Last Updated on October 22, 2023 by Kevin Chen
Image source: DannyThePlumber
There is a close relationship between conduits and service panels. Conduits give maximum protection to the cables that deliver power in both residential and commercial buildings.
For a 200 amp service, the conduits must be flexible enough to ensure that the cables are not affected despite the constant movement that they may be subjected to.
Take note that conduits come in different size. Each size is specially designed for a specific service amp.
So, what is the ideal conduit for the 200 amp service?
A s-inch conduit is always deemed perfect for the 200 amp service.
While the rigid metal may be the perfect material for the conduit, PVC pipes with the same specifications will also work perfectly.
However, the problem that comes with using the latter option is they are prone to physical and even chemical damage especially when installed on underground.
And that is not all, read on as we continue breaking down on this. At the end of the day, you will buy the perfect conduit size for your 200 service.
What is the relationship between conduit size and service panel?
At this point, you may be wondering why we are all concerned by the relationship between the conduit size and the service panel?
You should be concerned because the conduit is directly connected to the service panel. It houses the wires that draw power from the service panel. For this reason, its physical attributes should support the wires that draw power from the panel.
In all the cases, the size of the conduit will always depend on the amperage of the circuit and even the number of wires installed in the panel.
And that is not all, the conduit size should also be approved by the local electrical code.
Materials used for the conduits
One aspect of the conduits to be used on service panel is the types of materials used.
Different materials are used and the choice is usually based on their performance and reliability.
The most common material for the conduits is the metallic tubing which is also known as the EMT.
Even though it is metal, it is super thin and can be bent using a conduit bender. The major demerit of the EMT is cannot be threaded. The material is also ideal for use in concrete and indoor environment.
The next conduit material on the line is the intermediate metal conduit (IMC). This material is relatively thicker than the EMT hence can handle for physical force. This does not defy the fact that it is still easy to bend and gives maximum flexibility. IMC is an ideal material for the outdoor applications.
Rigid Metal Conduit (RMC) is the third conduit material that can be used on 200 amps service panel. It is mainly made if galvanized steel and comes in different trade sizes. The fact that it is strong makes it relatively more expensive. Threaded fittings are used to connect this conduit material.
PVC is the last material used on the conduits fir the 200 amps service panel. Other than being a perfect insulator, PVC is also lightweight and corrosion-resistant. These two features make it flexible and ideal for the outdoor applications. However, it is easily affected by UV rays hence should not be exposed to direct sunlight.
Reinforced Thermosetting Resin Conduit (RTRC) is another material that may be used on the conduit. Usually, it is used as an alternative to the PVC. It has numerous features that outperform the PVC.
The basics of 200 amps service
To know what conduit size you should use, it will be wise to have an overview of the 200 amps service.
A 200 amps service panel is designed to deliver up to a maximum of 200 amperes to a building. It is mostly used in the residential buildings since most commercial buildings have more power demand.
Like other panel, it houses fuses and circuit breakers, all of which are designed to protect the wires from the effects of power surge and short circuit.
200 amps services come in two major options. Underground and Overhead. Each option is designed to work perfectly in its respective installation area.
Also, the fact that they are of different types also means that you will have to be careful with the type of conduit that you choose for your 200 amps service. Some conduits are perfect for the underground service while others are perfect for the overhead.
A typical 200 amps service will work well with a lateral conductor. In such a set up, the service cable will be installed in an underground conduit until it reaches a designated distance.
The main drawback of the underground conduit is cost. It is way expensive than an average overhead conduit.
An overhead conduit, o the other hand, will use a service drop conductor that supplies power from the main grid. It is easy to work with and comes at an affordable price tag. The main downside is prone to the vagaries of nature such as bad weather.
Factors that affect the size of the conduits
Probably you are wondering how we have come to a conclusion that 2-inch is the perfect conduit size for a 200 amps service.
One of the key factors that determine the conduit size is the number of wires. The more the wires, the larger the conduit size.
This is because the conduit is required to provide a space allowance based on the number of wires. The allowance is given considering that the wire will be bent during the installation.
If there is one wire, the conduit should have an allowance of 53% and 40% for three or more wires.
Since most 200 amp service allow between 3 and four wires, the 40% rule will apply when it comes to the size of the conduits.
Another key factor to be considered is the thickness of the wire. This is usually measured in AWG. 200 amp service usually work well with the 2.0AWG wires.
Now you know the right conduit size for a 200 amp service. What remains is buying the conduits and associated accessories for the installation.
Choose the right supplier for the quality conduits and associated electronic components in China.
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