WesBell Electronics
Wire and Cable Blog



Category: Electrical Wire

Finding the Right Electrical Cable for Nearly Any Project

Electrical cables come in a variety of forms, all of which have their own unique uses and capabilities. But what kind of cable is ideal for each job? When choosing the ideal cable for a particular project, there are endless possibilities! In this article, however, there are three different types of cable that are going to be explored: low-voltage, optical fiber, and coaxial cables.

  • Low-Voltage Cable

Low voltage cables are usually created from plain flexible copper conductors that are bunched together. These cables are insulated and colored so they’re safe to use and easy to identify. The copper core wires are twisted together and then covered with a flexible form of high grade PVC, or polyvinyl chloride. These cables are used for a variety of products, from everyday appliances to small industrial machines.

  • Optical Fiber Cable

Optical fiber cables are great for electronic devices that need to carry and transport data. These cables are fairly common and are used in households and data centers around the world. Televisions, internet, and other complex electrical equipment use these wires and most people are already familiar with how they work. Optical fiber cables are also some of the most reliable forms of cable, thanks to their flexibility and efficiency.

  • Coaxial Cable

Coaxial cable is another commonly used electrical cable. This cable has an inner conductor which is surrounded by insulation. It connects with other devices used a tube-like conducting shield. The coaxial cable gets its name because both conductors run parallel to each other on the same axis. Many households and commercial businesses use this form of cable, however, its most common usage is to connect a TV to an antennae.

Understanding what each type of cable does best is a great way to decrease the uncertainty of an electrical project, particularly if you’re doing it yourself. Also remember that electrical accessories are available which can make a potentially frustrating project even easier. If you’re uncertain about what type of cable or accessory is needed for your project, it’s best to ask a trusted and reputable expert to assist you.

 

3 Things to Know When Buying Electrical Wire

There are several different aspects to consider when faced with an electrical project. However, most people tend to overlook one of the main concerns while shopping for their equipment; namely, the wires.

 

Know Your Ampacity

Ampacity is the word used by the National Electric Safety Code to describe the maximum electrical current that a conductor will allow. When an electrical wire goes over its ampacity, it causes either progressive or immediate damage and can cause serious problems like a fire. Generally, ampacity ranges from 10 amps, as with a low-voltage light, to 200 amps, which powers service doors at stores, and every variation between.

 

Get the Right Size

Electrical wires do a variety of things and it’s important to know which size is needed to handle the project. Size is generally determined by the wire gauge system, which correlates oppositely with ampacity. This is because the amount of ampacity that a wire will carry will grow but the size of the wire will shrink. For example, a service panel that has an ampacity of 100 amps will use a 2 gauge wire while an extension cord that uses 13 amps will have a 16 gauge wire.

 

Keep Wires Protected

In order to keep wires safe from damage and corrosion, it’s best to have them sheathed in some form of plastic. Non-Metallic Sheathed Cable, or NMS, are often considered ideal for indoor wiring because of their sturdy casing, and some outside wires are available as well. There are three different types of NMS wires available and each one has their own individual strengths. These types are known as NM, NMC, and UF.

  • NM- NM wire is commonly used indoors and is perfect for lighting and receptacle circuits.
  • NMC- NMC cables are ideal for damp areas inside of the home. This is because of the extra insulation that these wires are coated in.
  • UF- UF wire is meant to be used outside and underground. Although these wires are fairly hefty and insulated, it’s important not to use them above ground because the sunlight can destroy the strength of the sheathing.

 

Copper XHHW Wire VS Aluminum XHHW Wire

There are two kinds of XHHW wire. The copper conductor wire and the aluminum conductor wire. They both generally have the same uses. Everything about the wire is the same as far as temperature rating, volts, and what the wire is resistant to because they have the same insulation. These wires no matter which conductor you choose are very resistant to chemicals, ozone, and abrasions.

