Think about every electrical appliance or device that you’ve ever used. Even though you probably didn’t realize it, conduits keep everything connected and powered so you can enjoy the conveniences of technology.
Before you start looking for an electrical conduit from a solid vendor like RS, you need to know the different types that you might run into out there.
Rigid PVC Conduit
Rigid PVC is a common type of conduit, offering strong, stable protection for your cables and wires. There is regular PVC as well but that can be bent without the use of heat. This kind of PVC conduit requires some heat to shape it as you need it to go, so keep your heat gun on you.
This kind of conduit works in much the same way that a water pipe would work. You glue the pieces together, keeping water out. That makes it ideal for burial installations and environments that are particularly corrosive.
Electrical Non-Metallic Tubing (ENT)
This is probably the most different type of electrical conduit that you’re going to find. It’s pretty much flexible PVC tubing but it looks a lot like most of the pool hoses that you’ll find out there.
The cool thing is that it can be run behind walls, under floors, and even under concrete. It has fire-rated materials for greater durability but don’t confuse that with UV resistance (which it doesn’t have).
Liquid-Tight Flexible Metal Conduit
Also known as LMFC, it works pretty similarly to flexible metal conduit. The main difference is that this type has a waterproofing coating on it to protect against the potential corrosion that liquid can have on metal conduits.
You would find this kind of electrical conduit for outdoor applications as well as any wet interior areas. Just keep in mind that if you decide on this type of conduit, you need to have watertight fittings as well.
Flexible Metal Conduit (FMC)
These look very similar to the aforementioned LFMC in that they are long, flexible, and have ridges on them that mimic a spiral look. These are mostly made of either aluminum or steel for construction purposes.
These are ideal in settings where space is tight or limited or you need to work around existing equipment. Some of the other types are either too rigid or won’t hold up against corrosive components.
Electrical Metallic Tubing (EMT)
Perhaps the most common type of electrical conduit you are going to find. It’s pretty rigid in nature, being made of galvanized steel more often than not. In some cases, you might find it in aluminum but not always.
Because it’s a bit thinner, you can easily bend it just make sure it doesn’t kink. You can use a conduit bender to keep it from kinking or just cut as much as you need.
Intermediate Metal Conduit (IMC)
We’re starting to get into the more rigid conduit types out there, though this isn’t necessarily the most rigid. It offers a lot of the same perks that RMC does (more below) but has thinner, lighter qualities that give it greater flexibility (literally and figuratively). Electricians tend to go with IMC because it’s a lot easier to manage due to the lighter weight.
Rigid Metal Conduit (RMC)
For heavy-duty and underground applications, this is the kind of conduit you want to go with. It’s composed of galvanized steel and is typically the friendliest conduit type for outdoor applications. It can also provide structural support for cables, boxes, and other types of electrical equipment. It isn’t the most flexible kind of conduit out there, but it will hold up to damage, corrosion, and other potentially harmful factors.