What Type of Electrical Wire to Use for Home?

There are basically two concerns to address when deciding as to what type of electrical wire to use at home – one is the size of electrical wire and the other is the safety issue related to wiring conditions. Lets know in this article about how to know what size and what type of electric wire to use for home!

Use Right Size of Electrical Wire!

As far as size of wire is concerned, it is determined by the wire guage system, apart from which you must also pay attention towards wire capacity, and what the wire will feed. When the wire guage is smaller, its amapcity increases. Ampacity can be explained as the safe amount of current that a wire can handle without getting hot enough to cause a fire. Some of the popular appliances and needs found in most of the houses, their rated ampacity (within brackets) and required wire guage have been mentioned below for your guidance.
  • Low-voltage lighting and lamp cords (10 Amps)- 18 guage
  • Extension Cords (13 Amps)- 16 guage
  • Air Conditioners (110-volt ), Sump Pumps, Kitchen Appliances (20 Amps)- 12 guage
  • Clothes Dryers, Window Air Conditioners, Built-in Ovens, Water Heaters (30 Amps)- 10 guage
  • Cook Tops (45 Amps)- 8 guage
  • Furnaces, Large Electric Heaters (60 Amps)- 6 guage
  • Furnaces, Large Electric Water Heaters, Sub Panels (80 Amps)- 4 guage
  • Service Panels, Sub Panels (100 Amps)- 2 guage
  • Service Entrance (150 Amps/ 200 Amps)- 1/0 guage/ 2/0 guage
Use Safe Sheathed Electrical Wire!

A proper plastic covered wires- called NMC or Non Metallic Sheathed Cable- are so far considered the ideal one for indoor wiring. There are many types of such non metallic wires. However, the basic three of them are the NM, NMC and UF electrical wires.
  • For normal indoor electrical wiring like lighting and receptacle circuits, use NM electrical cables.
  • Use NMC electrical cables above ground or in damp areas indoors because they are well insulated and so safe to use in these areas.
  • UF or the underground feeder is an electrical cable which can be used outdoors beneath the ground. Such wires are sometimes not safe to use above the ground as sunlight can destroy the cable sheathing. So, restrict the use of UF wires for undergrounds only.
To know more about the various types of electrical wires, their making and uses, read Electrical Wires
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