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Posts tagged: Romex Wire

Three Types of Electrical Wire: THHN, UFB, and Romex Wire Revealed

There are many types of electrical wire available for consumers, however, it’s easy to get confused by the different types. The most common types of electrical wire are THHN, Romex, and UFB wire. However, in order to understand which electrical wire will do the best job for a specific project, it’s best to know the capabilities of each kind of wire.

  • THHN Wire

THHN wire is covered with a PVC jacket and nylon coating. This wire is a bare one conductor copper wire and is often used indoors or in conduit. The most popular sizes for THHN wire are 12 and 4/0, though other sizes are available for nonstandard projects. The PVC jacket is one of the cheapest forms of insulation for this type of wire and the nylon coating provides waterproofing and slight lubrication for placing in a conduit. Because of the ‘bare essential’ nature of this wire however, it isn’t recommended for outside use.

  • Romex Wire

Romex wire is made out of two or three THHN wires combined with a grounding bare copper wire. Like the THHN wires, Romex wire can’t be used outside because of its minimal PVC jacket protection. However, these wires come in larger sizes than the thinner THHN wires; 14/2 and 6/3 are used widely as electrical wire, despite the fact that it can’t be used in conduit at all. The primary use for this type of wire is to run more than one conductor at a time through a separate grounding wire.

  • UFB Wire

UFB wire is one of the most popular and versatile brands of wire available, though it’s also the most expensive. It can be used in conduit, outdoors, underground, you name it. Because it deals with tougher terrains than THHN or Romex, UFB wire comes in larger sizes, most commonly 6/3 and 8/3 and is often called ‘underground cable’.

The more jobs that an electrical wire does, the more expensive it is. It’s important to know what the different electrical wires do before committing. Frequently, that added expense can save a lot of costly replacements and time-consuming repairs.

 

Romex 14 2 Cable – Your Home Wiring Needs

Romex® (rome-eks) has become the standard brand name in sheathed, insulated wires. Electrical systems in homes and businesses are mostly wired using Romex®. It is made up of two or more insulated wires with a flexible plastic sheath. Romex® cable can be run through walls, attics, under floors and others.

Romex® wire comes in many different sizes. Romex® 14/2 Cable is used as branch circuits for switches, outlets and other loads in residential wiring. It can also be used in concealed or exposed work in normal dry locations. You may run it in air voids of masonry block or in tile walls but should not be subjected to too much moisture. This cable is not for direct burial on the ground.

Romex® cable is easier to run through holes in studs due to its flexible sheath compared to metallic sheath and it is also cheaper. That is why it is labeled NMC which means non-metallic cable. NM is the sheathing used to distinguish it from metallic (BX or AC) sheathed cable. A rating of 14/2 pertains to the wire gauge and how many wires are inside the cable. 14 is the wire gauge and 2 means there are 2 wires in the cable. The lower the gauge is, the larger is the wire.

Romex® 14/2 Cable comes in white color jacket only because it falls under the #14 wire range. Other gauge sizes come in different jacket colors. This type of Romex® cable is an indoor residential electrical wire with solid bare copper strands. It weighs 57 lbs per 1000 feet and has 15 amps. It can resists temperatures up to 90°C and a maximum of 600 volts.

If you are thinking of using Romex® wires for your household wiring system, you need to make sure that you know the correct size to be used. The length and amount of amps you want are important to know the correct awg size. When you talk to your electrician or contractor, this information is needed so they can give you accurate information of what type of cable you should use. Take note that this cable is for indoor use only. If you need to run a cable outdoors, then you need a different type of cable built for outdoor use.

For a cable that pulls faster and strips easier, Romex® 14/2 Cable has these qualities. It is also tear resistant and has reduced burn-thru. It comes in 2 and 3 conductors and has awg sizes of 14, 12 and 10. Wesbell Electronics offer larger Romex cables by the foot in awg of 8, 6, 4 and 2. Since you need specific lengths and does not want to put your excess to waste, Wesbell Electronics allows purchasing of larger Romex® wires and UFB cables in any length that you desire.

For any specific requirements that you need for your cables and wires, please call Wesbell Electronics customer service and they will be glad to answer your inquiries and assist you in your wiring needs.

WesBell Electronics Inc
(800) 334-8400

Copper Electrical Cable Differences

Copper electrical cable is very expensive, but the real differences in price actually comes down to the insulation type more than the copper. Copper is the conductor of electricity in all copper electrical cables and the price of copper changes everyday. However, Romex 6/3® has the same amount of copper as UFB 6/3, so why is the price different?

