An Overview about Underground Cabling and Wiring Systems

May 27, 2020

Over the last couple of decades, the concept behind underground cabling and wiring systems has been continuously adopted by numerous countries. Undergrounding is often seen as a replacement for overhead cables in providing electrical power or telecommunications. It solves the problem of frequent outages that are caused by high wind thunderstorms or heavy snow or ice storms. With undergrounding, property owners can also expect improved aesthetic quality over their landscapes and properties thanks to the absence of overhead cables.

What are the Components for Undergrounding?

Undergrounding is the installation of cables underground, which ultimately serves as a transmission medium for power and telecommunication. These cables have electric conductors that are made from stranded copper or aluminium and may be arranged in segments to reduce power losses. These conductors are enclosed by an insulating system, which comes in a wide variety of materials depending on the cable type. The outer copper wire screen releases fault currents and keeps the electric field in the cable. The outer cable sheath, alternatively, protects the cable against moisture.

Aside from the cables, undergrounding also requires joints for connecting adjacent cable sections and terminations for connecting cables to other equipment. Cable transfer stations are then needed when connecting the underground cables to the overhead lines. Extruded cable systems require link boxes with grounding links, sheath voltage limiters, and features to allow cross bonding. Associated bonding cables and ground continuity conductors are also needed with these cable systems. 

What are the Advantages of Undergrounding?

Underground cabling and wiring systems have numerous advantages over their counterpart. First, the use of underground cables is deemed to be much safer compared to overhead cables. Since underground cables are tucked into the ground, they are mostly safe from damaging elements like lightning, strong winds, fire, and others. 

Second, the overall expenses for underground cables are cheaper than overhead cables. While the installation cost of underground cables is way higher than installing overhead cables, any repairs that are associated with underground cables are highly unlikely due to their brilliant design and layout. You can expect that any circumstances of faulty wirings and cables, as well as other damages brought by weather disturbances are significantly minimised with undergrounding.

The only thing you must worry about with undergrounding is the replacement of your cables’ insulation so that your cables can be protected against damaging elements. Any upgrades can also be difficult with undergrounding. So, you must strictly plan everything out before finalising and carrying out the undergrounding plan.

Are There Any Issues Behind Undergrounding?

Undergrounding has some technicalities that must be considered carefully. For one, you must choose the method of laying your cables underground. To date, the three main methods used in undergrounding are placing the cables in concrete-reinforced troughs, burying the cables directly, and placing the cables in underground tunnels. One element when considering the laying method for your underground cables is the geographical feature of your area.

Another issue behind undergrounding is the type of cable you must use. Undergrounding may come in numerous types of cables that can effectively transmit electricity. One thing that is hugely related to your preferred cable type is its intended application. For instance, plastic cables are only used when a small portion of the transmission line must be put underground. Heavy-duty underground cables, on the other hand, are typically used for main transmission lines.

There is so much more about underground cabling and wiring systems that you must learn about. For more information about these systems, do not hesitate to contact us at Metro Pits.

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