Electrical conduits are important when it comes to installing electrical wiring. They provide the necessary support for the wiring and make it possible for someone to install or replace a wire without having to cut through drywall, etc.
There are many different types of conduits, so before you decide which one is right for your needs, it’s helpful to know what they all have to offer. Here’s everything you need to know about electrical conduit types.
What are electrical conduits?
Before we dig deep into the types, let’s start with the basics. Electrical conduits are a type of pipe used to hold electrical wires in place. They can be made out of a variety of materials, and they’re designed to withstand the conditions inside your walls. They’re typically used to protect wires against moisture, heat, and physical damage.
An experienced electrician installs electrical conduits following strict regulations from international standards.
Different types of electrical conduits
Let’s now break down the types of electrical conduits in the market. Electrical conduits are grouped mainly on the type of material used.
Electrical metallic tubing (EMT)
These are the most common types of conduit. They’re made out of a metal pipe. The most common material used is copper, but galvanized aluminum and galvanized steel are also popular options.
Electrical metallic tubing is used in a wide variety of situations, and they’re typically inexpensive. They’re made out of a solid, round pipe.
Electrical metallic tubing is the least expensive type of conduit available.
They have thin walls, and they’re straightforward to work with, making them a popular choice for DIYers. Even though they tend to be rigid, you can easily bend them using different tools. EMT is ideal for residential and light commercial applications.
Insulated electrical metallic tubing
Insulated electrical metallic tubing (IEMT) is also known as EMT or IMTV (insulated metallic trunking). This type of conduit is the same as regular EMT, with the addition of insulation around it to protect wires from heat or cold.
Electrical metallic trunks are often used in high voltage situations or in areas that require additional protection against moisture and heat/cold. If you think your electrical installation is at high risk, this is the perfect conduit.
Because it’s insulated, it’s also a good choice for outdoor use.
IEMT is made out of a solid, round pipe wrapped in insulation. It has a thin wall, but it’s very strong. The main advantage of insulated EMT is that it protects wires from the elements and reduces the risk of electrical shorts.
PVC conduit is made out of plastic and metal, and it comes in a variety of sizes. It’s ideal for wet locations because it can withstand exposure to moisture.
PVC conduit is made out of schedule 40 PVC pipe with a steel or aluminium coupler at each end.
It has excellent resistance to chemicals and water, making it a good choice for indoor or outdoor projects exposed to moisture or harsh weather conditions.
If you are looking for affordable electrical conduits, this may be a perfect choice for you.
Rigid metal conduit (RMC)
Rigid metal conduit is commonly known as RMC. It comes in galvanized steel and aluminum, although the aluminum variant is becoming more popular these days.
RMC is a good choice for outdoor projects because it’s made out of steel or aluminum. These materials are highly resistant to corrosion, which means that they won’t rust even if they’re exposed to moisture or harsh weather conditions.
RMC comes in various sizes and shapes, such as round, square and rectangular. They are thicker than most metallic conduits used for electrical purposes.
The rigidness of these electrical conduits can limit their flexibility. It will take great effort to bend them easily. On the flip side, this feature makes them strong and durable.
Galvanized rigid conduit
Galvanized rigid conduit is also known as GRC. It’s just like RMC, except that it’s made out of steel.
Rigid galvanized conduit is commonly used in outdoor projects because it’s resistant to rust. This makes it perfect for use in moist or wet environments.
The main disadvantage of using galvanized rigid conduit is its weight. Compared to aluminum conduits, the steel variants are relatively heavy, which makes them harder to handle when installing them in a project.
Rigid galvanized conduit comes in two types: threaded and non-threaded. Threaded GRC has threads on the outside of the pipe for connecting threaded fittings and accessories. Non-threaded GRC has no threads on its exterior surface, so you can’t connect any fittings to it directly. Instead, you will have to make use of adapters or couplings that will allow you to connect your accessories with non-threaded GRC.
Intermediate metal conduit (IMC)
Intermediate metal conduit (IMC) is the most versatile type of metal conduit. It’s also the most commonly used type in residential and commercial projects. It’s made out of galvanized steel, which can be used in moist or wet environments.
IMC has an internal diameter of 1 inch, so it can fit any standard-sized electrical wire. The walls of IMC are thinner than those found on RMC and GRC conduits, making it easier to use for small projects that require you to bend the conduit during installation.
Intermediate metal conduit comes in two types: threaded and non-threaded. Your choice for the IMC will depend on how you would like to attach the accessories to the conduit.
Flexible Metal Conduit (FMC)
The name alone is enough to tell you the type of electrical conduit that you are dealing with. Yes, it is a highly flexible electrical conduit, thanks to its spiral construction.
The flexibility of FMC makes them ideal for technical areas. You can install them on corners, sharp bends, among others.
