Wire and cable comprise the electrical infrastructure in your home. Selecting the appropriate size and type and handling it correctly is absolutely necessary to a successful wiring project that will pass inspection. Copper wire is the primary conductor of electricity in any home. The electricity itself travels on the outer surfaces of the wire, so insulation is normally added to the wires to protect against shock and fires. The insulated wires are frequently grouped together and bound up in rugged plastic sheathing according to gauge and function. Multiple wires housed in shared sheathing form a cable.
In some cases, the conductors are further isolated and grouped in metal or plastic tubes known as conduit. Conduit (also known as raceway) is used primarily in situations where the cables or wires are exposed, such as open garage walls. This chapter introduces all of the many varieties of wire, cable, and conduit used in home construction, and explains which types to use where. It also will demonstrate the essential skills used to run new cable, install conduit, strip sheathing, make wire connections, and more.
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