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Free Printable Conduit Fill Chart [PDF] NEC, PVT, EMC

    Electricians and electrical engineers rely on conduit fill charts as an essential reference when designing and installing electrical conduit systems. These charts provide valuable data to ensure the National Electrical Code (NEC) regulations for maximum fill capacities are followed. Though conduit fill charts may seem technical and daunting to those outside the electrical trades, they serve an important purpose in maintaining safety and proper system performance.

    This topic will examine what conduit fill charts show, how to read and use them correctly, and provide a printable version for reference. With the right understanding, these charts can be a handy tool rather than a source of confusion. Adhering to the fill rate limits is crucial for protecting wires from damage and overheating. As a valuable resource for those in the field, this article also offers a printable PDF version of the chart, streamlining the process of reference and application for professionals on the go.

    What is the Conduit Fill Chart?

    Conduit Fill Chart
    Conduit Fill Chart

    The Conduit Fill Chart is a reference tool used in the electrical industry to determine the maximum number of wires or cables that can safely fit within a given type and size of electrical conduit. It helps ensure that conduits are not overloaded, which can lead to overheating and compromised integrity of the insulation. The chart typically specifies the allowable fill percentages based on the conduit material, type, and size, accounting for the specific types and sizes of wires or cables being used. This aids electricians and engineers in ensuring safe and efficient installations that adhere to regulatory standards.

    Conduit Fill Chart Printable

    Conduit fill charts in PDF format provide a useful reference for electricians calculating maximum capacity for conduit runs. The fill chart PDF condenses key data from the National Electrical Code into a one-page worksheet. This makes the code requirements quick and easy to access in the field or office.

    The fill chart PDF organizes information in tables for different conduit types and wire configurations. Tables show allowable fill percentages for each conduit size based on the number and type of conductors. Separate tables cover common wiring like THHN wire in EMT conduit, as well as specify fills for insulated vs uninsulated conductors.

    Electricians can use the conduit fill chart PDF to quickly look up the maximum capacity for a desired conduit run. The fill percentages help determine the optimal conduit size needed for the number and type of conductors. Having this key reference available as a PDF fill chart allows for convenient access digitally or as a printed sheet. The organized fill data saves electricians time when sizing conduit runs to meet National Electrical Code capacity requirements.

    Importance of Adhering to NEC Standards

    Following the capacity limits set by the National Electrical Code (NEC) is crucial when utilizing conduit fill charts. The NEC provides the conduit fill percentage restrictions based on extensive research and testing to determine safe limits. Overfilling conduit can lead to a myriad of hazards including overheated wires, damage to conductor insulation, increased risk of faults/fires, and interference with proper operation of protective devices like circuit breakers.

    Exceeding stated capacities also violates legal electrical codes and could result in rework, fines, or even serious liability in the event of an incident. Strict adherence to the fill rates specified in the NEC ensures electrical safety, system longevity, and legal compliance. The conduit fill charts are designed to make following NEC standards straightforward and efficient for installers. Utilizing these charts appropriately allows adherence without requiring memorization of code details.

    Understanding Key Terms

    When working with electrical installations and the National Electrical Code (NEC), electricians and engineers need to be familiar with important terminology. While some of these terms may seem straightforward initially, recognizing their full meanings and uses is essential. Let’s take a look at a few of the key terms involved with conduit fill calculations:


    A conduit is a tubing system used to protect and route electrical wiring. Made from materials such as metal, plastic, or fiber, conduits offer a safeguard against damage, environmental factors, or interference that can compromise the integrity of electrical wires.

    Fill Percentage

    Fill percentage refers to the amount of space inside a conduit occupied by wires or cables. NEC guidelines stipulate the maximum fill percentages for different conduit types and sizes to ensure safety. Overfilling can lead to overheating and reduced insulation lifespan.


    In electrical terms, a conductor is a material that allows electric current to flow with minimal resistance. Copper and aluminum are two common conductive materials used in wiring. In a broader sense, “conductor” can also refer to a single wire or a bundle of wires serving the same function.


    A bundle refers to a group of conductors or cables wrapped or tied together, often running parallel for a certain distance within a conduit or cable tray. Bundling can influence heat dissipation, which is why the NEC has specific rules about how many cables can be bundled together and for how long.


