May 30, 2023
Underground Feeder Cable (UFB) Season
Let’s take a closer look at UF-B cable, what options it comes in and how you can use it in different applications.
What Is UF-B Cable?
UF-B cable is a type of cable rated for direct burial without any conduit, thanks to several characteristics that allow it to withstand those tough outdoor conditions. You’ll commonly find it used to run power to outside lamps, pumps and other equipment because of its resistance to sunlight, moisture, fungi, extreme heat and abrasion. The UF-B cable’s rugged design features also make it a good choice for corrosive or wet indoor applications.
The “B” in the acronym refers to the cable’s ability to act as a branch circuit cable.
Here’s a breakdown of the materials used to create the various components of a UF-B cable:
- Jacket: Polyvinyl chloride
- Insulation: Color-coded polyvinyl chloride and nylon
- Conductors: Solid or stranded soft or annealed soft bare copper wire
- Ground: Soft bare copper
These materials offer several high-performing ratings to a UF-B cable:
- Temperature: Up to 90℃ in dry or wet conditions
- Ampacity: 60℃.
- Voltage: 600 volts
At WesBell, we offer Southwire two- and three-conductor UF-B cables with American Wire Gauge (AWG) sizes between 6 and 14, all sold by the foot. We understand that you have exact length requirements and want to limit waste, so we allow you to purchase any length at all on UF-B cable.
UF-B Underground Cable Specifications
UF-B cable needs to meet several different standards and specifications to be approved in various applications. These include standards from UL LLC., the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS), and Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), among others:
- UL Standard 493
- UL Standard 83
- NFPA 70
- Federal specifications A-A 59544
- The National Electrical Code
- ASTM B3 and B8
Options include the number of conductor cables and the form they take — conductors can be soft or annealed solid copper or annealed and compressed stranded copper. You also have the discretion to pair the cable with a ground wire.
In addition, these cables’ characteristics deliver several advantages:
- They are insulated by PVC. PVC insulation provides benefits ranging from flame retardance to resistance to chemicals like oils and acids. It also resists damage due to abrasion.
- They are nylon jacketed to provide an additional layer of protection against extreme weather conditions such as very hot weather or humid weather that causes moisture and fungi. They are resistant to sunlight, too. In addition, since they are insulated, there is no more need to spend extra cash on insulation, including wood or pipes.
- They use color codes for fast and easy identification.
UFB Cable Applications
Underground electrical cable is more popular throughout the warmer months because trenches need to be dug in order to install it. UFB doesn’t need a conduit or tray to be installed directly underground.
Detached Garage or Barn
A detached garage or barn will need to have its own electrical box to supply power to the outlets, lights, light switches, garage doors and more. Some garages will also need additional cables set up as extension cords so that tools and machines can be instantly hooked up in a portable fashion. All of the wire and cable used to send power from the electrical box is THHN, Romex® and flexible portable cord.
However, UFB cable is used to bring all of the power to the electrical box in the first place. First, construct the new barn. Then, run UFB cable from your home’s electrical box to the garage’s electrical box. Now that the garage’s electrical box is supplied with additional AMPS it can allocate smaller amounts of power to the lights and outlets. Many garages and barns are detached, which makes UFB cable is the quickest and easiest installation because you only have to purchase one item, the electrical cable.
Outdoor Hot Tub or Spa
A new hot tub or spa installed outdoors will require an electrical cable to power it. Typically, UFB 6/3 (plus ground) will be used to run from your electrical box to your hot tub. Hopefully, there’s enough power available to supply the new hot tub.
Need More Power
You may need to bring more power from the telephone pole to your electrical box in order to have enough power to supply your entire home and the new hot tub, spa, garage or barn. A standard cable that runs from the telephone pole to your home’s electrical box will supply your home with about 200 AMPS. That’s enough to power the outlets, lights and appliances. However, taking on a project as big as a new barn, garage or hot tub, can put you over the 200 AMP limit of your current box. It all depends on the amount of electricity you want flowing to that new project!
UF-B Cables for Purchase Online
WesBell offers several kinds of UF-B cable available for purchase from trusted manufacturer Southwire. To see why it’s a cut above the rest, you’ll want to understand the technical details, specification, approval and application of this cable.
- UF-B 14/2: It is 14 AWG and contains two conductors. It has a solid strand with a ground wire size of 14. The weight per 1,000 feet is 70 pounds.
- UF-B 12/2: It is 12 AWG and contains two conductors. It has a solid strand with a ground wire size of 12. The weight per 1,000 feet is 95 pounds.
- UF-B 10/2: This cable is 10 AWG and it also has two conductors. It has a ground wire size of 10 bearing the weight of 138 pounds per 1,000 feet. It contains a solid strand.
- UF-B 8/2: This cable is 8 AWG and it also has two conductors. It has a ground wire size of 10 bearing the weight of 222 pounds per 1,000 feet. It contains seven strands.
- UF-B 6/2: This type is 6 AWG with two conductors. The weight per 1,000 feet is 303 pounds and the ground wire size is 10. It also has seven strands.
As mentioned, the Southwire cable can have three conductors. An example is the UF-B 8/3 and the UF-B 14/3. The former is 8 AWG and has seven strands and three conductors. The weight per 1,000 feet is 344 pounds. On the other hand, the latter is 14 AWG with three conductors. The weight per 1,000 feet is 96 pounds and the ground wire size is 14. It has a solid strand. The Southwire UF-B Cable provides a wide array of options to suit the different needs of consumers.
WesBell Electronics UFB Wires
WesBell Electronics has been a trusted provider of cables for over 30 years, and our UF-B cables from Southwire are a popular choice for tough outdoor and indoor conditions. Here at WesBell, we provide customer service that’s second to none. Our expert staff can help you find the right cable for your application and will even process the cables so they’re ready to go when you receive them. You won’t have to spend valuable time cutting, stripping or terminating your UF-B power cable.