What Type of Electrical Wire is Used in Homes?

understand different types of wiring for your home

If you ask the majority of homeowners about the kind of wiring that is used in their homes, chances are they will mostly all say the same thing: “wires”, with no other explanation.


If this includes you, we don’t blame you. Learning about the particular kinds of wiring that are used in your home can range from being boring to feeling downright useless. After all, there are few situations where you would have to know the wiring type that you have yourself — this is most likely something your electrical contractors will be able to help you with.


However, the more we know about our homes the more empowered we feel, and that includes information about our home’s wiring. This article will give a preliminary overview of the types of wires that are most often used in homes so that you can understand what is going on behind the scenes when you flip a light switch.


The Most Common Wiring Types Used in Homes


1. Non-Metallic Cable

Commonly called NM cable, this form of wiring is by far the most common in modern residential homes. NM cable contains three or more conductors (usually a hot wire, a ground wire, and a neutral wire) that have been wrapped in plastic sheathing for protection. If this wiring is installed in a place that features some external exposure, then it may be placed in a more robust encasing called a conduit.


2. Metal-Clad Cable

Metal-clad cable, as its name would suggest, is wiring with a strong metal outer casing. They are mostly used in areas where the wires will be exposed to possible damage, such as in basements.


3. Armored Cable

Armored cable is used when NM cable is not sufficient. The armored cable comes with a metallic protective coating (sheathing), which provides more protection than plastic sheathing. Armored cable is only acceptable for use in buildings with fewer than three stories. It cannot be used in commercial buildings.


4. Underground Feeder Cable

Underground feeder — or UF — cable is another example of a non-metallic cable that is buried in the ground. It is usually used to power outdoor electrical operations, such as lights. Much like the NM cables that we mentioned above, underground feeder cables will have neutral and insulated wires. The difference is the UF cable features a stronger plastic encasing to compensate for the fact that they live outdoors.


5. Telephone and Internet Wires

Landline telephones and internet connections require a special type of wiring, known aptly as telephone and internet wires. The most common variety of telephone and internet wires is category 5, which consists of multiple wires (usually eight) wrapped into pairs of four. These wires are low-voltage.


6. Coaxial Cable

Coaxial cable, or Coax, is a type of cable that is used to carry television signals. It consists of a central wire with a protective thin plastic coating.


7. Ethernet Cable

This type of cable is also known as “category 5e”, but you probably know it by its regular nomenclature, ethernet cable. It is used exclusively to connect phones, computers, or other audio-visual networks. It consists of multiple wire pairs wrapped up in a single sheathing.


The Most Beloved Among Electrical Companies in Vancouver

Our electrical company is proud to offer commercial and residential electrician services to the Surrey area. Whether you have questions or concerns about your wiring or are in need of an upgrade or new construction, electrical services are not something that you should take on on your own. Get in touch with us today and see how we can help you with your next electrical project!