When researching the different types of underground feeder cables, you may come across USE and USE-2. They are commonly used to supply power to residential homes and commercial buildings. Underground feeder cables can be buried directly in the ground. They will withstand the moisture of the soil without failing. While USE and USE-2 cables are both classified as underground feeder cables, however, they aren’t the same.
Overview of the USE Specification
The term “USE” refers to “underground service entrance.” Service entrance drops are used to supply power from transformers, as well as solar panels, to residential homes and commercial buildings. Some of them are overhead. Other service entrance drops are underground. For the latter, USE or USE-2 cables are used.
What Are USE Cables?
USE cables are heavy-duty power cables that are designed for use in the ground. They can be buried directly in the ground. Most underground service entrances feature either USE or USE-2 cable. As previously mentioned, they are underground feeder cables that supply power to residential homes and commercial buildings.
What Are USE-2 Cables?
USE-2 cables are essentially the same as USE cables but with one key difference. Like USE cables, they are designed for use in the ground. Both USE and USE-2 cables can withstand the harsh environment of the soil. They are resistant to moisture, heat and even pressure. Other types of cables — specifically non-underground feeder cables — may fail when buried directly in the ground. USE and USE-2 cables, though, are designed to hold up when buried. They will continue to offer a safe and reliable conductive pathway from outdoor transformers to the residential homes and commercial buildings with which they are used.
What’s the difference between USE and USE-2 cables exactly? While they are both designed for use in the ground, USE-2 cables have a higher temperature rating. They can withstand more heat than their USE counterparts.
Choosing Between USE and USE-2 Cables
You can still find USE cables available for sale, but they’ve been largely replaced by USE-2 cables. USE-2 cables offer all of the same benefits as USE cables; the only real difference is that USE-2 cables have a higher temperature rating.
The higher temperature of USE-2 cables makes them ideal for solar panel installations and other electrical applications. They are highly resistant to sunlight, gasoline, oil and other contaminants as well. Most importantly perhaps, USE-2 cables have a wet/dry temperature rating of 90 degrees Celsius.