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By opting to buy 3M electrical tapes online, you can be certain of getting more variety to choose from. Moreover, you are more likely to find good bargains on the web. Buying from actual stone and mortar stores will deprive you of the wide variety of these cables available online. The prices are also likely to be fixed, with no discounts unless you buy in bulk.
However, while it is more convenient and cheaper to buy 3M electrical tapes online, there are certain factors to keep in mind. These are the considerations that you need to deal with before you hit the buy button.
What You'll Use the Electric Tape for
The overriding factor to consider when choosing an electric tape is what it will be used for. Your electric tape will be useless if it is not suited for the application you bought it for. Here are some of the most common uses for 3m electrical tape:
Color-coding and Phasing
The main reason you find electrical tape in a variety of colors has to do with the practice of using color codes for different electrical cables. Particular colors indicate the voltage level and the phase of an electric cable. Electricians master these color codes to avoid hazards and accidents. By having an electric tape that matches each kind of cable voltage and phasing, safety is increased during home improvement projects.
There are different electric color-codes for different geographical regions. It is therefore important to match the tape to the correct standard.
The splicing of electrical tapes has been developed in recent years as a safety precaution and they have a great demand in the market. Before electricians started splicing wires, they used to either solder ends of connected cables or twist them to make connections. Even when covered with insulating tapes, such joints were vulnerable. Accidents and damages would occur with time. With splicing though, electric wires are spliced with nuts or other safe means of termination. 3M electrical tape is optimized for insulating and ensuring the safety of spliced electric wire connections.
Repairs and Insulation of Wires and Harnesses
Electric tape is essential when performing small and routine repairs in and around the home. With the tape, you do not have to replace the entire wire or jacket. You can also use electric tape to protect cables and harnesses.
The utility value and longevity of an electric cable is determined by its stretching ability and how it can stretch back to form. Low-grade tape tends to stretch less consistently and does not return to original dimensions after being stretched. A tape that tends to try to return to its original shape and dimension after being stretched is more preferable. Such a tape will be more reliable as it can hold to place tightly after it is applied. Poor quality tape, on the other hand, tends to become loose and can cause accidents even immediately after it is applied.
Polymeric or Monomeric Construction
The quality of an electric tape depends on factors such as its construction, materials, and thickness. An electric tape can either be of monomeric or polymeric construction. Monomeric electric tapes are constructed from short-chain hydrocarbon carbon molecules. They are cheaper and more lightweight. As such, they are only useful for lightweight applications and short-term repairs.
Polymeric electric tapes are made from sturdier, long-chain hydrocarbons. The tapes are sturdier and more robust in materials and construction. This makes them ideal for heavy-duty work. They are preferred for use in insulation work that is meant to stay reliable and functioning for years. You can tell if an electric tape is made of monomeric or polymeric materials by checking its grading.
Compliance to Industry Standards
If you want an electrical tape that is guaranteed to be fit for the job and free from safety weaknesses, you need to check its designation. The best electrical tapes are designated to comply with the highest standards. Specifically, you should be careful to ensure that the tape you buy and use at your home meets the local building codes in your area. Certain internationally accepted standards can help you determine the quality and usefulness of electrical tape. These include CSA approval and UL listing. They indicate that the tape has been rigorously tested and been certified in its performance and quality of construction.
Practical and Easy in Application
Even if a certain electric tape meets the highest standards of construction but proves hard to use, it is of little help. Always go for an electrical tape that can be easily applied to electric wires and around confined spaces. Preferably, the tape should also be easy to tear off using your hand, not necessarily with a cutting tool. Moreover, the electrical tape should be easy to apply without twisting or curling around the roll.