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IMC metal conduit in a New York home (C) Daniel FriedmanElectrical Conduit Tools
Bends, connectors, cuts, install electrical conduit

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Electrical Conduit installation tools:

Here we describe tools used to bend, connect, cut, or install electrical conduit made of metal or non-metallic materials.

This article series describes both metallic electrical conduit and plastic or non-metallic electrical conduit products, and answers basic questions about installing electrical conduit. Electrical conduit is metal or plastic rigid or flexible tubing used to route electrical wires in a building.



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What tools you need and the procedures for using conduit?

Tools for Cutting Electrical Conduit

Thin-wall metal conduit can be cut with a special electrical conduit cutter. To use the cutter, clamp it around the conduit. To cut the conduit, tighten the knurled nut in the handle.

As you tighten, force the cutter around the conduit. The sharp cutting blade cuts a groove that deepens with each revolution, making a smooth, quick cut. After cutting through the conduit, file off any burrs around the edge of the cut.

[Click to enlarge any image]

Tools for Bending Electrical Conduit

Thin-wall electrical conduit can be readily bent by using a special tool designed to make a smooth, even bend with little effort.

The more bends in a run of conduit, the more it is to “fish” the wires through.  Plan the conduit run carefully to avoid sharp bends and to make as few bends as possible. 

Never have more than four right angle bends between openings. 

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the type of conduit bender you use.

How an electrical conduit bender works

Non-Metallic Conduit Bends

A 90 degree sweep or bend using Cantex PVC nonmetallic rigid plastic electrical conduit (C) Daniel Friedman

Sweeps and bends traversing 45 degrees and 90 degrees for non-metallic plastic conduit are sold pre-formed, such as the PVC 90-degree Bell-End elbow conduit example I'm holding in the photo above.

How to thread electrical wires through conduit

A fish tape is a thin, flexible metal tape with a hook on one end. The tape is usually packaged on some type of reel. The tape is used to pull wires through conduit or through openings in walls. For conduit use, the tape is inserted in one conduit opening and worked through to the next opening. The wires to be drawn through the conduit are bent around the hook on the fish tape.

If the run is long and has a few bends it is a good idea to wrap some electrical tape around the wires to hold them on the hook.  The tape is then reeled in to draw the wires through the conduit.  A slow, steady is less likely to kink the tape or jam the wires than is a series of sharp.

Electrical codes allow multiple electrical wires to be pulled through a single conduit, but limit the number of wires allowed in a conduit run depending on the number of wires and the wire diameter or gauge.

The more wires you pull, the more crowded the conduit, so buy larger conduit---perhaps 3/4 inch instead of 1/2 inch.

Conduit Connectors

ENT, LFNC, Plastic PVC Conduit connectors

ENT conduit sections and fittings are joined by conduit solvent cement specifically formulated for use with PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic conduit ducts and fittings.

Plastic condolet connector for PVC electrical conduit (C) Daniel Friedman Low VOC PVC cement for electrical conduit (C) Daniel Friedman

Below: ENT Coupling fittings and expansion couplings for PVC conduit.

ENT plastic conduit coupling (C) Daniel Friedman ENT conduit expansion fitting (C) Daniel Friedman

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EMT Connectors

[in process] Photos, comments, suggestions are invited. Use the page top or bottom CONTACT link. Contributors are cited & linked-to, or can remain anonymous (default). - Ed.

IMC metal conduit in a New York home (C) Daniel Friedman

FMC Connectors

Armored cable, 12/3  Armorlite BX wire (C) Daniel Friedman

[In process]

IMC Connectors

Calbrite™ stainless steel IMC Coupling - at InspectApedia.com

Non-threaded IMC is joined by compression fit type couplings like the stainless steel Calbrite™ IMC coupling shown here.

RMC connectors

The stainless steel C Condulet shown below and used for snaking or connecting electrical wires inside of RMC is a Calbrite™ product - contact information is given below.

Stainless steel RMC is used where corrosive environments will exceed the limitations of aluminum, fiberglass, rigid steel, PVC, & PVC Coated conduit. (Calbrite 2017).

Calbrite™ Brand stainless steel C Condulet at InspectApedia.com contact information for Calbrite is in the article where this image appears

Cutting, Bending and Threading Electrical Conduit

Electrical conduit is often used to hold and protect house wiring. In some localities electrical conduit is required by the local code. Conduit protects building wiring from damage better than flexible steel (BX) cabling or plastic sheathing (Non metallic sheathed or NMC wire).

Electrical conduit mistakes (C) D Friedman T Hemm

However, it electrical conduit is more difficult to install and it requires both some special tools and some special knowledge about permitted bending radii and similar details.

Instead of damaging rigid electrical conduit tubing (as in the photo above) make your bends using the proper tool, use elbows and fittings, buy pre-formed bends (shown at left in plastic conduit), or use flexible metal or plastic conduit (illustrated at above left).

Electrical conduit mistakes (C) D Friedman T HemmWatch Out: Do not attempt to work on your electrical wiring, switches, or outlets unless you are properly trained and equipped to do so. Electrical components in a building can easily cause an electrical shock, burn, or even death.

Even when a hot line switch is off, one terminal on the switch is still connected to the power source.

Before doing any work on the switch, the power source must be turned off by set­ting a circuit breaker to OFF or removing a fuse.

See SAFETY for ELECTRICAL INSPECTORS and ELECTRICAL WIRING BOOKS & GUIDES

Electrical conduit for wiring has some advantages in protecting wires and also in running multiple wires to a location.

The proper selection of electrical conduit materials, fittings, and installation are important for safe electrical wiring.

Our photo (above left, courtesy of Tim Hemm), shows an electrical conduit snafu along with an unsafe FPE Stab-Lok electrical sub panel. Both flexible electrical conduit and rigid conduit were used. Our arrow points to an improper "bend" made in the rigid metal electrical conduit. [3]

Electrical Conduit Tool & Equipment Suppliers

This website provides information about a variety of electrical hazards in buildings, with articles focused on the inspection, detection, and reporting of electrical hazards and on proper electrical repair methods for unsafe electrical conditions.

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