When it comes to electrical installations, conduits are often mentioned a few moments later. This is because electrical conduits act as protective channels that house the wires, protecting them and ensuring safety, organization, and longevity. And whether you’re a seasoned electrician or a DIY enthusiast, you will need to understand conduits well. This is because there are several types of electrical conduits, and each is suitable for different applications.
If you want to carry out an electrical project that involves conduits, this guide is for you. We’ll look at seven types to help you choose the right one. At the same time, we’ll shed light on their unique characteristics and applications.
Rigid Metal Conduit (RMC)
Just as its name implies, RMC is engineered to provide durability and protection against physical harm. Constructed from steel, this type of conduit exhibits exceptional resilience in the face of demanding conditions. It can endure physical pressure, moisture, corrosion, and extreme temperatures.
RMC conduits also excel in grounding and electromagnetic shielding capabilities. They are mostly used in commercial and industrial environments, where the conduit must withstand substantial loads, vibrations, or potential impacts.
Intermediate Metal Conduit (IMC)
Intermediate metal conduits share lots of similarities with RMCs. The conduits strike a fine balance between strength and flexibility, which makes them a popular option across diverse electrical projects. IMC conduits are constructed from galvanized steel, and this ensures that things such as corrosion and moisture are not an issue.
Compared to RMCs, IMCs are lightweight in nature, which simplifies handling and installation. They are suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications.
Electrical Metal Tubing (EMT)
EMT is known for its flexibility and cost effectiveness. Made from galvanized steel or aluminium, it aims to offer a good balance between durability and ease of installation. It is very lightweight, which makes it possible to handle, and it can even be bent to shape.
Due to this manoeuvrability and ease of use, EMT conduits are well-suited for projects that require extensive runs of conduit or involve tricky routing through walls, ceilings, or floors. They are mostly used indoors in residential and light commercial wiring, and are also popular for DIY projects.
Electrical Non-Metallic Tubing (ENMT),
This one is also known as plastic conduit. Unlike traditional metal conduits, it is versatile and lightweight. It is usually made of durable PVC or similar materials, and is excellent at avoiding electrical interference or grounding. And since plastic is an insulator, it is the type of conduit most suitable for sensitive electronic systems.
ENMT is resistant to corrosion, moisture, and most chemicals, but it has lower resistance to pressure when compared to metal conduits. It is mostly used within walls in residential buildings.
Flexible Metallic Conduit (FMC)
FMC is designed with a flexible metal construction. Its biggest advantage is that it combines the durability and protection of traditional metal conduits with the added advantage of ease of installation in complex wiring scenarios. Although it’s made of metal, it can navigate around obstacles, corners, and bends with ease. However, it’s only supposed to be used in dry areas.
Liquid-Tight Flexible Metal Conduit (LFMC)
LFMC combines the flexibility of FMC with enhanced protection against liquids and moisture. It is usually made of steel or aluminium, and then coated with a liquid-tight outer layer. This makes it possible to handle demanding environments, and it can also be safely used in places with water, oils, and other liquids.
Rigid Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)
PVC conduits are widely used as they are versatile and quite affordable at the same time. The conduits are made from rigid PVC, so they are strong. However, they still maintain a good level of flexibility, and you can expose them to heat and then bent them.
Thanks to the material they are made of, PVC conduits can withstand exposure to sunlight, moisture, as well as other environmental conditions. They also do not rust or corrode, which gives them an edge over metal conduits. However, be keen not to expose them to more flexibility or pressure than they can bear.