XHHW Insulation

This insulation type is what is going to cover either the copper or aluminum wire strands. This kind of insulation makes the wires fire resistant. This is due to its cross linked polyethylene material. The insulation also makes the wires water resistant. The wires with this insulation are usually used in residential, commercial, and even industrial buildings. XHHW wires are installed for the purpose of power distribution. Most XHHW wires are approved for at most between 110 and 600 volts. They usually range in size between a 14 AWG and a size 1000 MCM.

Copper Wire

Copper XHHW WireThe copper wire is heavier and much more expensive than the aluminum wire. At the same time the copper is a much better conductor of electricity than the aluminum wire. The XHHW wire is approved for up to 600 volts and 90°C temperatures. These wires are typically used in conduit, raceway, and is also suitable for use in health care facilities. It is considered a sunlight resistant electrical wire. The copper conductor can come in both stranded and solid versions, with the stranded version being much more flexible than the solid.

Buy Copper XHHW wire here >>

Aluminum Wire

Aluminum XHHW WireAluminum is very light. Unfortunately it is also less conductive than the copper is. For example, a connection in need of 100 AMPS will need a bigger AWG size of aluminum than the copper wire.  This kind of XHHW aluminum wire is rated to withstand temperatures up to 90°C. The wire is UL approved and it is also RoHS compliant. The aluminum wire is usually used in branch and circuit electrical wiring.

Buy Aluminum XHHW wire here >>

Both wires have the same insulation so as far as environmental uses go they will end up being the same for both wires. You want to make sure to speak to your electrician about your application because aluminum cables are not always approved where copper cables are. The aluminum and copper wires both come in stranded and solid options. The bigger gauge size of the wire the stranded may become your only option because the wire will need some flexibility.

UFB Underground Electrical Cable is in Season!

Underground electrical cable is more popular throughout the warmer months because trenches need to be dug in order to install it. UFB stands for Underground Feeder because it doesn’t need conduit or tray to be installed directly underground.

Detached Garage or Barn

Underground Electrical CableA detached garage or barn will need to have its own electrical box to supply power to the outlets, lights, light switches, garage doors and more. Some garages will also need additional cables set up as extension cords so that tools and machines can be instantly hooked up in a portable fashion. All of the wire and cable used to send power from the electrical box is THHN, Romex® and flexible portable cord.

However, UFB cable is used to bring all of the power to the electrical box in the first place. First, construct the new barn. Then, run UFB cable from your home’s electrical box to the garage’s electrical box. Now that the garage’s electrical box is supplied with additional AMPS it can allocate smaller amounts of power to the lights and outlets. Many garages and barns are detached, which makes UFB cable is the quickest and easiest installation because you only have to purchase one item, the electrical cable.

Outdoor Hot Tub or Spa

Hot Tub CableA new hot tub or spa installed outdoors will require an electrical cable to power it. Typically, UFB 6/3 (plus ground) will be used to run from your electrical box to your hot tub. Hopefully there’s enough power available to supply the new hot tub.

 

Need More Power

You may need to bring more power from the telephone pole to your electrical box in order to have enough power to supply your entire home and the new hot tub, spa, garage or barn. A standard cable that runs from the telephone pole to your home’s electrical box will supply your home with about 200 AMPS. That’s enough to power the outlets, lights and appliances. However, taking on a project as big as a new barn, garage or hot tub, can put you over the 200 AMP limit of your current box. It all depends on the amount of electricity you want flowing to that new project!

3 Reasons to Use THHN Wire

THHN wire is the most popular version of electrical wire in the industry. It’s used to bring power to homes and buildings and to bring power to each light and appliance within the home or building. An electrical cable, as big as your arm, delivers power to the electrical box in your home. From that point, there are multiple electrical cables that deliver power to the lights and appliances.

