Electrical wiring in both residential and commercial properties can be a complex project, requiring the expertise of a licensed electrical contractor. This is essential, as it ensures compliance with the Electrical Safety Authority’s (ESA) electrical code, and guarantees the safety of the property and all of its inhabitants. Electrical wiring in general can be straightforward for an experienced electrician, however wiring for a commercial property can be a more difficult and complicated project compared to a residential property. In commercial spaces, electrical wiring is configured to accommodate for any equipment or heavy machinery which will be used within the space.
The three main methods for electrical wiring in commercial buildings are raceways and conductors, busways and cable assemblies.
One of the most common types of commercial electrical wiring is a cable assembly. Cable assemblies consist of multiple insulated and neutral phase conductors with an insulated and/or bare equipment grounding conductor. Cable assemblies can be custom ordered, and usually come with THHN/THWN (thermoplastic high heat-resistant nylon jacket/thermoplastic heat and water-resistant nylon jacket) or XHHW-2 (XLPE high heat-resistant and water-resistant) copper or aluminum conductors.
Compared to the other wiring methods, a few advantages of using cable assemblies is a quick installation time and lower installation cost, in addition to cable routing flexibility. On the other hand, a disadvantage is that changes in circuit configuration are not possible once installation is complete, and that more planning is required during the configuration and cable procurement stages.
Raceways and Conductors
The raceway and conductor method is another commonly used method when it comes to electrical wiring. The use of raceways and conductors usually involves a conduit/tube with an equipment grounding conductor and multiple insulated phase. As with all types of electrical wiring, the actual design and installation will vary depending on the commercial property’s needs and specifications. Similarly to cable assemblies, the most common type of conductors are copper/aluminum THHN/THWN or XHHW. Usually, copper is used for branch circuits while aluminum is used for feeders.
An advantage of raceways and conductors is that it allows for changes in circuit configuration, and raceways can be easily used for remodelling projects. On the other hand, some disadvantages are higher installation costs compared to other wiring methods, and a complex installation process due to more rigid routing requirements.
A busway is an enclosed raceway with factory-mounted busbars. The busways are compatible with bare or insulated conductors, and are usually configured in two types of ways – plug in style, or feeder style. The busway method is advantageous because it is available in multiple ampere ratings from 60 to 4,000 A, and compared to multiple conduits, it is smaller in size and more compact. In addition, the total voltage drop has a lesser impact with busways. In contrast, a disadvantage of using busways is a higher installation cost, and the busways are susceptible to failure due to water leaks within the property. Also, depending on the layout of the space, there may be limited space for the installation of bus plugs.
Though these three commercial wiring methods are most commonly used, there may be other alternative methods available. Here at Made Electric, we can guide you through all possible wiring methods and advise you on the best configuration for your commercial property. Don’t hesitate to contact MADE ELECTRIC today! We are an ESA licensed company with years of experience, and we provide quality service in both commercial and residential areas. Our team operates within Etobicoke and the GTA, and we are committed to helping meet all of your needs.