How commercial electrical wiring varies from residential electrical wiring

Electrical wiring in commercial and residential properties is apparently similar. But at a deeper level they have their differences. Commercial properties or structures usually have a much higher load demand whereas load demand for residential buildings is much lower. Moreover both the types of structure have their unique needs for energy. Moreover the two have completely different setups for their respective electrical systems.

Commercial electrical wiring is common across facilities including educational centres, hospitals and structures that are meant to conduct businesses. On the other hand residential electrical wiring is meant for structures where individuals live. This type of structures includes single family home, condos and multifamily apartment buildings, etc.

In the following sections of this blog post let us explore the differences that exist between residential and commercial wirings.

Commercial electrical wiring – the basics

Commercial electrical wiring is usually referred to as “three phase”. It means that commercial wiring is made of a pair of small wires that have the capability of running 120 volts each. Then there is also a much wider wire which usually runs at about 208 volts. This phasing system is followed because of a specific reason. This proves effective spreading out the electrical load. Thus the entire load never comes upon a single wire at a time.

The set of three wires can achieve a higher output of energy when they work together. As a result you get a much higher level of energy efficiency. Moreover this setup enables any electrical component attached to it to enjoy a longer life. In commercial structures there is always a fast increase in power demand. As a result commercial structures have much higher levels of voltage requirements compared to residential structures. Therefore the electrical wires that are used in commercial structures usually have additional levels of insulation. In industrial terms this insulation is referred to as TTHT or “thermoplastic high heat resistant nylon coated”. The core components of a wiring system are mostly protected using this insulation mechanism. This insulation system mostly provides protection from gases and liquids that are corrosive in nature.

An experienced commercial electrician near me in London says if sensitive equipments are installed in a structure or building of there are equipments that require lot of electrical energy in those cases it is better to install special outlets inside the structure or facility. As far as commercial electrical wiring is concerned it is mostly found in rafters in ceilings and in conduits.

Residential electrical wiring – the basics

Residential electrical wiring is carried out in structures where people dwell or reside. In residential wiring, the wiring is covered in a kind of sheath based insulation. This is meant for safety precaution; any individual who may come in contact with it is protected from electric shock. It is important mentioning these wires are typically single phased. The voltage is residential wiring is usually maintained at 120 volts. If you dig inside any residential wiring you will come across a set of three wires. The wires are identified as positive, negative and neutral. Residential wirings are not just about 120 volts alone. In certain cases it can also be of 240 volts. This higher voltage is installed at places where the wiring is meant to support stoves, air conditioners, dryers and other varieties of home improvement appliances.

Residential wiring is mostly located in walls and crawl spaces of attics.

Commercial wiring versus residential wiring – the major differences

There are a number of differences that exist between the two types of wiring. However if the major differences are concerned, there are three things that you have to consider. Let us explore those differences in the section below.

  • The types of wires used

The wiring that is used in commercial setups is quite thicker compared to the wiring used in residential spaces. Moreover the wiring used in commercial settings comes with a special coating as insulation. Residential wiring, on the other hand, is much thinner and comes only with a sheath covering.

  • Difference of conduit

Commercial electrical wiring is usually placed inside a tube. If tube is not used then it is placed through some similar structure. This is meant to protect the wiring in one hand while on the other facilitates routing the wiring through the entire building. In residential wiring no conduit is ever used. There is only a sheath as the protective covering.

  • Grade of materials differ

Compared to domestic or residential wiring commercial wiring is upheld to a higher code as well as standard. The grade of materials used in commercial wiring has to be very high. Else the wires will not be highly resistant to heat, corrosion and even exposure to various chemicals inside industrial and manufacturing facilities. On the other hand lower grade of materials could be used in residential wiring. Commercial electricians in my area explain this is because lower codes and standards are required of these structures or properties.

Certain facts related to commercial electrical wiring

  • Whenever commercial wiring is placed inside a structure conduits are always used. 
  • As far as applications that drain energy are concerned special receptacles are usually installed.
  • Usually 3-phase wiring is used in any commercial setting.
  • Commercial electrical wiring is usually placed in a thermoplastic that is high resistant to heat and coated with nylon.
  • Compared to residential wiring commercial ones always have a higher level of insulation.
  • Commercial electricians are the only professionals who are licensed and insured to work on any commercial electrical component.

Certain facts related to residential electrical wiring

  • “Alternating current” is the name given to the power that goes a residential building or structure.
  • Alternating current has the capability to cross over long distances.
  • Usually conduits are not used in residential wiring. But it is not that those cannot be used. If one wants one can easily use a conduit in residential wiring.
  • The majority of residential wiring has just a single phase.
  • Wiring in most cases is placed inside the walls or through the crawl space in attics. The wiring installed in residential structures is not easy to access as in commercial structures.
  • According to a commercial electrician near me, a certified electrician with necessary educational qualification and license can work on residential electrical components.
  • Usually commercial electricians are competent to work on residential electricity whereas a standard domestic electrician may not be capable to work on any commercial electrical component.

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