Wiring methods

Materials for wiring interior electrical systems in buildings vary depending on:

  • Intended use and amount of power demand on the circuit
  • Type of occupancy and size of the building
  • National and local regulations
  • Environment in which the wiring must operate.

Wiring systems in a single family home or duplex, for example, are simple, with relatively low power requirements, infrequent changes to the building structure and layout, usually with dry, moderate temperature, and non-corrosive environmental conditions. In a light commercial environment, more frequent wiring changes can be expected, large apparatus may be installed, and special conditions of heat or moisture may apply. Heavy industries have more demanding wiring requirements, such as very large currents and higher voltages, frequent changes of equipment layout, corrosive, or wet or explosive atmospheres.

Wires and cables are rated by the circuit voltage, temperature rating, and environmental conditions (moisture, sunlight, oil, chemicals) in which they can be used. A wire or cable has a voltage (to neutral) rating, and a maximum conductor surface temperature rating. The amount of current a cable or wire can safely carry depends on the installation conditions.

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