Five Benefits of an Underground Electrical System
Thanks to technology and advancing concerns for safety, economics and aesthetics of place, wiring systems of the past are moving underground. More often found in new construction, there are actually two ways to obtain an underground electrical system: during brand new builds or as an undergrounding project, which is the replacement of existing, overhead cables. As these types of advanced systems grow in popularity, their benefits are often categorized in five ways. Below is further information about this option of underground electrical wire installation or replacement.
Benefit #1: Safety
At Afton Electric, LLC, safety is the first priority, therefore, the safety features of an underground electrical system are at the top of the list. As these types of systems are tangibly separated from humans, the dangers of electrocution are significantly reduced. Traditional, overhead circuits are not only more exposed to the public but associated with things such as ladders, kites, RVs and truck booms. Contact between these items and power lines can be deadly. Underground power lines are also less susceptible to outages caused by high winds, ice and thunderstorms; further, they do not emit an electric field and can be engineered to emit a lower magnetic field than above-ground systems. Even in times of failure, underground prevails, as the wires locate grounding instantly instead of throwing arcs to locate the nearest earthing point. A lack of poles is another point for underground electricity; there is no risk of damage from a fall.
Benefit #2: Reliability
In Texas, we know the weather can change from quiet to severe at the drop of a hat. Even in calm weather conditions, exposed power lines can be disrupted by wildlife, dead tree limbs or vehicle mishaps. None of these are concerns for underground networks out of reach of these elements; additional security is tied to the covered concrete-lined culverts or troughs commonly used in fitting. Moreover, underground wire installations typically experience significantly fewer interruptions, both short-term and long duration. There is typically less voltage drop because reactance is lower. Having higher reactance leads to smaller current results for the amount of applied voltage. The fail rate is also improved underground: while outdoor power lines normally fault about 90 times per year, underground lines usually fail less than 10 times per year. What’s more, underground electrical systems have lower transmission losses and better absorb emergency power loads.
Benefit #3: Lower cost maintenance
While initial costs of underground electrical wiring are often higher than overhead wiring, the overall costs are often considered equal, if not less, for underground. This is because underground cabling tends to be more economical to operate and maintain. One reason is there is less required reactive work, such as tree trimming. This type of upkeep is definitely the largest budget piece for distribution operations and maintenance departments, not to mention an often unexpected chuck from an annual residential budget. The other side of lower maintenance costs come in the cables themselves, which see less degradation than visible cabling. Underground power lines have longer life cycles and require fewer man-hours. Technology in the field of electrical wiring now allows for high-quality underground joints, connectors and seals to best avoid damage from water, mud and dirt.
Benefit #4: Aesthetics
Sometimes, the reason a choice is made is simple: underground wiring is definitely more aesthetically-pleasing than skies and streets lined with big, oily poles and strings of cables. More often than not, urban planners and landscape architects prefer electrical lines to be buried in order to reduce visual pollution and maintain the unity of their design. Instead of wires, trees and other plantings can flourish under blue skies and clean architecture. Texans are especially fond of our big open spaces, and we do what we can to keep them that way.
Benefit #5: More universal
No one knows land variations better than us; every region of the Lone Star State presents different geographical challenges when establishing power to a residence or commercial structure. Utilizing underground electrical installation allows access to a wider variety of areas, especially for new construction, as a narrower band of land is needed. Similarly, historical, as well as culturally significant sites and buildings benefit from the smaller footprint of sub-terrain power. More options for building are opened when power safety, reliability, maintenance, aesthetics and universality are no longer concerns.
Interested in installing or upgrading to an underground electrical system? Learn more about this underground electrical wire installation by contacting New Braunfels-based Afton Electric, an electric company specializing in residential electric service, custom electrical projects and home automation, electrical repair, new construction and commercial electrical installation.