    A raceway is a channel of metal or insulating material, explicitly designed to hold and protect wires or cables. Conduits, ducts, and cable trays are all types of raceways.


    Derating involves reducing the maximum operating temperature or current-carrying capacity of a conductor based on specific conditions, such as the number of conductors in a conduit or the ambient temperature. Adhering to derating guidelines is essential to prevent overheating and potential fire hazards.


    Insulation is a non-conductive material that surrounds a conductor, preventing unwanted current flow to other conductors or grounded surfaces. It ensures that the current flows only where intended and provides protection against electric shocks or short circuits.


    Grounding is the practice of connecting an electrical system or appliance to the earth using a ground wire or electrode. It ensures that any fault current is safely dissipated into the earth, protecting people and equipment from potential harm.


    Ampacity, or current-carrying capacity, is the maximum amount of electric current a conductor can carry before exceeding its temperature rating. The ampacity of a conductor depends on its material, size, and insulation type, among other factors.

    Types of Conduits

    In the world of electrical installations, conduits serve as protective pathways for electrical wires, ensuring they remain safe from external damages and hazards. There are several types of conduits, each with its unique set of characteristics and suited applications. Here’s a detailed look into some of the most commonly used conduits:

    1. Rigid Metal Conduit (RMC)

    • Description: RMC is a thick-walled conduit made of steel or aluminum. It is known for its robustness and is often used in environments where strong protection is required.
    • Applications: It is commonly found in commercial installations, underground service installations, and areas prone to severe damage.
    • Advantages: RMC offers excellent protection against physical damage and can be used in both exposed and concealed locations. Additionally, it provides a continuous ground for electrical systems.

    2. Intermediate Metal Conduit (IMC)

    • Description: IMC, as its name suggests, sits between RMC and EMT in terms of thickness. It is made from steel with a galvanized finish, making it resistant to corrosion and physical damage.
    • Applications: Used in areas where slightly less protection than RMC is required but more than EMT. Ideal for industrial and commercial installations.
    • Advantages: IMC is lighter than RMC, easier to work with, and offers substantial physical protection while being more cost-effective than RMC.

    3. Electrical Metallic Tubing (EMT)

    • Description: EMT is a thin-walled conduit made from steel or aluminum. It is lightweight and easy to bend.
    • Applications: EMT is used for a variety of indoor applications and some outdoor settings when adequately protected from moisture. It’s common in residential and light commercial installations.
    • Advantages: EMT is less expensive than RMC and IMC, easy to install, and can be bent to desired angles at the job site.

    4. PVC Schedule 40 and 80

    • Description: PVC conduits are non-metallic and made from plastic. Schedule 40 is the standard wall thickness, while Schedule 80 is thicker and offers more protection.
    • Applications: PVC conduits are mostly used for underground installations or in corrosive environments where metal conduits may degrade.
    • Advantages: These conduits are resistant to rust and corrosion. Schedule 80, being thicker, is especially suited for areas prone to damage, while Schedule 40 is lighter and easier to work with.

    5. Flexible Metal Conduit (FMC)

    • Description: Also known as “Greenfield” or “flex,” FMC is made of a spirally wound metal, often steel. It’s flexible, allowing it to snake through places where rigid conduits might be challenging to install.
    • Applications: FMC is usually found in short runs, such as connections to motors or other devices that may need flexibility.
    • Advantages: Provides flexibility in tight or curved areas where rigid conduit systems can’t be used.

    6. Liquid-tight Flexible Metal Conduit (LFMC)

    • Description: LFMC is similar to FMC but has a waterproof jacket, typically made of plastic or rubber, surrounding the metal.
    • Applications: It’s used in settings where the conduit may be exposed to moisture or liquids, such as air conditioning units, outdoor equipment, and some industrial applications.
    • Advantages: LFMC provides both flexibility and protection against moisture or liquid exposure.