A 6 awg wire is a 6 awg wire whether it’s in a Romex NMB® jacket or a tough underground PVC jacket. That means each 6 awg wire would be the same price if they were both stripped of all insulation. A UFB underground insulation was manufactured to be used without conduit. So the jacket needed extra protection in order to last as long as an electrical cable in conduit.

In order of the amount of protection Romex® comes first, MC cable second and UFB cable third for electrical cables. Even though each of these cables have different levels of protection they all still have THHN THWN as the wire conductor insulation, so what changes the fact that some have more restrictions?

Romex® cable has a bare copper uninsulated ground wire, but lacks a strong enough jacket to protect it outdoors or in conduit. Moisture, gas, solvents and other fluids can puncture the jacket and hit the bare ground wire leaving it only available for wiring indoors.

MC cable is manufactured with all THHN wires and a THHN insulated green ground wire. That allows MC electrical cables to be used outdoors and in conduit because it resists all water, moisture oils and gases without an uninsulated ground wire in the way.

UFB cable is manufactured as an underground electrical cable which is also known as direct burial in the wire and cable industry. It still has an uninsulateed ground wire but the PVC jacket is engineered tough enough to protect all of the wires even when used directly underground.

In order to find the cheapest cable possible you’ll want to first speak to an electrician to let you know the awg size of the cable you need. This will prevent you from getting a size too big and paying more money than you need to. The second thing you want to do is make sure you’re not getting too much insulation that you may not need. Getting UFB cable when you’re using conduit anyways is a waste of money. You should get MC cable which is cheaper and manufactured for use in conduit.

We offer exact cut lengths on all of our electrical cables and THHN wire because in the contractors, engineers and installers like to have the exact length they need to avoid waste of small lengths at the end of each spool. We also offer free shipping on orders over $250 so that you don’t have to negociate deals with trucking companies to get spool of wire or cable.

Please call us if you need any type of wire, cable or heat shrink tubing as we’ve been a stocking distributor for over 25 years.

WesBell Electronics Inc
(800) 334-8400

Why Romex© Can’t be Used Outdoors

Romex© is a type or electrical wire used indoors only for a few reasons. We get this question a lot since it has THHN THWN wires inside it that are allowed to be used outdoors.

Yes, THHN THWN wire can be used outdoors but not directly underground. Romex©, however has a bare copper ground wire inside the cable that is NOT fully protected by the PVC jacket covering all of the conductors. So when Romex© wire is used outdoors and gets wet with water, gas, oil or any type of solvent it could penetrate the jacket and ruin the connection by getting in contact with the bare copper ground wire.

What should you use instead?

MC cable can be used indoors and outdoors because the ground wire is an insulated THHN THWN wire as well. The common use for MC cable is indoors because it can be used without conduit for a much easier installation. However, even if the metal clad jacket doesn’t fully protect the THHN THWN wires they already have the approvals alone to withstand outdoor environments. Copper and Aluminum MC cable can also be used in conduit.

Why not just run THHN THWN wires individually?

You can. Depending on the current copper prices we’ll sometimes push our customers in that direction because the cost of all 4 electrical wires are cheaper than the cable. However, sometimes the cable is cheaper as well. There’s also the added labor involved in pushing each individual wire through conduit or tying all four together to push them through as a group.

We have a highly trained staff here at WesBell Electronics and are here to help you. We’ll give you the cheaper option before you ask and help you find the correct cable by the installation it’s going in. If you have questions please ask and we’ll gladly help you through the process and explain what we’re saying to help you understand.

Toll Free – (800) 334-8400

Information and Facts on Power Cable

Power cable comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, and can look complicated to the layman. These cables can be single-conductor, multi-conductor, as well as industrial strength or for personal use. Each type of power cable has its own advantages, which make them suitable for certain types of applications.

A power cable is categorized in three classes, 1) high voltage (for applications requiring load greater than 40,000V), 2) medium voltage (for applications requiring load between 6000V and 36,000V) and 3) low voltage (for applications requiring load below 1000V). These cables are used for feeders and other heavy machinery, along with branch circuits in electrical utility, commercial and industrial applications.

Single-conductor power cable is used in various applications such as stage lighting, locomotives, DLO and for welding purposes. Each single-conductor cable, depending upon its use, has a different rating for amps, voltage, flexibility and insulation, each having a different price-level.  

