Romex or metal sheath wiring?

zagyzebraJuly 17, 2013

Our house will soon be brought to its studs in an extensive restoration. A contractor we had at the house recently said that using metal sheathed wiring inside the walls is much preferable to romex. He said metal is safer (less of a fire hazard) than plastic, and inspectors are impressed when they see it used. Then another contractor said that was nonsense, that he was just trying to weasel more money out of us because it is more expensive and in fact is more of a fire hazard because the metal heats up! I am CONFUSED.

I know I can trust objective GardenWeb experts. So I'm throwing it out there to you. Romex or metal sheathed wire? And why?

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Unless a state or local law requires the use of metal-sheathed cabling, the use of it does increase the cost. I have the "Romex" in my house-- by my choice.
Based on what you posted, both electricians are feeding you some baloney. Find a third one and keep your BS sensor alert.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2013 at 8:44PM
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Use what's required by local code. There is no advantage using a metal clad cable over a plastic clad cable.

Now, if someone wanted to use metal conduit...that would be a different story.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 2:02AM
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MC is quite a bit more expensive and not necessary in a residential situation. It requires the use of metal boxes, connectors, ground tails...... the list goes on and on. I would not recommend it. It is a waste of money better spent on other things.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 4:49PM
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One disadvantage of romex is the plactic covering is very vulnerable to nail punctures from people driving nails in walls at later dates to hang mirrors, shelves etc.
Also, my electrician once told me of a short circuit fire that he has seen after a mouse or other rodent had gnawed at the plastic covered romex wires in a residential garage.
Yes, amoured metal cable (bx) it is more expensive but it is also more durable.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 12:51AM
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The metal sheathing is not strong enough to present much resistance to nail punctures. The codes specify that cables are to be held at least 1 1/4" from the nailing face of framing members.
Rodents chewing and creating a short circuit? Possible, but not likely. Try this experiment. Take a piece of NM cable and use a knife, not at the end but in the run of the cable, to simulate rodent chewing to actually make the conductors touch. Not at all easy to do. The critter will be electrocuted before it happens. I have found dead squirrels lodged on cables that were functioning quite well.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2013 at 9:15AM
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