There are several advantages to underground electrical conduits, with the most important of them being public safety. The installation job itself is not easy though, and wrong decisions can lead to additional problems and increased expenses. Thanks to the experience and technology at our disposal today, it is possible to avoid making most of those mistakes. The following paragraphs will largely focus on the most important aspects of a successful underground conduit installation.
Choosing the Right Conduit Material
Underground conduits need to be sturdy, waterproof, heat resistant and pressure-resistant, which is why the choice of materials is not particularly long. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and steel are some of the common choices that you will have, but there is something better.
Fiberglass reinforced epoxy (FRE), according to Home Tipsor specialists, is the best conduit on the market because the material is lighter than steel, doesn’t deposit as many toxic residues around it in the soil as its alternatives, and it does not rust or corrode either. In fact, fiberglass reinforced epoxy conduit systems are used in underwater facilities because of the material’s incredible durability and they are likely to replace other materials such as PVC and HDPE completely in the future.
Securing the Trench
After digging the trenches, they must be secured before the installation process can even begin. Experts advise following the steps closely, as stated below:
- All forms of hard debris must be removed from the trench, which includes but is not limited to hard clumps, stones, rocks, glass, plastic, etc.
- Remove or dry out any water present in the trench
- If the water is connected to a source (a pond, river, or underground well for example), the location should be recalibrated
There should be at least two feet of soil between any source of ground water and the conduit’s base.
Compacting and Leveling of the Soil Base
Before laying the conduits down, the soil inside the trench must be compacted and then leveled first. This will serve to maintain uniform lining and support for each piece, once the encasings are lain down into the trench. Using a soil compactor is highly advised, because the ground will not stay level and sag without compaction, once the lines have been buried.
Vertical Walls are Necessary
Slopes allow for increased earth pressure, displacement of the conduits and shifting of the base soil. It is therefore important to keep the trench walls as smooth and straight as possible, before closing it back.
Backfill with Approved Granular Material Only
Just like there cannot be any sharp or hard objects in the base, none of the potentially damaging stuff can be on top of the conduits either. Follow the rules approved and practiced for backfilling a trench with conduits in it as stated here.
Keep in mind that at least one foot of non-organic granular material must be used to protect the conduits from up top. Also, even the backfill must be compacted beforehand to prevent air and water penetration as much as possible.