Getting it Right with the Aluminum XLP USE RHH RHW Cable
Not all wires and cables are built alike and each one has its own specifications for specific uses. Most people only know that you can get wires and cables in all sizes and thickness, but each one has different materials used. The cables that are built these days have to comply with UL standards and NEC specifications. Cables that are used for underground direct burial are different from the ones that you use for oil refineries. That is because you need cables that are fire and oil resistant in oil refineries while other environments just call for a heat and sunlight resistant cable.
Take the aluminum XLP USE RHH RHW which has a tough outer insulation of cross linked polyethylene material. This material which covers the important aluminum strands makes the cable fire and water resistant and so is a preferred choice when it comes to commercial and industrial applications. However, you will find that these kinds of cables are also widely used in residential applications. It is so much safer and the wiring will last for years without any problem in such domestic conditions as they are made to withstand harsher environments. However, consult your electrician or the NEC as sometimes you will not be allowed to use aluminum cables and in such cases, you will have to use the copper equivalent.
Aluminum wires are lighter than copper wires, although their conductive capacity is relatively less. However, they can withstand a temperature of 90°C when used as RHW-2 or USE-2 in wet or dry locations. Keep in mind the voltage rating, which is around 600V for USE RHH RHW conductors. Also the allowable ampacity for 60°C is 150, while it is 180 when the temperature is 75°C and 205 when used in 90°C conditions. You will also have to keep in mind the thickness of the conductors as you might need a thicker cable for certain applications for better electric conductivity but at the same time, you will need it to be thin enough for easy installation.
A talk with your electrician before you buy your cables will be a good idea as sometimes you may tend to buy cables that do not meet your requirements which not lead to hazards or you might tend to buy more than what you need which will make an unnecessary dent in your wallet. So buy only what you need, but if you are not worried about your budget, overbuying may not be a problem as that might keep your wiring safe and secure for years to come. In case you are doing the job on your own, you can ask the local building inspector to take a look at your work to make sure that you have done everything the way it should be done.
Keep in mind these simple tips and advice while buying cables and keep your wiring safe. It is always safe to be sorry, especially where electrical wiring is concerned. That is why you have to take all the necessary precautions, even if it only means reading about safety regulations on blogs and on the internet.