Indoors

THHN wire can be used indoors whether it’s a single conductor or multiconductor cable. THHN wires are sometimes bundled together so that the electrician can install multiple wires at once rather than installing each wire individually. However, when they’re bundled together there will be a new name to describe the entire cable such as NMB cable or Romex® Cable. Romex® and NMB cables are both the same except that Romex® is a brand name. NMB Cables are installed indoors only!

Outdoors

THHN wires can be used outdoors as well as indoors. Even though NMB cables use THHN wire they cannot be installed outdoors because there’s a bare copper ground wire included that could be compromised. THHN wires can be installed outdoors but only individually.

If you’d like to bundle the wires together into a cable you would need to use a more protective jacket such as UFB Cable. UFB is an underground feeder electrical cable that can run outdoors or directly underground when necessary. NMB cables use a less expensive insulation that doesn’t provide as much protection. Paying a slightly higher price will get you a more protective UFB cable.

Conduit

THHN wires can also be installed in conduit without any additional protection. Conduit is typically installed underground and it’s enough protection to support the life of a THHN wire. Again, if you want to bundle the wires into a single cable then you’ll have to upgrade to UFB cable. Otherwise, you can install each THHN wire individually for the same effect.

Underground Cables

THHN wires CANNOT be installed directly in the ground. They need to be installed in conduit first. If you upgrade to UFB cable it protects the THHN wires enough to be installed in the ground without conduit. Simply dig a small trench, place the cable into it and you’re set to power the connection.

Written by: Chris Bell
www.wesbellwireandcable.com

3 Tips For Buying Electrical Wire

1. Watch the price of copper

Buying Electrical Wire

Everyone that purchases copper electrical wire should watch the price of copper on the NYSE. It goes up and down daily and the price of wire changes weekly based on the current price. Therefore, as a purchasing agent, it’s important to know the highs and lows to stay within your yearly budget. It’s similar to playing the ups and downs of real estate. Watch carefully and you’ll be able to pounce on a good deal when it comes up.

2. Get 3 quotes first

Getting 3 quotes before buying should be standard practice for every company. Do you buy the first car on the first lot that you see or do you want to double check the surrounding lots for a slightly better deal? Buying electrical wire is much different from buying cars because one of the three suppliers you speak to could have bought their copper wire 3 years ago at a low copper price. The supplier next could have just brought in new inventory at the most current price. In that case you will receive a different price from each supplier for the same exact wire.

3. Make sure you’re not over buying for your needs

Always check with an electrician before purchasing electrical wire and installing it yourself. Did your buddy tell you that you need THHN wire or USE-2 wire? Does it need to be rated for outdoors, direct burial or to be used in conduit? Does it need a certain voltage or temperature rating for your application? There are a lot of standard electrical cables used in standard application but there are also a lot of custom cables used for more specific applications. If you buy less than what you need it could hurt your equipment or if you buy more than what you need you’ll over pay for the wire.

First speak to an electrician to find out exactly what you need for your project. Then get a price on that electrical wire from 3 reputable companies and ask about freight charges and taxes. Finally, if you have time, check the history of copper pricing to see if it’s currently up or down. Just remember, waiting around for copper to lower is like waiting around for real estate to lower. It could take a long time but, if you have the time, it’s a good idea to wait it out!

Electrical Wire Doesn’t Stop on Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Some people are trick-or-treating, some people are putting up scary decorations and some people are online buying wire and cable. It may not be as crazy as you think once you read on…


Halloween Extension CordExtension cords
are commonly used to deliver power to Halloween decorations that light up. The prop usually has a short cord on it that plugs into a wall but an extension cord will extend that cord so you can put it outside. Unfortunately, “they” haven’t stated selling wireless Halloween or Holiday decorations yet.

 

 

Halloween Speaker WireA form of speaker wire is connected to the string of lights that get placed around the trim of homes. The copper strands connect to each light so that electricity is delivered to all of them simultaneously once it’s plugged into an outlet. The insulation is slightly thicker than speaker wire for added protection because it’s used outdoors and needs to withstand more impact.

