Ground wires are a vital component of your circuit. They respond to surges, preventing the excess current from harming you and your equipment. But can you run these conductors through a metal conduit? What happens if you use the ground wire without a pipe? This guide will answer all those questions and more.
Is A Ground Wire Required In Metal Conduit?
The ground wire is unnecessary when you already have electrical metal tubing. But if things go wrong because the conduit was installed poorly, the ground wire will provide a path for the current to flow to the earth. It won’t hurt to add this redundancy.
Conduits have their advantages and disadvantages. If you want to know why some people run ground wires through a metal conduit, these are the reasons they give:
First of all, people use conduits to keep their cables organized. If you pulled the hot and neutral wires through a metal conduit, you should do the same for the ground. It wouldn’t make sense to expose this cable when all the other cables are hidden within a tube.
2). The Law
The NEC does not prohibit contractors from running ground wires through a metal conduit. Therefore, if you want to protect the ground wire with a metal conduit, you can do so without incurring penalties.
Admittedly, the NEC doesn’t necessarily encourage the use of conduits where ground wires are concerned unless the cables in question are vulnerable to corrosive elements in the environment. But the fact that they don’t prohibit the practice means that you have the freedom to do as you see fit.
Conduits will extend the life of your ground wire by defending the conductors from corrosive elements. Ground wires are typically bare. But you can buy the insulated variety. However, you cannot trust that insulation to safeguard the conductors in every environment, especially if the wire is not rated for outdoor use.
A conduit will provide an additional layer of protection. This allows the ground wire to last longer.
You can use conduits to enhance the appearance of the cable. If you have a bare ground wire and you hate the way it affects your home’s décor, you can pull the ground through a metal conduit.
The metal conduit is easier to customize than the ground’s sheath. If you don’t want to paint the pipe, you have the option of hiding it in the wall and underground.
A conduit will save you money in the long run. A bare exposed ground wire will deteriorate at a faster rate, forcing you to repair or replace it more frequently than you would like.
As you can see, conduits make sense. They are not a necessity. You don’t have to hide a ground wire inside a tube. But the pipes are beneficial. People only avoid them because of the inconvenience.
The hefty price tags are associated with steel conduits. Additionally, the amount of time it takes to run a cable through a conduit. It is a complex undertaking for inexperienced homeowners. The wires can overheat because conduits trap heat.
However, even with these inconveniences, you are still better off running delicate cables in unsafe environments through a metal conduit.
This assumes that you want to run the ground through a metal conduit. If you’re more interested in finding out whether or not a metal conduit requires a grounding wire, the answer is yes.
Note: Don’t expect the NEC’s regulations to apply to your area. The local code supersedes the NEC.
How To Attach Ground Wire To EMT Conduit?
- You can ground a metallic conduit by bonding it to a grounding conductor. You can also connect the pipe to a grounded metal enclosure or cable tray.
- You can use integral threaded bushings to connect the conduit to the grounded enclosure and marked grounding bushings to bond the tubing to a grounding conductor.
Is EMT A Good Ground?
EMT is an acceptable grounding conductor. A metal conduit that terminates at an electrical box or fixed equipment will provide a path for the excess current to flow. Metal conduits are most effective when you pair them with metal boxes.
You have to connect every section of the conduit. Otherwise, you will create interruptions.
You can also forego a ground wire if they have a reliable electrical conduit. But you have to inspect your contractor’s work to ensure that all the bushings, clips, and screws are attached.
You can introduce bonding devices where necessary. But if you have concerns about the efficacy of the metal conduit as a grounding agent, install a ground wire.
What About Ground Wire In PVC Conduit?
You can run a grounded wire through a PVC conduit. They are not conductive. This separates them from EMTs. You have to ground metal conduits because they can conduct a current. Therefore, you have to treat them like any other metallic component on the circuit. If a hot wire comes into contact with the EMT, the conduit will shock you. This is not a problem for PVC because the pipes are insulators.
For that reason, you have to use the conduits for grounding. Unlike EMTs, they cannot replace a conventional grounding conductor. You can use PVC tubes to make live conductors less dangerous.
Although, they can’t serve that purpose where grounding wires are concerned because the cables rarely carry a current. Grounding wires are only dangerous when a surge occurs. On most days, they are perfectly safe.
It is worth noting that some people apply grounding to PVC pipes. No, the pipes are not conductive. However, if you pair them with dust collection systems, they can generate an electrostatic charge.
This compels some contractors to ground the pipes, a process that involves the following:
- Buy some copper wire.
- Pull the copper wire through the PVC pipe.
- Connect the wire to the grounding system. In many cases, it is enough to bind the wire to any surface with a connection to your home’s grounding system.
- You can enhance the potency of the grounding by winding the wire around the pipe.
The process is not particularly complex. If you don’t have any experience with conduits and the wire has refused to pass through the PVC pipe, I recommend using fish tape.
You have to start by pushing the tape through the conduit. Once the tape emerges from the pipe, tie the lower end to the wire and pull it through.
You can achieve similar results with a string or a conduit mouse. The challenges you encounter will depend on the size of the wire and the dimensions of the pipe.
Naturally, smaller pipes are more problematic. If cables already occupy the conduit, forcing the copper wire through the tube could take hours.
The inconvenience encourages some homeowners to avoid conduits altogether. But others don’t have a choice in the matter. They have to install their ground wires in settings whose conditions will destroy them. Conduits are the only answer.
You can make things easier by following KrisTech’s advice and buying insulated wires. Some people think that bare grounded wires are dangerous, but that is false.
You are free to use either bare or insulated conductors in a metal or PVC conduit. But insulated wires are more slippery than their naked counterparts. You can pull them through the conduit with greater ease.
What If I Use Ground Wire Outside of Conduit?
You don’t have to run electrical wires through conduits. These devices serve a specific purpose. Contractors use them to protect wires in unconducive settings. For instance, indoor Romex cables won’t survive outside. You cannot expect the insulation to defend against direct sunlight, ice, water, gas, etc. The jacket will eventually give way, allowing those dangerous elements to destroy the conductors.
The only way to use Romex outside is to run it through a conduit. If you don’t like conduits, find a wire rated for outdoor use. Some cables have augmented insulation that repels everything from heat and moisture to pressure and corrosive chemicals.
What kind of ground wire do you have? Is it rated for outdoor use? If the answer is yes, you can get by without a conduit. But if you don’t expect the conductors to survive because of the rugged setting, the ground wire will deteriorate rapidly if you install it without a conduit.
What Does NEC Say About Ground Wire Conduit?
National Electric Code accepts metal conduits as suitable grounding tools. In other words, you can forego the grounding wire if you have EMTs.
Ground Wire Conduit Fill
The conduit fill is concerned with how many wires a conduit can accommodate. Many contractors do not count the ground wire when calculating the conduit fill.
This is because the conduit fill typically looks at the conductors that carry electricity. The objective of limiting the number of wires in a pipe is to reduce the heat.
Because the ground wire doesn’t carry electricity in most situations, many people don’t include it when considering the conduit fill. However, your local electrician may say otherwise.
They may argue that the conduit fill looks at the number of conductors in the pipe, and the ground wire is a conductor. Therefore, it counts.