At ANAMET Electrical, Inc., we supply flexible electrical conduit to customers in various markets. As these components are designed to connect and protect electrical wiring, cables and other equipment, they play a critical role in many electrical and electronic applications. That’s why it is important to choose carefully when you need electrical conduit for your project.
This guide will explain what you need to know before buying conduit for your application. It provides an overview of what electrical conduit is, what types are available and what to consider before installing conduit.
When electric lights were new to the world, existing pipes for gas light were used to route wiring to new electric light bulbs on existing light fixtures. The beginning National Fire Protection Association (1896) and National Electrical Code (1897) preserved the idea of using pipe or tubing to protect electrified wiring. Electrical conduit is now tubing that electricians install to protect and route electrical wiring. It can be made from a variety of rigid or flexible materials, such as metal, PVC or thermosetting resin, depending on its intended use. Electrical conduit can be found in attics, basements, crawl spaces and on various interior and exterior spaces and surfaces.
The National Electrical Code (NEC) defines the types of approved electrical conduit. This publication is frequently revised to keep up with innovative technology. States and municipalities decide how this Safety Code is applied or enforced. The requirements for electrical conduit are finely detailed. Electrical conduit can be rigid (metal, PVC or thermosetting resin) or flexible (metal (FMC), liquid tight metal (LFMC) and liquid tight non-metallic (LFNC). All conduit comes in a variety of sizes and there are limitations on how each type may be used.
- Rigid metal conduit is the heaviest and thickest conduit material option. It offers protection against mice and rats in basements, garages and similar environments. Due to its durability, it is commonly used in areas with extreme or harsh conditions. It is typically made from steel or aluminum, the latter of which is recommended for high-moisture environments since it resists corrosion. If the conduit must be installed around a corner, you may need a conduit bender, conduit couplings, offset fittings, and/or elbows.
- Rigid PVC and thermosetting resin conduit are the lightest conduit material and the least expensive conduit option. It is used to protect electrical wiring from moisture and dirt. It is corrosion resistant, moisture resistant and non-conductive. It is used outdoors and below ground. It is commonly used for lawn irrigation controls and swimming pools.
- Flexible metal conduit (FMC) is called Greenfield or Flex in the building trades. It is recommended for dry locations indoors because it is not liquid tight. Its flexibility and lighter weight make it easier to install than rigid conduit. It is frequently used in the interior walls of houses and office buildings, cubicles and office ceilings (for connecting power to light fixtures).
- Liquid tight, flexible, metallic conduit (LFMC) is typically covered with a waterproof plastic coating to keep out moisture. Its flexibility enables it to be used in places with tight bends where rigid conduit would be hard to install. Typical uses include bridges, ground burial, paper mills, petrochemical facilities and water treatment plants.
- Liquid tight, flexible, non-metallic conduit (LFNC) is suitable for use in dry, wet, or oily locations. It can be used in indoor or outdoor environments for industrial and commercial applications. Typical uses include ground burial, HVAC units, pools and spas.
You will need to purchase conduit connectors (fittings) to install a conduit system. Fittings allow conduit to be connected to an electrical junction box.
If you are buying conduit fittings from a supplier for the first time, you should keep in mind the following considerations to make sure you are getting the best solution for your needs:
- What are your local Safety Code requirements? Although the National Electrical Code describes conduit installation for operating conditions, local inspectors may provide guidance that can save money and time on installation, inspection and approval for wiring and conduit installation.
- Are the fittings the right size? The diameter of the fitting must match the diameter of the selected conduit to provide a secure and liquid tight connection.
- How long does the conduit and fittings need to last? If the conduit only needs to be used until the next remodeling project, you may shop for less durable, lower cost conduit and fitting options.
- Are the conduit and fittings made of material appropriate for the installation conditions? Conduit is made of a variety of materials, both metal and non-metal, for resistance to intrusion, corrosion and liquids. Fittings should be equally durable. For liquid tight conduit, choose liquid tight fittings with seals and rings.
- Does the supplier offer the type of fittings I need? The supplier you choose should offer the fittings matching the conduit you need for your project.
- Will the supplier deliver the fittings by the time I need them? The supplier should be able to deliver the connectors to you with the conduit you purchase.
- Can the supplier provide a customized solution? If your project has distinctive features, you should look for a supplier that can provide conduit and fittings so you can be sure of safe and secure electrical connection to your specifications and standards.
Operation of electrical equipment is dependent on safe, reliable and secure electrical connection. Electrical conduit protects electrical connections, which is why understanding what electrical conduit is, what types are available and what to consider before installing conduit is vital.
Looking for high-quality flexible electrical conduit and fittings? ANAMET Electrical has got you covered! We are an industry-leading provider of flexible electrical conduit and fittings. To learn more about our product offerings, check out our product catalog or contact us today. For specific product questions or pricing details, request a quote.