What is the best cable to use for wiring in an apartment?
When carrying out repair work in an apartment, its owner often faces the question of replacing the wiring, and with it also what cable to use for wiring in the apartment. Of course, you can rely on the conscientiousness and professionalism of the installers, but firstly, they are not always there, as in small apartments very often repairs are carried out on their own.
Large apartment renovations necessarily include the replacement of electrical wiring. There are two main reasons for this action.
The first is the age of this very wiring. As a rule, major or any major repairs are carried out 15-20 years after the delivery of the apartment. During this time, even if done correctly, the home electrical network ages and wears out. This means that it potentially becomes a source of danger for the inhabitants of the housing.
The second reason is the redevelopment and major renovation of individual premises with the addition of new electrical appliances. Tie-ins and other connections between new and old wiring are highly undesirable. Due to a mismatch in the characteristics of the cable or materials in it. So, the question – whether to change the wiring is considered resolved, it remains to figure out its practical implementation. And you need to start by choosing a cable.
Poor wiring is the cause of fire
Very often, a short circuit in the wiring becomes the cause of a fire, and not always due to old wiring. New wiring made from a low-quality cable, or from a cable not intended for wiring, often becomes the cause of a short circuit. So the issue of security largely depends on which cable to use for wiring in the apartment.
Characteristics of wires and cables that you should pay attention to when choosing wiring to a house or apartment
Let’s say right away that we are talking about a household power cable or wire with a voltage of 220/380 V for transmitting electric current in a home network. We do not consider all other types such as heating, television, computer and others.
The general list of characteristics looks like this:
conductor insulation thickness;
color of cable cores;
Copper or aluminum
According to the composition of the core, cable products are divided into copper and aluminum. Copper products are more reliable, the resistance is lower, the current indicators are higher, the heating is less when compared with aluminum of equal section. In addition, copper is less oxidized, more ductile, which means that the cable lasts longer without losing its properties and characteristics.
By design, single-core (single-wire) and multi-core (multi-wire) cables and wires are produced. Single-core varieties are stiffer and more inflexible, especially with a large conductor cross-section.
Answering the question “which wire to use for wiring under the plaster”, we can say that theoretically a single-core single-wire copper cable is also suitable. Plaster will provide additional protection for such a conductor. But in fact, no one is laying a household power grid with a solid wire.
Stranded single core cable is softer and more ductile. It tolerates bends, turns well and is suitable for both open wiring and hidden under plaster. It is the three-core single-wire that is now used for laying in apartments.
Currently, aluminum cable for wiring in apartments and houses is almost never used, it used to be only such a cable, but now, with the development of technology, the number of electricity consumers in apartments is constantly growing, and their capacity is also increasing. The thing is that aluminum has a lower current conductivity, which means you need to use a cable with a larger cross-section of the conductive core, and since the power of the connected equipment is constantly growing, in today’s realities, to connect the outlet group, for example, you will need an aluminum cable with a cross section of 4 mm.kv., you must admit it will not be easy to connect a cable of such thickness.
In addition, aluminum is fragile, conductors, over time, oxidize, overheat from this, as a result of which such wiring becomes unusable. The only plus is the price. As for copper, it has only one drawback – it is more expensive. Based on the foregoing, we can conclude that an aluminum cable is indispensable for laying lines with a heavy load, this allows them to reduce their cost, and if it is a question of which cable to use for wiring in an apartment, then the answer is copper.
The cross-section must be selected according to the total power consumption of the consumers connected to the line, in more detail about how to calculate the cable cross-section can be found here:
For a socket group, the cross-section must be at least 2.5 mm2, for a lighting group, at least 1.5 mm2. for copper cable. If you plan to connect more powerful devices, such as an electric stove, a boiler, etc., then such devices are connected to a separate line with a cable with a cross section of 4 mm sq. and more depending on the power of the device. The cable cross-section can be selected using a special calculator from MPKA
The cable cross-section is measured in “squares”, that is, square millimeters and shows the throughput. For a copper cable, one “square” passes 8-10 Amperes of current, for an aluminum cable only 5 A. For safe operation, the conductor should be selected with a reserve of throughput, which ensures heating of the wire within the permissible value, or more simply, so that the insulation does not melt from the load. In addition, with hidden wiring, it must be borne in mind that it is less cooled, which means that the section margin must compensate for this.
Attention! Do not confuse the cable cross-section with its diameter, these are two big differences! The diameter can be measured with a ruler, or better with a caliper. And then substitute it into the formula and calculate the cross-sectional area.
Also remember that the choice of cable for wiring in an apartment always comes with rounding up. If the calculation turns out to be 2.3 “squares”, choose a cable two and a half, not two “squares”.
Ideally, the cross-section should be the same as the marking on the cable tag, but in fact it often differs in a smaller direction. Minor discrepancies are acceptable because the cable is certified for resistance, not cross-section. If the discrepancy is significant, it is a marriage. An experienced electrician will see it visually, and you can measure the diameter of the core and calculate the cross-section for interest or help a friend who decides to buy a cable for apartment wiring on his own.
Some electricians advise taking a cable with a rating higher than the calculated one. For example, 4 “squares”, instead of 2.5, to cover the “shortage” of the section, if any. But, then you will have to calculate the protection of the wiring accordingly and install the correct machines and RCDs.
Advice! We recommend for electrical wiring in an apartment a cross-section of copper wires from 1.5 to 2.5 sq. mm. For outlets n two and a half “squares” and one and a half – for lighting.
The most common domestic cable for electrical installation in an apartment
It has single-core copper conductors, PVC-compound insulation and sheath, it is used in rooms with normal and high humidity. Designed for voltages up to 660 Volts. The shape of the conductor is round, flat or triangular.
VVG cables are available in several modifications:
VVG — basic type with vinyl insulation and sheath;
VVGng — non-combustible power wire, core insulation is self-extinguishing, that is, combustion does not spread;
VVGng-LS P (flat) — most suitable for wiring in an apartment, it also has a self-extinguishing non-combustible insulation of cores (ng) and a sheath with low smoke emission;
All brands with the ng prefix can be mounted in bundles, that is, several cable lines can be laid in one corrugation, pipe or pit.
We advise you to buy a high quality cable for electrical wiring in an apartment from VVGng or VVGng-LS brands from the Zaporozhye cable production plant MPKA.
High-quality performance. The conductors, insulation, sheath comply with DSTU and this makes the cable reliable.
Convenient assembly and easy cutting. Round cable is easy to install due to the absence of twists, it is easier to seal it when entering.
High fire resistance and safety. Compliance with the standards ensures safe operation of the cable under load, and special insulation allows laying in bundles, without the risk of fire from mutual heating.
Self-extinguishing and low smoke. The shell material is self-extinguishing and slows down combustion. And also provides low smoke without hazardous halogens. If the protection is triggered with deceleration, then the damage from fire will be minimal.
A wide range of brand options at prices to suit any budget.
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