Grounding is a very important aspect of the electrical connections of a house. Besides wire grounding, another popular grounding method is conduit grounding. But many people get confused about it. Today I will clear the air for you.
So, what is conduit grounding?
Conduit grounding is the technique of using wire career tubes as groundings. It’s approved by the National Electrical Code. But there are appropriate ways of doing it. The conduits must be made of metal. Also, not all the metal conduits are equally usable. Certain conditions are given by the NEC.
This is only the beginning. Below I have discussed conduit grounding in detail. Just please keep reading!
What Is Conduit Grounding
A conduit is nothing but a tube used to pass a single or a set of things. An electrical conduit is a tube used for passing electrical wires. The wires can be of different buildings or different electrical elements.
Using the conduits for grounding is known as conduit grounding. It is possible to ground the main electrical panel with the help of a conduit. But there are some conditions to achieve it. These conditions must be fulfilled for the correct grounding of the cables.
What Is the Requirement of Conduit Grounding
I have said earlier that conduit is a type of tube. This tube can be of two types depending on the material used to build it. Metal and non-metal. But both of these two types of conduits can not be used for grounding purposes.
Only the metal conduits are useful for grounding. The non-metal conduits fail to offer a proper setting for that. The metal groundings can be divided into many categories. And all the categories are not equally useful for electrical grounding.
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In the next sections, I will discuss various types of metallic conduits. Keep scrolling to choose the required conduit for your electrical connections!
Which Metallic Conduits Are Used for Grounding
Leaving electrical outlets not grounded is not a good idea. Doing this is against the National Electrical Code(NEC). So you must provide appropriate grounding to your electrical cables. And you can use conduits for that without any hesitation.
Because this practice is approved by NEC. Here I’ll show you the capability of different metal conduits in the work of grounding.
Rigid Metal Conduit (RMC)
The RMC or Rigid Metal Conduit is made from stainless steel, coated steel, or aluminum. It has a thick wall with threadings. The Rigid Metal Conduits are very strong and can defend extremely heavy blows. It gives extra protection to wires and cables.
RMC is approved by the National Electrical Code for grounding. These conduits can be used to ground the electrical wires without any conditions. But experts often suggest using a ground wire in the rigid conduit. And there are obvious reasons behind it.
The thick walls of the RMC can cause some troubles in the grounding mechanism. This wall stops the electromagnetic interference of the internal cables. And for this, the grounding can get hampered. For that it is suggested to use ground wires with it.
Electrical Metallic Tubing (EMT)
Now let’s move on to the next type of conduit, EMT. It is a very popular choice for grounding the wires without an extra grounding wire. And this system is approved by the NEC too.
The EMT or Electrical Metallic Tubing is a type of tube. It is so thin that the word conduit is not used in its name. But this tube works like any other conduit. It is generally made of coated steel. Sometimes aluminum is also used for preparing the EMT.
The wall of the EMT is very thin. It does not have any kind of threadings. EMT is hugely used in commercial buildings. Because of its thinness, the EMT is very lightweight. This reduces the installation cost to a great extent.
You can go for EMT and save some bucks too.
Intermediate Metal Conduit (IMC)
As the name implies, Intermediate Metal Conduit has a wall thickness in between the RMC and EMT. Let me explain. The thickness of this conduit is more than the EMT but less than the RMC. Its weight also falls between these two conduits.
The IMC is made from coated steel or stainless steel. IMC comes in both threaded and non-threaded forms. You can make threadings on it according to your use. The price of IMC is also moderate.
The IMC is approved by the NEC to be used for grounding. There are no extra conditions for using this conduit. IMC is completely safe to use and will provide the required grounding to your house.
Flexible Metal Conduit (FMC)
These conduits are mostly available in ⅜ inch and 3-inch diameters. They are used for places where EMT or RMC can not perform well. The FMC is made of aluminum or steel stripes interlocked together. It is often used in dry places.
The FMC can be used as grounding equipment. But the NEC has given some conditions for that. FMC is usable for grounding if it’s installed at places where flexibility is not required. Otherwise, it is a no-go.
Grounding at places requiring flexibility will violate the NEC. You must be careful while using the FMC.
Liquid-Tight Flexible Metal Conduit (LFMC)
This is an upgraded version of the Flexible Metal Conduit or FMC. This conduit comes with a waterproof coating on it. The waterproof coating enables the LFMC to be used in damp places.
The condition for using LFMC for grounding is similar to the FMC. If the flexibility of the conduit is in use, it can not be used as grounding equipment. Extra grounding equipment must be installed alongside.
If flexibility is not in use, you are free to use the LFMC for grounding. To avoid breaking the NEC you must keep these facts in mind.
These are the metal conduits that are usable for grounding. By following the discussed conditions you can avoid many electrical issues.
Question: Is conduit considered a ground?
Answer: Yes, a conduit is considered aground. But it must be made from metal. Otherwise, it can not function as the ground. EMT, RMC, FMC, etc conduits work as groundings.
Question: Is conduit required in the basement?
Answer: Yes, a conduit is required in the basement. Our basements have different electrical connections. Though they are out of sight, it’s not wise to keep them open. For that conduits should be used there too.
Question: Is GFCI required in finished basements?
Answer: Yes, GFCI is required in finished basements. From 150 volts to 250 volts, GFCI protection is needed. For ensuring utmost safety, GFCI should be used in kitchens, bathrooms, basements, etc. places.
This is all I have on the topic of conduit grounding. I think that now you can decide about the functionality of conduit groundings.
Conduit groundings are acceptable by the NEC and are safe. But the condition of all houses is not similar. So you should contact an electrician before making any decision.