There are many multi-conductor cables; extensions cords, Type G-GC, Type W, SOOW and portable cords, each encased a rubber jacket for insulation. These cables are safe and flexible and when additional flexibility is required, there is a multi-conductor cable available for this need. The SOOW multi-conductor cable is similar to the extension cord (before the plugs are attached) and is generally used to supply power generators and tools in industries.

The least-expensive power cable of this group is the welding cable. Welding cable has a rubber jacket and flexible copper fibers and is rated to 600V. DLO cable also has the rubber jacket, is rated to 2000V and has tinned copper fibers. The DLO can carry more power and therefore has a higher corresponding price.

Remember, when installing power cable, it is recommended that you consult with your electrician. And when it is time to purchase your cable, some helpful hints include knowing the operating temperature, amperage, voltage, outer diameter (cable diameter + insulation jacket). Please call WesBell at 800-334-8400 for all your cable needs.

Installing THHN cable in cold weather

When the weather is cold, you can have problems not just with your heating bills and skin, but also with your cables. For example, the THHN cable is easily vulnerable to deterioration due to cold weather.

THHN cable is Thermoplastic, High-Heat Resistance, Nylon-Coated, therefore the name- THHN. Though it is versatile cable and does not fall under any specific application category, it is mostly used under Hook-up wire class.

Strengths

THHN cable comes in a variety of strengths. And since it is made from thermoplastic material, it is easy to heat and cool this wire many times to change its shape. But there is a limit to the number of times this wire can stand heating and cooling. It has its lower and higher temperature limits and if the temperature changes cross this range, this wire can become unstable. Temperature range depends upon manufacturers.

When the THHN cable comes with ‘High Heat’ rating, it means that this wire can be used in high temperature scenarios. These wires come with various specifications, which determine the specific applications where these can be used. For example, “Nylon coated” means that a certain thermoplastic material is used in this wire.

Coming to installation of the THHN cable in the cold weather, there are some simple guidelines that you should follow. Keep this cable indoors, and not in the outdoor harsh environment. Generally, a temperature of 65°F works well.

If keeping the cable indoors is not possible, bring it inside for at least 24 hours, before you install it.

If the outside temperature is below 14°F, then do not install the THHN cable.

While installing the cable, take care that it is not dropped on the floor, as these impacts can cause cracks in the stiff cable material.

Make sure you do not bend the cable too much, because it can cause the cold and stiff cable to break.

            Once you have installed it, this cable will work properly in environments with temperature higher than 14°F.

            All you need to Know about High Voltage Cable

            If you want to transfer large amount of electricity, then high voltage cables are your safest bet. There are various forms of these cables, and all are used for different purposes depending upon voltage of electricity and the machines for which these are used. Three types of cables are: high, medium, and low voltage cables. Out of these, high voltage cables are used when the voltage is above 1000 V. These cables are heavily insulated to prevent any risks or hazards.

            • AC power cables

            These cables are used to transfer up to 2000 V of electricity. The composition of these cables includes cross section of cable, polyethylene insulation, and conductive material like aluminum or copper. These cables are highly flexible and work well both in low as well as high temperatures. The cable layers are fused together to avoid air seeping in, as this can cause electrical discharge, thereby damaging the insulation.

            • HVDC cables

            These are specialized cables that are designed for high voltage direct currents, and thus are called HVDC cables. If you have seen a power line, then it would be easy to understand, as a power line is also an HVDC cable. These cables are helpful in carrying large loads of electricity over longer distances. After reaching the transformer, their electricity is converted to AC form. Thereon it runs with lower voltage, and is transferred to businesses and homes.

            • X-ray cables

            These cables are used to link other high voltage cables with X ray machines. These are also used to connect high voltage cables to other scientific equipment that require higher loads of electricity. These are highly flexible cables. They have a braided cover of copper wires, and are insulated with rubber. These are fused to high voltage cable to provide safety, and to reduce the hazards of electric shocks.

            All these cables are not for home use. These are used to connect high power sources to other devices or cables. If you want to buy these cables, make sure you go for the best quality, as bad cables can lead to dangerous situations.

            Using PTFE wire for High Temperatures

            Wire insulated with PTFE, or PTFE wire, is very useful. If you have been using PVC hook up wire to fight insulation melt downs, then you will be pleased to use PTFE. It cannot even get affected by a soldering iron. It has been used since the 1960’s due to its excellent performance in high temperature scenarios. Some companies also use it in classification of surface electronics.