Halloween Wire HarnessWire harnesses are used within larger Halloween decorations similar to the picture to the left of this paragraph. The home owner buying the decoration may not know about the inner workings of the prop but anything that lights up needs electrical wiring of some kind. If you take it apart you’ll see a few lead wires connected to the electronic part of the prop.

 

Please call WesBell at (800) 334-8400 with any questions you have about wire and cable!

Electrical Wire Prices Online From WesBell Electronics

Electrical wire pricesElectrical wire prices are difficult to offer online because the price of copper changes daily and it affects the price of each type of wire. However, we like to offer pricing online so that our customers know exactly what it will cost them when pricing entire installation jobs for their customers.

Electricians, installers and contractors constantly visit the electrical wire prices section of our website. Since we offer exact cut lengths of THHN wire, Romex® and UFB cable it makes it very each to get an entire cost of the job they’re about to commit themselves to. We also offer free shipping on orders over $250 because it can be difficult to determine a freight quote from New Hampshire to California if you’re not in the business.

We constantly ship electrical wire to New York NY and Philadelphia PA for free due to online orders that surpass $250. Simple “Add to Cart” and when the total reaches $250 it will show $0 for shipping charges. If you need expedited shipping for orders over $250 please call to place it so that we can give you a freight quote and exact date of delivery.

Written by: Chris Bell
www.wesbellwireandcable.com

Shipping Hook Up Wire to Wilmington DE

WesBell Electronics is located in Merrimack NH however we have the ability to ship products, not only across the USA, but also across the world. We have customers in Canada, China and Japan that buy from us on a regular basis with shipping rates that aren’t quite as bad as you’d think.

If you’re buying electrical wire in Brandywine DE we can supply that material to you in a few different ways. We can cut and ship it quickly from our NH location which will arrive in 2 business days via UPS or we can have it cut and shipped directly from the largest manufacturer in the United States, South Wire Company in York PA. South Wire manufactures building wire such as THHN, Romex®, MC and UFB cable.

If you’re purchasing hook up wire in Wilmington DE we would still be able to get it to your door in 2 days via UPS. Our hook up wire is stocked in Merrimack in increments of 100’, 250’, 500’, 1000’ and bulk spools. We can sell directly to the end user and we can also supply resellers and distributors with bulk spools at quantity discount pricing.

If you buy wire and cable in high quantities please talk to us about setting up a blanket order so that we have exactly what you need at all times. A “blanket order” is simply an order for a large quantity in which a portion of it ships monthly rather than all at once. The payment is due for each shipment after it ships which means you do not pay for anything until it has shipped out the door.

Written by: Chris Bell
Chris@wesbellinc.com

Shipping Electrical Wire To New York NY

WesBell Electronics is located in Merrimack NH however we have the ability to ship products, not only across the USA, but also across the world. We have customers in Canada, China and Japan that buy from us on a regular basis with shipping rates that aren’t quite as bad as you’d think.

If you’re buying electrical wire in New York NY we can supply that material to you in a few different ways. We can cut and ship it quickly from our NH location which will arrive in 2 business days via UPS or we can have it cut and shipped directly from the largest manufacturer in the United States, South Wire Company in York PA. South Wire manufactures building wire such as THHN, Romex®, MC and UFB cable.

If you’re purchasing hook up wire in Queens NY we would still be able to get it to your door in 2 days via UPS. Our hook up wire is stocked in Merrimack in increments of 100’, 250’, 500’, 1000’ and bulk spools. We can sell directly to the end user and we can also supply resellers and distributors with bulk spools at quantity discount pricing.

If you buy wire and cable in high quantities please talk to us about setting up a blanket order so that we have exactly what you need at all times. A “blanket order” is simply an order for a large quantity in which a portion of it ships monthly rather than all at once. The payment is due for each shipment after it ships which means you do not pay for anything until it has shipped out the door.

Written by: Chris Bell
Chris@wesbellinc.com