What Are the Different Metal Conduits?
Electrical conduit is a practical option to protect wiring from damage related to UV rays, abrasion and drywall screws. Plus, there are plenty of practical reasons to protect the wires and cables in and around the home. For instance, it makes future wiring changes safe and simpler, can be sealed to give protection against explosion and fire hazards, and easier to work in the less inaccessible areas of the home.
Most of the metal conduit is manufactured in galvanized steel. But, there are also a few options available in aluminum. The types mostly used in residential applications include intermediate metal conduit (IMC), flexible metal conduit (FMC), electrical metallic tubing (EMT), and rigid metal conduit (RMC).
The rigid metal conduit is the heaviest, stiffest and thickest option and relies on purpose-made tools to thread and bend the conduit. It is widely used at the electric-meter base to attach to the service-entrance mast. For most other areas of the home it is possible to use the less hard-wearing plastic or metal conduit. This conduit is mostly made of galvanized steel.
The flexible metal conduit is made from aluminum and has a shape much like a long spiral. This type of conduit is only suited to use inside and not a practical choice for wet locations. It is often used on new cook tops and ovens. The conduit is flexible and used to protect the power source of the appliance. Also, it comes in a choice of two standard sizes of 1⁄2-inch diameter and 3⁄4-inch diameter. This conduit is quite easy to work with and is easily cut with a basic hacksaw.
The electrical metallic tubing is naturally quite thin and mostly available in galvanized steel. This is a low-cost option and is easy to install with plenty of cuts and bends without needing to rely on special tools. It is really useful to protect the wiring from physical damage inside or outside the home. Any installations that take place outside the home should be completed with fasteners, supports and fittings made of a corrosion-resistant material. A common use is with the meter base and protecting the ground wire. Also, it is worth using to protect exposed wires on the garage or basement walls.
The intermediate metal conduit is a further low-cost option and rated as a mid-range product. It is lighter and thinner than rigid metal, but a lot more durable and rigid compared to the electrical metallic tubing.