However, most FMCs are only used on short runs. Maybe you want to use power in a specific area just within a short period. However, some end up becoming permanent fixtures.
Rigid nonmetallic conduit
The rigid nonmetallic conduit is installed by either direct buried installation or aboveground installation. Direct buried installation requires the use of a concrete collar when passing through the sidewalk or pavement.
Rigid nonmetallic conduits are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and are rated for use in both wet and dry locations. They are also resistant to sunlight, which makes them ideal for outdoor applications.
Rigid Nonmetallic conduits should not be used in areas that may be subject to physical damage, such as high traffic areas or areas where there might be excessive vibration or impact from heavy machinery or vehicles.
Reinforced thermosetting resin conduit (RTRC)
Reinforced thermosetting resin conduit (RTRC) is made of a thermoset material and is often used for underground applications. We can categorize it under nonmetallic electrical conduits.
It comes in two types:
RTRC-A is made of PVC, and RTRC-B is made of concrete-encased steel. The concrete-encased steel RTRC has a higher resistance to corrosion from chemicals, so it is more commonly used than the PVC type.
This type of conduit should not be used in direct contact with concrete or other materials that may cause the PVC to soften or melt.
The main disadvantage of RTRCs is that they are not flexible, so they must be installed as continuous lengths without joints or splices. They are also very rigid, which makes them difficult to install in some areas.
So, you can see that as much as RTRC comes with a pack of unique and superior features, especially when compared to PVC, it also has demerits.
Liquid-tight flexible metal
Liquid-tight flexible metal conduit (LTFM) is a type of flexible metal conduit that uses a liquid-tight sealant, such as silicone to protect the inner and outer surfaces from corrosion.
So, if you are concerned about the water interference on your electrical circuit, this is the type of conduit to get. It is typically used in underground applications where there are no restrictions on the size or shape of the conduit.
Cost comparison of the electrical conduits
Now that we have looked at the different types of electrical fittings, the next step is to buy one. But before you do so, it will be good to carry out a cost analysis. Find out which one is expensive or cheaper than the other.
We can do a cost analysis of the electrical conduits by breaking them down into two heads.
The first one is the material cost. This is actually quite simple. Different electrical fittings are made of different materials such as copper, aluminum, PVC, etc. The more expensive materials such as copper or aluminum require more labor to make, hence costing more.
Secondly, we can see the cost of labor. The longer it takes to make a particular fitting, the more it will cost you.
So, if you have a tight schedule for your electrical installation project, then it is better to use a type of fitting that will save you time and money in labor costs.
How to install electrical conduits
The following steps show you how to install electrical conduits:
- Install the conduit fittings at the required mounting points using the appropriate tools.
- Connect the electrical wires to the appropriate terminals in the conduit fittings using a wire connector
- Attach the wires to an electrical source using electric cable clamps or clips and connect them to an outlet or light fixture.
How important are electrical conduits
Should I even buy electrical conduits? You may ask. If you have an upcoming electrical installation project, then purchasing an electrical conduit will be inevitable.
Electrical conduits play different roles in an electrical circuit. Their main functions include:
-Protect conductors: Electrical conduits provide a cushion to protect conductors from physical damage. Some of these damages include corrosion and abrasion due to various vagaries of nature.
-Separate circuits: Electrical conduits are used to separate different circuits. This makes it easier to manage, monitor and maintain the circuit at different points. Other technicians can easily come and work on your circuit in case it has problems.
-Electrical isolation: Electrical conduits are used as electrical isolation devices to prevent unwanted currents from flowing between different circuits.
-Control signals: Electrical conduits are used to control signals such as voltage, current, and power.
-Facilitate branching and bending of the conductors: It can be extremely hectic to install conductors in some areas due to their rigidity. This is where conduits come in. They make it easy for you to do the branching and bending of the conductor at any given point of the building.
-Act as fixings for routing of wiring: In some cases, the wires are routed through conduits. This is done mainly to protect the wires from any physical damage.
-Act as mounting points for conduit fittings: These are used to connect different types of conduits together. They also act as mounting points for conduit fittings to ensure that the conductors do not get damaged during installation and maintenance work.
Where can I buy electrical conduits?
You can buy electrical conduits from any electrical hardware store in the country. They are also available online through a number of retailers.
Alternatively, you can choose to import electrical conduits in China. This is the surest path that will get you quality conduits at the most affordable price. Take your time to find reputable suppliers and manufacturers in China, then place your order.
The price of the product varies depending on its quality and size. If you want to get the best value for your money, then make sure to compare prices before buying a set of electrical conduits.
At this point, we have answered all your questions about electrical conduit types. Hopefully, you are now able to choose the best type of electrical conduit that is suitable for your project.
Remember to work closely with your electrician when undertaking electrical projects. And in case you want to buy other electrical components in China, we are always ready. At ICRFQ, we are a reputable supplier of different electrical components in China.
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