PVC connectors, fittings, elbows, and couplings are best used in those settings. They attach easily using PVC glue and a cleaner. It’s also not conductive, which means that you have to run green ground wire through the conduit to make sure that everything is properly grounded at all the connection points. Different materials needed for grounding are another subject, but PVC conduit is what you would want to go with for outdoor projects.
Different Types of Conduits
While there are other conduit types out there, these four are the most prevalent and common. They each have their own purposes and suitable settings, so interchanging them isn’t the right idea if you want to ensure a quality installation.
EMT Conduit. Preferable because it’s really easy to bend, lightweight, and great for use behind walls. The real downside to the EMT conduit is that it’s pretty easily damaged. If you think the damage is realistic, rigid or IMC conduit are probably better options.
Flexible Metal Conduit. Close quarters and tight bends make flexible metal conduit a better choice. Places like can lights, attic vents, and water heaters typically need something that can bend in tight spaces. This conduit is also better used in areas where there’s vibration. If you used a solid conduit, it could shake loose, whereas a flexible metal conduit will hold strong without moving very much.
Rigid Metal Conduit. The heaviest, thickest, and sturdiest of all the conduits. Typically, these would be great for service feeder installations, under driveways, and in areas where conditions are a bit more extreme. Has to be threaded on the end and it also tends to be the most expensive of any conduits listed here. Most of the rigid metal conduit installations you see go through the roof because it’s the most secure means of installation.
IMC Conduit. While it’s not the thickest, it is thicker than you would find in galvanized conduits. For areas with exposed walls – garages, outbuildings, basements, etc. – IMC conduit is ideal because it can stand up where other conduits would be potentially damaged.