Underground high-voltage (HV) cables have been an incredible innovation in the electrical industry, allowing for newer innovations and applications. However, high-voltage cables can create a safety hazard when not adequately protected. People who are building can accidentally damage electric cables, and high temperatures, curious rodents and water can cause damage to high-voltage cables that can result in fires or explosions.
Protecting your electric cables with the right products and methods is essential to improve health and safety while keeping your wires intact. Learn more below about how you can protect your cables from damage and what products can help.
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Why Do Electrical Cables Need Protection?
Many electrical cables run from substations to buildings, which are sometimes accessible by the public. It’s essential to protect electrical cables to prevent some of the potential hazards that can cause damage to electrical cables. Some of the potential dangers that require electrical cable protection include the following:
- Building or maintenance work
- External fires
- Water damage
- Rodents or other animals
- Extreme temperatures
If electrical cables are left unprotected and are exposed to some of the hazards above, the damage can result in explosions or fire. These results can be hazardous if the electrical cables are located close to the public or workers, potentially causing injury to those nearby.
There are many benefits to choosing to protect your underground electric cables, including the following:
- Improved health and safety: One of the main reasons to protect electrical cables is to enhance the safety of staff and the nearby public. Cable protection can help prevent fires, explosions and trips when workers or the public walk over the wires. Health and safety should be the first priority when learning how to protect electric cables.
- Efficiency and economy: Poorly protected cables can result in broken equipment and unwanted malfunctions. Well-protected cables can help reduce these risks, which can help reduce repair and maintenance costs. Well-protected electrical cables can help extend the life of your equipment, allowing you to use it longer before needing a replacement.
- Innovation: Protected cables reduce how often businesses spend their time and resources repairing and replacing equipment, allowing them to utilize the time and money they save on innovations.
How to Protect Underground Electric Cables
Protecting your electric cables is essential to reduce damage to your systems and prevent harm to those in the area. Some methods for HV cable protection include:
1. Choosing the Right Installation Method
Most electrical cables are buried underground to protect them from physical damage. Electrical cables manufactured to be buried underground are designed to withstand various problems. You’ll want to consider the proper installation method for underground cables, which includes trenching and plowing. Each method has pros and cons, depending on your environment and project specifications. You can also use physical barriers, including copper, brass or steel tapes.
2. Using Cable Protection Covers
One common way to protect your cables from damage is by using cable covers or conduits. These covers can be made from rigid metals or plastic PVC and act as mechanical protection to reduce the risk of damage. While diggers should always call local authorities before breaking ground to prevent cutting cables, other warnings are often necessary. Cable covers lay on top of the cables underground and include printed warnings to notify anyone digging. They work for all voltage levels, from low to high.
3. Burying Mesh
Another method of protecting your underground cables is to bury mesh with your cables. The mesh is buried a short distance from your cables rather than on top, like a conduit. The mesh lets people digging know there are electrical cables within the vicinity and includes a warning so diggers can understand what they’re working with inside the area.
4. Using Warning Tape and Signage
A common way to alert diggers that there are electrical cables nearby is to use warning tape and signage. Signage above ground lets people know there are cables nearby underground, and warning tape is laid right on top of the cables, letting people digging know they’re about to hit electric cables. However, the downside to warning tape is that if the person digging isn’t paying attention, they could miss it and dig into your electrical cables.
Why Are High-Voltage Cables Shielded?
Non-shielded cables were common for years since they helped people reduce costs and space requirements. However, non-shielded high-voltage cables experienced numerous problems that contributed to damaged cables and equipment.
One of the main reasons that high-voltage cables are shielded is to reduce high-voltage stress on insulation which causes corona discharge from forming on the surface, which can also be caused by moisture and dirt accumulation. The build-up of corona discharge can leave the insulation exposed, resulting in insulation failure. Shielded cables can help reduce the stress on the insulation, helping keep your cables protected. Other ways that shielded cables benefit your electrical system include:
- Protecting people who may come in contact with your cables
- Dispersing insulation leakage currents
- Carrying ground currents to help operate protective devices
- Removing charging currents
Types of Cable Covers
Cable covers come in various sizes and styles since there are diverse demands and configurations of electrical cables. Cable covers and conduits are commonly used to protect electrical wires from damage when people are digging in the area or from environmental exposure. Some common types of conduits include:
- Electrical metallic conduits
- Electric non-metallic tubing
- Light-tight non-flexible metal conduits
- Liquid-tight flexible metal conduits
- Rigid metal conduits
- Flexible metal conduits
- Fiber optic conduits
- Intermediate metal conduits
How to Choose the Right Cable Protection
Some cable covers are better suited to underground environments than others, so you’ll want to ensure you choose the right option for your applications. The team at AerosUSA, Inc. can help find the best conduit for your applications to protect your electrical cables. You’ll want to consider your environment, assembly time, costs and installation demands.
Choosing the right cable cover can be a complex process, so our team is here to help you choose the best conduit to help protect your electrical cables and the people in the surrounding area.
Contact AerosUSA, Inc. to Protect Your Electrical Cables
If your business requires you to use your electrical cables, AerosUSA, Inc. can help. We offer various types of electrical cables, from rigid metals to flexible PVC, to suit the needs of your specific applications. We have an extensive inventory, so you have plenty of options.
Our products are quick to install, helping to reduce labor time so you can get on with your work. Our products are also lightweight, flexible, resistant to UV light, durable and flame resistant, helping to protect your electrical cables from various types of damage. Contact us today to learn more about our products and how we can help or browse our selection of protective conduits.