While commercial and residential wiring may appear to be similar, there are distinct differences between the two. Naturally, commercial structures have a higher electrical load demand, unique energy needs, and a completely different setup than residential structures.
Commercial wiring is created and placed in a variety of facilities such as business structures, hospitals, and/or schools.
Residential wiring is placed in structures where individuals live, such as a single-family home, a multi-family apartment building, or a condo.
Continue reading to learn about the various differences between commercial wiring and residential wiring.
The Basics of Commercial Wiring
Commercial wiring is most commonly referred to as “three-phase”; that is, it consists of two small wires that have the capability of running at 120 volts a piece. Then, there is a wider wire that typically runs at about 208 volts.
This phasing design system helps spread out the electrical load so that it does not hit one wire all at once.
When the three wires work together, they are capable of achieving a higher energy output. This results in a higher level of energy efficiency. Additionally, it also helps in allowing attached electrical components to have increased longevity.
Increased power demands occur in commercial structures. Due to this fact, there are higher levels of voltage requirements. The wires used in these settings usually have additional levels of insulation.
This insulation is identified as “thermoplastic, high-heat resistant, nylon coated” or simply “TTHT”, for short. This insulative mechanism is generally used to protect the core components of the wiring from liquids and gases that have the capability of being corrosive.
If sensitive equipment is used in the building or there are equipment pieces that require a lot of electrical energy, special outlets may be placed within the facility. Commercial wiring is commonly found in conduits and/or rafters in the ceiling.
The Basics of Residential Wiring
Nearly all wiring placed in structures where individuals reside is covered in a type of sheath-based insulation. This aids – mostly – in protecting individuals that come into contact with it from being shocked. In evaluating these wires, you will discover that they are typically single phase.
The voltage is usually 120 volts.
There are three wires. These are identified as being “neutral”, “positive”, and “negative”.
There are instances in which 240-volt wiring is put into place. Typically, this voltage will support air conditioners, dryers, stoves, and other types of appliances. Residential wiring is commonly found in walls and the crawl spaces of attics.
What are the Top Differences Between Commercial and Residential Wiring?
In short, the top differences associated with wiring that is used in commercial spaces and wiring used in residential spaces consists of the following 3 factors:
- Types of Wires – The wiring that is used in commercial settings is very thick compared to that which is used in residential settings. Additionally, commercial wiring has the special insulative coatings that was previously mentioned. Residential wiring is thin and typically only includes a sheath covering.
- The Conduits – Commercial wiring is often placed in a tube or similar structure that aids in protecting the wiring and routing it through the building it is placed. A sheath is the only protective covering used in residences and a conduit is not required.
- The Grade of the Materials – Commercial wiring is upheld to a higher code and standards. The grade of the materials must be very high so that the wires have a high resistance to heat, corrosion, and even exposure to chemicals. Residential wiring may be a lower grade of materials because of the codes and standards required of the structures.
Commercial Wiring Facts
- Conduit is always used when commercial wiring is placed within a structure.
- Special receptacles are typically installed for energy-draining applications.
- Most of the wiring used in a commercial setting is three-phase.
- All commercial wiring is typically placed inside of a thermoplastic, high-heat resistant, nylon coated protective agent.
- Commercial wiring nearly always has a higher level of insulation than residential wiring.
- Commercial electricians are the only professionals that are licensed and insured to work on commercial electrical components.
Residential Wiring Facts
- The power that goes through a residential structure is known as “alternating current”. This means that it has the capability to travel over long distances.
- Electrical conductors associated with residential wiring are typically covered with a sheath to provide insulation and prevent electrical shock from occurring.
- Conduit is typically not used on residential wiring, but it may be used.
- Most residential wiring is single-phase.
- Wiring is typically placed within walls and attics. It is not as easy to access as wiring that is installed in commercial structures.
- A certified electrician has the educational background and license to conduct work on residential electrical components. Additionally, most commercial electricians are capable of working on residential electricity, but a standard electrician is not usually licensed to work on commercial electrical components.
Contact Us Today
We here at Hardcore Electric are capable of working in residential, commercial, and industrial settings. Regardless of your needs, we have the capability to assist you. If you take a look at our services page, you will find that we offer many. This is especially true for commercial and industrial settings. The following outlines a few examples of that which we currently offer our clients:
- Electrical installation and services on newly constructed buildings
- Electric remodel assistance
- The wiring and repair of machines
- Generator panel services
- Lighting retrofit services
- Security systems
- Network wiring services
- Phone and data wiring
- UPS systems
In addition to this, we are a UL-listed panel shop. We hold specialization in industrial control cabinets, and more! We have all of the tools and equipment required to perform installations, repairs, and maintenance. We are locally owned and perform operations in the Denver, Colorado area. We are considered the leaders in service calls, repairs, and maintenance work. If you would like to learn more, have a question, or would like to set up an appointment, contact us today by calling: 720-841-3897