Have you ever imagined what modern life would look like without electricity? Electric power plays a crucial role in today’s society. Cables and wires form a significant portion of the electrical supply in our homes and offices. In other words, there would be no electrical supplies without wires and cables.
Despite the essential role they play in safe and reliable electrical supply, there’s a lot of uncertainty and misconception surrounding them. Consequently, many users of electricity fall victim to hazards both at home and in the office. Even the primary differences between cables and wires are lost to many people.
In 2019, 166 electrical fatalities occurred at the workplace, a significant increase of 3.75 percent from the previous year’s figure. Whether you work with electricity or not, it’s impossible to overlook the need for electricity awareness. Hence, here are five essential facts you need to know about wires and cables going forward.
1. Current capacity in cables and wires changes depending on different factors
One of the most frequent mistakes most people make is the assumption that the current capacity of their wires and cables is constant. Incidentally, they expect the same results from their electrical cables through their lifespan, which may lead to overloading. However, the truth remains that the current cable capacity isn’t constant.
It changes over the cable’s lifespan depending on air or ground temperature, depth of laying, etc. That’s why it’s generally advisable to use a two 120-volt circuit wire like the 14/3 wire that allows you to have two different conductors sharing one neutral.
2. Copper doesn’t always conduct electricity better than aluminum.
It’s a common misconception among laypeople that copper is better suited for conducting electricity than aluminum. As you might have guessed, this isn’t always accurate. When you want to consider the best conductor to use, it’s necessary to look at several factors.
The first and foremost factor is that wire conductivity doesn’t only depend on resistance but also a combination of size and insulation material. Therefore, when you have to carry extremely high electricity across long distances, the most economical option is aluminum, not copper. If not for any other technical reason, aluminum is more cost-effective.
3. Cables And Wires may not last as long as you would expect.
Several factors come to bear on the lifespan of newly installed power cables, shortening their durability. First among them is that many manufacturers exist in the electrical supplies market. Therefore, you can’t expect all the wires and cables you buy from different brands to last for the same period.
Secondly, there is more than one type of wire and cable. You can know the differences based on properties like durability, capacity, and industry-specific characteristics. Finally, the lifespan of a wire depends mainly on the quality of its installation. Thus, the better the installation, the longer you can expect it to last.
4. Wires and cables may not be protected from moisture by their armor.
In case you didn’t know, cable armors may not be as protective as many believe. There’s more to it because some people think these coats mean that you can use the cables in moist environments. Sorry, but it is wrong. The armor doesn’t protect the cable in water. Hence, you shouldn’t expose your cables and wires to moisture, believing that they’ll be safe.
Instead, the exposure to water could destroy the armor and expose the cables in the long run. Furthermore, you should always consider safety when installing wires and cables. A faulty installation usually leads to accidents.
5. Cables armor does protect them from forceful impacts.
Some cables have armor, but the armor may not serve the purpose that you think. For starters, it wasn’t made to help keep your cables from the damages caused by physical impact. On the other hand, should your cable come under any forceful stress, the armor could worsen the damage.
The logic behind this is simple. Most cable armors are made from steel wires or steel tapes. Steel only serves to boost the tensile strength of the cables instead of protecting it in case it comes under any physical stress.
Although everyone uses the terms cable and wire interchangeably, they aren’t the same and denote two different items. Thus, to help recall the essential things you need to keep in mind about these two, here’s a summary of the five points above:
- Current capacity in cables and wires changes depending on different factors
- Copper doesn’t always conduct electricity better than aluminum
- Power cables may not last as long as you would expect
- Wires and cables may not be protected from moisture by their armor
- Cables armor does protest them from forceful impacts
So, next time you’re out shopping for electric supplies for some connections at home, try and remember these five facts. They will help inform your choice and ensure you get the safest and most reliable market products. And don’t forget that whether you’re working in an outdoor space or indoor space, choosing and installing a suitable wire will guarantee a smooth supply of electricity.