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# Understanding Awg Fire Alarm Cable

By Author: Greg Anixter
Total Articles: 26

If you’re making a foray into electrical work or are undertaking repair work on your fire safety system, it can be overwhelming to encounter the seemingly endless regulations, rules, and standards on both electrical supplies and fire alarm system supplies. Understanding the foundational terms of the trade can be incredibly helpful in making progress on your repair. One of the most important terms you will encounter is “AWG.” Unless you are working with incredibly specialized systems or foreign supplies, you will be utilizing Awg Fire Alarm Cable for your project. This article is devoted to understanding exactly what is meant by the term AWG fire alarm cable.

1. What Is AWG?
AWG stands for American Wire Gauge. The American Wire Gauge is a system designed to standardize measurements of electrical wire and cables. Designed in 1857 by Brown and Sharp, the system allows for easier calculations of current capacity and, therefore, significantly more streamlined implementation of wires.

AWG has been organized into reference tables based on the mathematics that built the standard. Using AWG reference tables allows even amateurs to determine safe and effective wire gauges for use in their projects.

2. What Do the Size Numbers Refer To?
Size numbers on cable listings refer to the thickness of the wire; the smaller the number, the thicker the cable. For example, a hypothetical 1 AWG fire alarm cable would be considerably thicker than 18 AWG fire alarm cable. Thicker cables offer a higher ampacity, which is a cable’s capacity for carrying electric current.

3. What Sets Fire Alarm Cable Apart From Other Cable?
The greatest difference between fire alarm cable and other types of cable is the type of insulation used. Because fire alarm cable is meant to connect systems which warn the occupants of a building that a fire could be present, alarm cable needs to be able to resist the heat at the beginning of a fire such that the system doesn’t become disconnected without alerting the occupants of the building.

Fire alarm cable actually has two very different designations, which determine the locations in which they are appropriate to use. Plenum-rated cable is fire alarm cable that is appropriate for use in spaces that have access to air circulation. Because air circulation can bring oxygen to fires in an emergency situation, plenum-rated cable needs to be more resistant to heat to account for the risk of stronger fires being present in their space.

The other type of cable rating is riser-rated fire alarm cable. Riser cable is less insulated, being intended for use in spaces that have no access to air circulation. The benefits of riser cable are that it is much more flexible and that it is cheaper to lay.

Riser cable should never be used in plenum space though, even though you can elect to use plenum cable in riser space. In fact, in certain types of riser space it is advisable to use plenum cable in the case that the riser space becomes plenum space due to a change in the environment. An example of this is a sealed riser space that has an air duct nearby. If the duct were to breach, the riser space would suddenly have air circulation.

4. Where Can I Find Good Fire Alarm Cable?
These days, the best supplies are found online from trustworthy stores like EWCSwire.com. Offering a large selection of cables that are fully certified and documented, EWCSwire can ensure that you get all of the wire you need for your project and any other projects you undertake in the future. You can also get guidance and help right through the EWCSwire website, so if you have further questions or don’t know exactly what product you need, contact them right away!

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