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Types of Electrical Conduit Pipes

Types of Electrical Conduit Pipes

What are the different types of electrical conduit pipes?

  1. Electrical Metallic Tubing
  2. Rigid Metal Conduit
  3. Electrical Nonmetallic Tubing
  4. Flexible Metal Conduit
  5. Rigid PVC Conduit


Different types of electrical conduit pipes are immensely useful in many types of industries. Virtually almost all buildings that make use of electrical power need to have a dedicated system of electrical wiring in order for the most efficient use of electricity as well as for various other safety reasons.

There are many dangers in not properly installing conducted on a particular building’s wiring system. Apart from minor defects such as broken wiring and power outages, major safety hazards like fires can also occur. With the use of electrical conduit pipes, most of these safety hazards are altogether avoided. 

When it comes to using electrical conduit pipes, one should ensure that the right kind of material is used. For example, there are electrical conduits that are specifically designed for areas prone to water exposure or other kinds of hazards. It would be in your best interest to continue reading about the types of electrical conduit pipes to know their various functions.


Electrical Metallic Tubing

electrical conduit

Electrical metallic tubing, or EMT, is the most commonly used installation in commercial and industrial facilities. Though you may sometimes find this kind of conduit installation in residential spaces, it is not as common as the two locations previously mentioned. EMT is mostly used in residential spaces only when further protection is required. Though we are dealing with electrical conduits, an EMT system is more typically described as tubing or a raceway system which entails the physical organization of electrical wiring.

EMT is most commonly manufactured using galvanized steel, but the material can also be aluminum, which offers a more lightweight feel. This kind of tubing system is also known as a “thin-wall” conduit because of the thickness of the material as well as its low weight. 

The installation of EMT  utilizes set screws and compression-type fasteners. These conduit pipes may come in various sizes and thicknesses, such as 1 inch, ¾ inch, or ½ inch, depending on the preference and usage. Because of the material, these pipes are more commonly used indoors for exposed wiring. Outdoor usage requires other fittings and attachments to make them more suitable for such an environment.


Rigid Metal Conduit

Compared to electrical metallic tubing, a rigid metal conduit is typically heavier. Also, unlike the EMT, the RMC has thicker walls. For this reason, it comes in thicker measurements and dimensions as well. 

As with many electrical conduit pipes, RMC is used to provide physical protection for cables and conductors. This conduit piping system is most commonly suitable for outdoors in order to provide further protection to wiring systems, as well as, offer structural protection for panels, and other types of equipment.

Perhaps another distinct feature of the RMC is that it is a listed threaded metal tubing that contains a circular cross-section with a coupling. (Coupling simply refers to a short-length tube which contains sockets at both ends for the purpose of joining other pipes together). In the absence of couples, the threads on each end are protected by color-coded protectors which keeps the threads clean.

RMC can undergo a process of galvanization in order for it to become more susceptible to corrosion and fire-resistant, making them ideal for both indoor and outdoor usage.


Electrical Nonmetallic Tubing

electrical nonmetallic tubing

The major difference between electrical nonmetallic tubing and EMT is that the former cannot be used for outdoor exposure and that it is not manufactured with metal. ENTs are typically produced using corrugated plastic materials which make for flexible tubing. Because of the plastic material, ENTs are resistant to moisture and can further increase the quality of flame retardant in electrical piping systems.

ENT is usually used indoors, inside concrete wall surfaces, and wood and metal-frame walls.


Flexible Metal Conduit

flexible metal conduit

The easily-bendable and moveable spiral structure of a flexible metal conduit enables it to freely twist through walls and other kinds of structures. This kind of material and structuring allows flexible metal conduit systems to safely be installed in combination with other wiring systems.

FMCs are most appropriate for dry indoor locations and for short-length wiring that runs between a wall box and a fixed appliance like a washing machine, for example. Another variety of the FMC, the liquid-tight flexible metal conduit, is coated with a durable plastic layer and attached with sealed fittings to prevent instances of leaks and liquid spillages. It is, for this reason, this kind of tubing is perfect for use with air conditioner units.


Rigid PVC Conduit

A rigid PVC conduit is most typically used in industrial, commercial, and utility functions. The durable material of the PVC allows this tubing to be installed in exposed as well as underground locations where it can withstand significant levels of impact. Similar to galvanized electrical conduits, this kind of tubing is corrosion-resistant. 

The PVC material of the conduit also provides additional resistance to fire as well as many types of magnetic attractions which can potentially disrupt the entire wiring system. The high tensile strength of the material allows it greater room for flexibility — meaning it can be bent with the application of a substantial amount of heat.


Key Takeaway

When it comes to choosing among the different types of electrical conduit pipes, there are many factors you have to consider. Apart from the material used in manufacturing the tubing or the piping material, you would also have to be equipped with knowledge on the places where they will be most suitable for usage. For example, there are wiring systems that need only short-length tubing, while there are other systems which require the opposite.

One cannot deny the importance of electrical conduit pipes in maintaining the function and organization of residential, commercial, or industrial wiring installations. The guide above has hopefully helped provide you with adequate information on just some of the electrical conduit pipes available on the market.

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