    Types of Conductors

    THHN/THWN: One of the most versatile wire types, THHN/THWN stands for “Thermoplastic High Heat-resistant Nylon-coated” and “Thermoplastic Heat and Water-resistant Nylon-coated,” respectively. Originally, THHN was designed for dry environments while THWN was intended for wet conditions. However, most modern wires come dual-rated, making them suitable for both. These conductors are primarily used in conduit and cable trays for services, feeders, and branch circuits in commercial or industrial applications due to their durability and resistance to heat or moisture.

    XHHW: Short for “Cross-Linked High Heat-resistant Water-resistant,” XHHW is a type of conductor insulation that’s known for its resistance to abrasion, moisture, and heat. Made from cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE), XHHW wires are often utilized in residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. The cross-linking process gives the insulation improved properties over other thermoplastic insulations, making it particularly durable for challenging environments.

    UF: “Underground Feeder” (UF) cables are specifically designed for underground use and direct burial. These conductors are typically insulated with a solid thermoplastic that is moisture, corrosion, and sunlight resistant. Their robust design makes them ideal for outdoor lighting and other direct burial applications, ensuring longevity even in the face of harsh environmental factors.

    Romex (NM-B): Romex is a brand name often used synonymously with NM-B, which stands for “Non-Metallic Sheathed Cable Type B.” Typically found in residential settings, this wire consists of two or more insulated conductors contained in a non-metallic sheath. It’s a preferred choice for home wiring due to its ease of use and the fact that it eliminates the need for conduit in certain applications. The NM-B designation indicates it’s a newer version with a higher temperature rating.

    MC Cable: “Metal Clad” (MC) cable is a type of electrical wiring distinguished by its metallic sheath. This sheathing not only acts as a grounding means but also offers protection, eliminating the need for additional conduits in some applications. MC cables are commonly used in commercial settings for branch circuits, services, and feeders. Their robust construction makes them suitable for both exposed and concealed work, especially in environments where added protection against fire, physical damage, or certain atmospheric conditions is necessary.

    Conduit Fill Charts

    Trade SizeConductor Size AWG/kcmil. For Cable Type(THWN, THHN] 
    2 1/5EMT24117611164462824201512108765443221
    3 1/5EMT4763472191269156474029252017141110986544

    Determining Conduit Size

    Selecting the appropriate conduit size is a critical decision when planning any electrical wiring project. There are several factors that determine the optimal size conduit for a particular application. By following key steps to calculate required capacity, electricians can ensure the conduit provides adequate protection for safe wire pulling, installation, and operation.

    Factors Affecting Conduit Size Selection

    There are a few key considerations when deciding conduit size:

    • Wire/Cable Size and Quantity – The size (awg gauge) and number of conductors determines overall capacity needed. Multiple large wires require more area than a few small wires.
    • Wire Type – Insulation thickness varies on wire/cable type, affecting the space needed in conduit. Types like THHN are slimmer than others like XHHW.
    • Conduit Fill Percentage – Max fill rates allowed by National Electrical Code depend on conduit size and wire count/type. Cannot exceed fill percentage.
    • Future Expansion – Ample extra room is needed if additional circuits may be added later. Always size above present needs.
    • Ambient Temperature – Hot environments require larger conduit to allow heat dissipation and prevent conductor overheating.
    • Wiring Method – Certain methods like pulling cables in bundles needs more space than individually pulled wires.
    • Distance and Bends – Long conduit runs with multiple bends require larger size to reduce wire pull tension and friction.
    • Vibration Resistance – Rigid, thicker wall metal conduit provides greater structural and vibration resistance in dynamic environments.

    Steps to Determine Proper Conduit Size

    1. Identify electrical current and voltage requirements

    The ampacities and voltages of equipment being fed by the conduit must be determined based on electrical system design. This establishes basic power requirements.

    1. Select appropriate wire size

    Choose wire sizes and types (e.g THHN, XHHW) based on ampacity ratings and voltages. Account for de-rating factors if needed.

    1. Count necessary conductors

    Factor in the number of hot, neutral, and grounding conductors required in the conduit. Also account for any control wires or auxiliary circuits that will be installed.

    1. Determine total fill area

    Look up the cross-sectional area per conductor in fill tables based on size and type chosen in Step 2. Multiply by total number of wires from Step 3.

    1. Consider expansion potential

    If additional circuits may be added in the future, increase estimated fill area by at least 25% as a minimum.

