Underground power lines of all kinds have extremely substantial insulation. Furthermore, national rules specify the depth at which these lines must be buried. Some low-voltage subterranean lines may be as shallow as 18 inches, although the bulk of higher-voltage circuits will be at least 24 inches deep.
The term "underground" in this context does not necessarily mean that the cables are located inside the walls or pavement of a building. Rather, it means that they are covered by soil before they reach any structure. This prevents them from being damaged by traffic or weather conditions.
The distance between poles or posts depends on the voltage used by the network. For example, the wire between two poles carrying 120 volts is likely to be 8 feet apart, while the wire between two poles carrying 240 volts is likely to be 16 feet apart.
The depth that power lines are buried varies depending on several factors such as voltage, terrain, and local regulations. In general, underground wiring is placed at least six inches below ground level and preferably up to two feet for better electrical performance.
Power lines are usually made of aluminum or steel wire with plastic or rubber coating. The thickness of the wire used to make a circuit varies according to its purpose: regular household wiring is made from 14 or 12 gauge metal, while high-voltage lines are usually thicker, ranging from 1/4 inch to 4 inches thick.
Pay attention to the location of any subterranean electrical circuits on your property. If they're not where you expect them to be, this might be an indication that there's a problem with your wiring.
If you find that part of your basement is more lit up at night than others, or if you see any other signs of potential trouble in your wiring, have your system inspected by a qualified electrician as soon as possible. He or she can check everything from the main panel down to the individual wires inside walls and floorboards for damage caused by moisture, ice, or dirt.
The majority of underground cables are made out of aluminum because of its resistance to corrosion when exposed to soil. However, steel cable is used when extra strength is needed such as in high-voltage situations. Steel cables are also used when digging for new foundations, since aluminum would be too soft to use as a digging tool. The last thing you want is for part of the foundation wall to collapse onto the cable!
The national electrical safety code does not specify a minimum depth for communications lines, although 6 to 12 inches is likely to be the norm. When working near underground facilities, keep in mind that main lines are usually at least 2 feet deep, but service lines are only approximately 18 inches deep. Double-check with your utility or telecom company before you dig. Also remember that electricity can travel along water pipes so be sure to locate them before you start digging.
The typical telephone line is placed into the ground with a depth of from 2 to 4 feet, depending on location. The cable itself is usually surrounded by an insulation layer and then covered by soil. In areas where snowfall is common, the cables will also have an outer coating of rubber or plastic to protect them from damage.
Cable television lines are usually placed no more than 3 feet below ground level, but they can go down as deep as 5 feet if necessary. These lines use a mixture of steel wire and fiber-optic cable as well as some that are completely fiber-optic.
Radio frequency (RF) energy can pass through solid objects, such as rock or concrete, but it cannot pass through air or a vacuum. This is why radio stations often find it necessary to build their own studios above ground level or buy property close by that is suitable for this purpose.
Low-voltage wire is typically buried beneath mulch in garden areas. The national electric code requires a minimum depth of 6 inches when placing wire underground. When laying cable beneath sidewalks, driveways, or other hardscapes, it is always a good idea to run it through conduit. This protects the environment from damage caused by digging and keeps your wiring safe.
The distance between poles depends on the type of pole you use. Typically, the closer the poles are together, the lower the cost of the electricity will be. If you want to save money on your electricity bill, look for ways to reduce your usage now, while you're thinking about it. For example, if you can turn off some lights in rooms not being used, do so. You may also want to consider replacing old appliances with energy-efficient models. These changes will help lower your consumption rate and therefore your bill.
Electricity flows along wires called conductors. The term conductor refers to any material used to carry an electrical current. Cable is a metal or plastic sheath surrounding several strands of fiber optic material (glass fibers) that transmit light beams through water or air instead of electrons. Circuit breakers protect homes and businesses from electrical malfunctions by shutting off power to damaged cables. Repairing broken cables can be difficult because of the location of these installations. If one section gets damaged, all of the cable becomes useless until it is replaced.
Underground power cables are often hidden in ducts between 0.45m and 1m below the ground's surface, or they may be covered with a layer of tiles, boards, or colored plastic tape 150mm above the ground. The latter method is used for urban streets where there is not enough space under buildings to bury cables.
The depth that cables need to be buried depends on several factors such as the soil type and its moisture content, the distance between poles, and whether the cable will be exposed to weather conditions. For example, cables that will be exposed to rainstorms or snowstorms should be buried deeper than those that will not. Cables that pass over an air duct work zone should be placed at least 1m from the edge of the duct work zone to avoid damage due to high-speed winds.
In general, if you follow these guidelines, you will be able to locate most underground power cables. If in doubt, dig some holes!