            PTFE wire has got copper strands, plated with sliver. The silver plating, along with PTFE insulation helps the wire to sustain extremely high temperatures. It is much better than basic hook up wire that suffers from melt downs in high temperatures. And due to its great heat withstanding ability, PTFE wire comes expensive. But in case your needs are about wiring places with extremely high temperatures, it will be a good investment in the long run.

            This wire is made by following many methods. Two of the more common methods are wrapping and extrusion. Extrusion is the most common one and is done usually in the standard sizes of 24 AWG and 22 AWG. There are also some smaller sizes, where space is an important factor. The covering comes in fused and wrapped types. PTFE is also used as the outer jacket of co-axial cables.

            PTFE wires also have great resistance to moisture, flame, damage from soldering iron, and thermal aging. Apart from that, the PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene) coating is able to resist many harsh chemicals, ozone, greases, and solvents.

            You can install these wires at many places, as they are very easy to fix. It also has low degree of power loss, and thus is great for high frequency usage. Because these wires are small and slippery, they can be used almost anywhere.

            PTFE or Extruded PTFE hook up wire has 3 types: Type E (most commonly used, and rated for 600 V), Type EE (having thicker PTFE jacket, and rated for 1000 V), and Type ET (having thin cover, and rated for 250 V). All 3 of them can be used for temperatures up to 200o C

            Basics of Bare Copper Wire

            We all know that of all the metals used all around the planet, copper is the number one metal in terms of its usage. This is because it is the most versatile metal, and it touches the lives of people in one way or the other. It has a significant role to play in electrical engineering branch in various ways. It has great conductivity power, and thus is used a lot in making electrical wire. Although there are many other available metals as well, but none can beat the versatility of copper.

            Copper wire is available in both forms- with and without insulation. It depends upon the engineers- whether they want insulation or not. Depending upon where they are using the wire, they decide if it should have insulation or not. Both insulated and bare copper wires are used in different applications. They have their use in different engineering segments.

            The bare copper wire is also called ground wire, since it has no protection or insulation. This wire is generally used as the platform for various wires and cables.

            This wire can come either in solid form, or in small AWG sizes, wrapped to make some specific gauge. Experts say that using small AWG sized wire allows more flexibility to the wire, and it bends easily around the corners. Although flexibility is a good thing, but not in all cases, so a solid form bare copper wire is preferred in many scenarios. For example, electrical contractors require stiff wires, so that the wire could be sent through a conduit for longer distances.

            Green THHN wire is called ground wire, particularly when that wire has to be used outdoors. It is used for grounding purposes to safeguard people against hazards.

            So this is where bare copper wire is used. But before you purchase this wire, you must make sure that the company you are buying it from is a good and trusted one. One simple solution is to look for this wire online. You can find many trusted online companies that can provide you the kind of bare copper wire you want.

            Types of Insulation- Hook Up Wire

            If you are using PVC hook up wire for electrical purposes, you should know about the insulation that you can use with this wire.

            UL 1007

            This wire is a form of hook up wire, which is particularly used for 300 V PVC cable that runs at about 0.016 inches of thickness of the insulation material. The popularity of the term UL grew a lot because the UL confirms that a wire can withstand the voltage and temperature that it claims to handle. Therefore, UL 1007 cable is endorsed by UL to work at 300 V, as it is mentioned on its specification sheet.

            UL 1061

            UL 1061 is another PVC hook up wire that is quite similar to UL 1007. It has 0.009 inches of thickness of insulation material. Like UL 1007, it also supports 300 V. It is generally used with the appliances that need an outlet with smaller diameter.

            UL 1015

            Yet another PVC hook up wire, the UL 1015 supports 600 V, as opposed to 300 V supported by UL 1007 and UL 1061. Since it supports higher voltage, it needs thicker insulation. The thickness of insulation material for this cable is 0.032 inches. The range of this wire is from 10 awg to 24 awg- but before the UL type could change.

            PTFE

            PTFE is another type of hook up wire. It supports insulation at high temperatures going up to 200 degree Celsius. Other PVC insulations work up to temperatures of 105 degree Celsius. Apart from the temperature difference, PTFE has copper plated with silver, and not tinned copper. This feature also helps it to sustain high temperatures.

            These wires were some of the hook up wires that you could use while working on an electric application. Some of these cables cannot stand too much wear and tear, and so they are more suited for indoor works, while some cables are rough and tough, and so can be used outdoors as well as underground. Before you buy any type of wire, you must consult your electrician and take his opinion.