    1. Factor in fill reductions

    Derating fill area may be required for hot environments or crammed, difficult pulls. Consult fill tables for reduction factors.

    1. Identify candidate conduit sizes

    Determine standard conduit sizes (trade sizes) that allow for the required fill area with NEC maximum fill percentages.

    1. Evaluate installation environment

    Consider fill area, temperature, vibration, and wire pull distances and bends to select the optimal conduit size. Size up if borderline.

    1. Confirm compliance with NEC

    Cross-check final conduit size with Chapter 9 fill tables in the NEC to guarantee compliance with fill percentage limits.

    How to Calculate Conduit Fill

    Calculating conduit fill is crucial to ensure the safe and compliant installation of electrical wires and cables. This ensures that the conduit isn’t overcrowded, which can result in overheating and potential hazards. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to calculate conduit fill:

    Understand the National Electrical Code (NEC) Guidelines

    Before you begin, familiarize yourself with NEC Article 310, which outlines the percentage of conduit fill based on the number of wires:

    • One wire: 53% of the conduit’s cross-sectional area.
    • Two wires: 31% of the conduit’s cross-sectional area.
    • Three or more wires: 40% of the conduit’s cross-sectional area.

    Determine the Conduit’s Cross-Sectional Area

    This can usually be found in manufacturer datasheets. However, for a round conduit, you can calculate the area using the formula:


    Calculate the Area of Each Wire

    • For circular wires, the formula is:

    Area=3.14×(Diameter of the wire2)2Area=π×(2Diameter of the wire​)2

    • For non-circular wires (like some data cables), refer to manufacturer’s datasheets for the exact cross-sectional area.

    Calculate the Total Area of Wires

    Multiply each wire’s area by the number of each type of wire you’ll be running through the conduit, and then sum up these areas.

    Total Area of Wires=Wire1 Area×Number of Wire1+Wire2 Area×Number of Wire2+…Total Area of Wires=Wire1 Area×Number of Wire1+Wire2 Area×Number of Wire2+…

    Determine the Maximum Allowable Conduit Fill

    Using the percentages from the NEC guidelines:

    Max Fill Area=Conduit Cross-Sectional Area×NEC PercentageMax Fill Area=Conduit Cross-Sectional Area×NEC Percentage

    Compare Total Wire Area with Max Fill Area

    If the total wire area (from step 4) is less than or equal to the maximum allowable fill area (from step 5), you’re compliant. If it’s greater, you’ll need to use a larger conduit or reduce the number of wires.

    Consider Other Factors

    • Bending: Too many wires can make it difficult to bend the conduit, especially if it’s flexible.
    • Future Expansion: If there’s a chance more wires will be added in the future, consider this in your initial calculations.
    • Heat: More wires can lead to more heat. Ensure that the insulation type of the wires can withstand potential temperatures.

    Document and Review

    Always document your calculations and periodically review them, especially if any modifications are made to the system later.


    What is the maximum fill percentage?

    The National Electrical Code (NEC) typically limits fill to 40% for three or more conductors in a conduit. However, there are variations, like a 60% fill limit for one conductor and a 30% fill limit for two conductors.

    Does the type of wire insulation matter for conduit fill?

    Yes, the type of wire insulation (e.g., THHN, THWN) can affect the wire’s outer diameter and thus impact the number of wires that can fit in a conduit.

    Can different sized wires be in the same conduit?

    Yes, conduits can contain different sized wires, but the combined total cross-sectional area of all wires should not exceed the conduit fill percentage.

    Does conduit type (PVC, EMT, RMC, etc.) matter for conduit fill?

    Yes, different types of conduit may have different inner diameters, affecting the number of wires they can accommodate.

    How do I account for bends in the conduit?

    While bends do not directly affect conduit fill calculations, they can make pulling wires more challenging. More bends may require a higher pulling force.

    Is there a difference between conduit fill for power and communications cables?

    Yes, communications cables like CAT5 or CAT6 typically have different diameter and construction than power cables, leading to different fill calculations.

    Where can I find a conduit fill chart?

    Conduit fill charts can often be found in electrical reference books, online resources, and within the National Electrical Code (NEC) guidelines.

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    Betina Jessen

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