Romex is a kind of wire which is made by a brand called Southwire Company. This cable is widely used for residential purposes and is widely used in the United States.
You may ask if Romex can be buried. Let us help you find out if you can do that and know some important information about it as well.
Can Romex be buried?
Romex cannot be buried. They are not approved or designed by the manufacturer for direct burial. When you bury Romex cables, it may be in wet conditions which are not suitable for this kind of wire. You must run the wire in a conduit and bury it at a certain depth.
Romex is a popular cable brand used by many people in their residential or commercial buildings. It is a non-metallic paper bonded cable with a PVC jacket. But it is not rated to be buried.
The manufacturer has not rated it for that kind of usage and it should be used like that without a conduit.
Romex cannot be buried in concrete. Sometimes you may need to wire inside a concrete slab or wall. But you cannot bury a Romex in concrete. The reason behind this is that it does not have the certification nor the protection to be used in concrete.
If you want to bury it in concrete then you will have to improvise a bit. You may have to use conduits or runaway in the concrete to run Romex cables. It will protect the cables from any harm.
Romex cannot be buried underground as well. You may need to run some wires under the ground of your residential or commercial building. But for that, Romex is not a good choice. It does not have the proper shielding for that.
Besides, the manufacturer does not provide the certification nor the approval to bury it underground because it may be wet.
Can Romex be buried without conduit?
No, Romex cannot be buried without conduit. Romex cables do not have enough protective layers. It is only protected with a layer of PVC jacket. This makes a Romex cable vulnerable in exposed conditions.
The cable cannot be buried without an extra layer of protection. Therefore, you need to use a conduit whenever you try to bury this cable. Conduit is a pipe made of a strong material that protects the wire that runs through it.
When you run a Romex wire through it, it will be protected properly and can be buried wherever you need to.
Romex cannot be directly buried. As Romex is a cable with a light protective layer, therefore it cannot be directly buried. You need to use a conduit to bury it.
How deep does Romex need to be buried?
A Romex in a conduit can be buried 6 – 24 inches deep according to the National Electric Code depending on the type of conduit and type of Romex you are using.
According to the NEC, if you use a metallic conduit to bury a Romex wire, then it needs to be buried 6 inches deep below the surface. You can also bury it 4 inches deep under a 3 – 4 inches concrete slab.
But if you use a non-metallic conduit, like PVC, then you will have to bury it 18 inches deep under the surface based on the NEC. Moreover, if you are using UF-type Romex cables, then you can bury it directly 24 inches or deeper under the surface according to your requirement.
But whatever depth you bury your Romex cable, you should do the work according to the NEC or you may get into issues in the future with an inspector.
How long can you run Romex buried?
Based on the wire size (AWG) and circuit voltage, you can run 50 – 100 feet long Romex buried according to the National Building Code (NEC). In the United States, the circuit voltage is often an average of 120 volts.
Also, the NEC recommends a maximum of 3 percent voltage drop on individual branch circuits.
Therefore, if you have buried 14 AWG Romex, then you can run up to 50 feet of it. If you use 12, 10, 8, and 6 AWG Romex while buried, then accordingly you can run up to around 60, 64, 76, and 94 feet.
All of these lengths are based on the NEC law of 3 percent voltage drop and other necessary parameters.
Is there a Romex that can be buried without conduit?
Yes, there is a Romex that can be buried without a conduit. Although normal Romex cables are not rated for outdoor usage while buried, you can still use them if you use a conduit. Conduit keeps it safe from the wet environment which may damage the cable.
But there is a type of Romex cable that can be buried without conduit. It is known as a UF-rated wire. These can be directly buried without any conduit. According to the NEC, you will have to bury it 24 inches deep from the surface to use it.
What type of Romex can be buried?
Romex cables are not usually made for outside use. Their main purpose of usage is indoor wiring. Romex cables are popular for their ease of availability and reliability for a long period.
But there are types of Romex that can be buried. If you want to know which Romex can you bury, then let us help you know that by discussing some commonly used Romex cable types available in the market and used in the community as well:
12/2 Romex cannot be buried. It just comes with a PVC jacket as outer protection. This is not enough protection for underground wiring. Mostly because wet soil is not good for any wires that do not have good protection and it may damage the wire.
6/3 Romex can be buried. It is known as a UF-B-certified cable. It can be used in wet, dry, and corrosive locations. So, it can be buried. But according to the NEC, the temperature of the 6/3 Romex cannot exceed 194 degrees Fahrenheit.
Outdoor Romex can be buried. This is a UF-type cable. Therefore, you can bury it directly. But according to the NEC, it should be buried 24 inches deep from the surface.
How to bury Romex?
There are multiple ways that you can follow to bury Romex. Here are our selected steps to do it easily without any hassle:
Lay the pathway:
You must mark the pathway that you want to run the Romex through. You should take the shortest and most direct route from your source to your target location to get the best result.
Dig the soil:
After marking the pathway to your target, use a trenching shovel and dig a narrow channel from the source to the target. Dig deep enough according to the type of conduit you are using by following the NEC.
Lay the conduit:
After you finish digging the soil, lay the conduit that you want to use. Lay it evenly on the hole that you have just dug. You can skip this part if you are using a UF-type Romex and want to directly bury it.
Set the Romex:
If you are setting the Romex through a conduit, then use fish tape and take the cable from one end to another. Use cable lubricant if you need to move the cable easily.
But if you want to bury the Romex directly, ensure that you are using an UF-type Romex cable. Fill in the hole with soil and you are done after connecting the Romex to the source and target.
What wire can be directly buried?
There are various wires available in the market that can be directly buried. These wires are called UF-type wires according to the NEC. They can be buried directly in wet, dry or corrosive environment conditions though under certain parameters.
You may want to know the names of some wires that can be directly buried. Let us help you know some name wires that can be buried directly:
This is a direct burial cable. It can be directly buried in the ground without any conduit. It can sustain wet, dry, and corrosive environments.
Aluminum URD Direct Burial Wire:
This is a commonly used direct burial wire which uses aluminum. It has a strong shielding on the outside of the wire. This helps the wire to be directly buried.
UF-B Underground Feeder Cable:
There are multiple types of UF-B Underground Feeder Cable. Among them, 6/3 Romex is one of the most common.
Romex cannot be buried. It uses a thin layer of protection which is often known as PVC jacket protection. But you can still bury it using metallic and non-metallic conduits. You can also try using UF-rated Romex cables that can be directly buried but they can be costly compared to the normal Romex.