Ensuring Your Cables Go The Distance

5 factors that impact the lifespan of a cable

Nexans cables in static installations are designed for a typical service of, in many cases, several decades. There are, however, many factors that affect cables, but with care and good planning your cables’ lifespan can be optimized. The most significant factors to keep in mind include:


  1. Selecting the right cable for the application: Don’t try to substitute a lower-cost cable that may do the job. Follow specification guidelines and local/national electrical codes to select the correct cable for your application. If you’re not sure, discuss the application requirements with your Nexans representative or distributor.
  2. Type of cable:  Cable construction will impact the expected life of a cable, with the most important factors being insulation type, temperature rating, armoring (if required) and outer jacket material. For example, XLPE is a more robust insulation than PVC and offers a higher rated temperature. This will help with expected lifespan (e.g.,  90°C vs 75°C).
  3. Cable shipping, handling, and installation:  Protection of the cable prior to installation is essential for longer cable life. Cables mistakenly dropped, impacted by a fork truck or run over may not show much external damage but inside they most likely have damaged conductors or ruptured insulation that will lead to premature failure. Also take care when deploying lengths of cable to avoid over-tensioning or exceeding the cable’s stated bend radius. These factors also lead to early failure. We also recommended keeping your cables in a dry location and protected from weather.
  4. Circuit loading conditions: Cable temperatures due to circuit loading conditions will impact their useful life, especially temperatures over the rating such as 100°C for a 90°C rated cable. Excess heat will stress the insulation and cause it to deteriorate.
  5. Number of overload, short-circuit, and any other adverse electrical conditions.


Many of our cables have been in service for 40+ years. While it’s hard to predict how long each cable will last, modern insulating and jacketing materials combined with manufacturing expertise puts the odds of a long, productive cable life in your favor.