Frequently employed in residential structures for interior wiring, non-metallic (NM) sheathed cables are popular. Non-metallic sheathed cables are available in various types, each tailored to particular uses such as linking devices for computer networks, data transfer, cable TV, and telephone systems.
We have created an extensive guide to help you become familiar with the various aspects of NM cables. We will also be discussing the applications, advantages, and disadvantages of non-metallic wires. By the time you have finished reading, you will possess a deeper grasp of NM cables and how they might cater to your electrical requirements.
Table of Contents
Two-Wire and Three-Wire Non-Metallic Cables
Dual-wire non-metallic cables, often called twin-lead or twin cables, are frequently employed for low-voltage tasks like hooking a router to a printer. These cables consist of a pair of insulated copper wires twisted together and encased in a plastic covering.
Their flat, ribbon-esque appearance makes them easy to identify. Dual-wire non-metallic cables are typically utilized for uninterrupted, straight-through connections, linking devices directly without breaks or splices.
On the flip side, triple-wire non-metallic (NM) cables feature three insulated copper wires twisted together and encased in a plastic covering. These cables are often chosen for high-voltage tasks like connecting a computer to a printer.
The third wire typically serves as a grounding wire to minimize the risk of electric shock. You can recognize triple-wire non-metallic cables by their rounded appearance. Both dual-wire and triple-wire non-metallic cables are popular selections for do-it-yourself (DIY) home projects thanks to their cost-effectiveness, simplicity of installation, and sturdiness.
Nevertheless, it’s vital to know that non-metallic cables are not suitable for outdoor usage due to their lack of moisture resistance.
Applications for Non-Metallic Cables
Non-metallic cables, often referred to as NM cables, find application in a diverse range of areas, including:
- Residential wiring: NM cables are frequently employed in homes to wire circuits for lighting and outlets. They are suitable for use in dry areas like walls and ceilings
- Commercial wiring: Non-metallic (NM) sheathed cables can also be used for wiring circuits, such as lighting and outlets in commercial structures
- Industrial automation: For connecting sensors and actuators to computers, NM cables find use in industrial automation.
- Telecommunications: NM cables, like connecting modems and routers to computers, can be used for telecommunications
- Data transfer: NM cables can be employed for data transmission in computer networks, encompassing Ethernet and internet connections
- Cable TV: In cable television (CATV) applications, NM cables can be used to connect cable modems to TVs
NM Cable Components
NM cables are composed of three primary elements:
The conductor, or core, is the central part of the cable responsible for carrying electric current. It consists of copper wires that can be either solid or stranded, insulated with a plastic or rubber material.
This protective layer of a non-metallic (NM) sheathed cable envelops the conductor or core, preventing electrical currents from leaking out and making contact with other objects. Insulation typically consists of non-conductive plastic or rubber materials that can endure high temperatures.
The sheath is the outermost layer of the cable, safeguarding it from external factors such as moisture, heat, and physical harm. This layer is crafted from sturdy, durable materials like PVC or nylon, which are resistant to wear and tear.
Advantages of NM Cables
NM cables boast a range of benefits, making them a favored option for electrical installations. Some advantages of NM cables include the following:
- Longevity: NM cables, crafted from high-quality materials, are strong and durable. This durability translates to an extended lifespan and fewer repairs or replacements.
- High Performance: Their superior materials and robust insulation give NM cables exceptional performance and reliable signal transmission. This feature makes them ideal for applications necessitating dependable and efficient signal transfer.
- Broad Availability: NM cables come in various sizes and lengths, simplifying finding the suitable cable for a specific purpose.
- Quality: The high quality of NM cables ensures optimal performance in their respective applications, reducing the likelihood of electrical issues or faults.
- Cost-effectiveness: NM cables are affordable, making them more accessible for those in need. They offer a budget-friendly solution for various applications without compromising on quality.
- Energy Efficiency: NM cables save energy and contribute to lower electricity bills consuming less power than other cable types.
- Simple Installation: NM cables are easy to install and don’t require expert intervention, saving time and money on installation expenses.
Disadvantages of NM Cables
Despite their benefits, non-metallic (NM) cables have limitations and downsides. Here are the disadvantages of NM cables:
- Restricted bandwidth: NM cables possess limited bandwidth and can only transmit signals at low-frequency levels. This limitation renders them unsuitable for applications requiring high-speed data transmission.
- Lower resistance: In comparison to other wires, NM cables have lower resistance, which increases at low temperatures. This drawback can result in overheating and damage to the cable.
- Weak moisture resistance: NM cables are only suited for indoor applications due to their poor moisture resistance. Moisture can infiltrate the cable and damage the wires and insulation.
- Incompatibility with heavy-duty applications: NM cables are not suitable for heavy-duty applications since extreme temperatures can easily damage them. They are better suited for residential and light commercial applications.
Electrical Repair and Installation Services
If you need help installing a non-metallic (NM) sheathed cable in your home, give our technicians a call by phone at (732) 638-4317 to book an appointment. Our team of emergency electricians in Lakewood, NJ offer an extensive array of electrical repair and installation services for residential properties. Our proficient electricians boast over 24 years of industry experience.
Our technicians also offer a variety of other emergency electrical services such as whole-home generator installation, electrical panel replacement, electric vehicle (EV) charger installation, ceiling fan repair, and light fixture installation. Our dedicated team delivers same-day repairs, next-day installations, and round-the-clock emergency electrical services, ensuring your electrical requirements are addressed swiftly and effectively.
With transparent pricing and a dedication to excellence, you can rely on the team of electricians at Gold Medal to maintain your electrical system in peak operating condition.