You walk inside the electrical department and you’re confused, baffled even. You were fixed on buying routers & switches, but as soon as you’ve seen how many kinds there were, you’re stumped. In most cases, you’ll probably have no idea how one type could differ from the other. You would not even know what‘s the difference between a wire that has 20 amp and one that has 200. Not only that. Wiring can also be indoor or outdoor. There’s also one used underground. Knowing what wire is right for you means learning the different kinds and types.
- Aluminum and Copper Wires
Aluminum wiring is pretty popular in the past. However, many homes today are using copper wires due to its non-heating capability. Aluminum wires often gets too heat up when it becomes overloaded. This in turn causes the wire to become loose in its connections which could eventually set off fire. If you are still using aluminum wires at home, it is recommended that you upgrade it to copper wiring to avoid possible accidents.
You must be aware that wires have different colors. The reason for this is for the buyer to identify the type of wire intended to be used. Green wires are used for grounding purposes. If you are dealing with NM wires, you’ll find that its normal color would be black and white if it’s a two conductor wiring or black, white and red if it’s three. Typically, black and red are used as hot wires for traveling conductors, and the third wire is used as a switch leg in the circuit. Just looking at the wires can be confusing so it is suggested that you wrap the end of the wires with tape for identification purposes.
In wiring your home, you’ll only need about a couple of wire types to choose from. Residential branch wiring uses an electrical conductor that has a non-metallic sheathing. This is probably the most common you’ll see at home. These have NM and NMC cables that must be secured and protected by clamps. Otherwise, you’ll eventually find it damaged by nails and staples. This type of wire is intended for permanent wiring of homes only and not as extension cords. You’ll most likely use it for outlet circuits and lighting.
To help you learn and understand what wire you’ll be needing for a particular purpose, many manufacturers have started to label the outer portions of the wire. It is labeled with the corresponding type and gauge, depending on the intended usage. The insulation that covers the wire is your guide as to the type, kind and size. This way you will not get confused when buying wiring for your home.
An electrical wire has many types and kinds. It differs in amp limit, maximum wattage, load limit and proper gauge, among others. One type can be used for a particular purpose and you cannot replace it for another. Knowing what kind or type you’ll need is important to ensure the safety of your home and your family.