House Electrical Cable Sizes

By | January 9, 2022



House Electrical Cable Sizes – The Basics


When it comes to home electrical wiring, it’s important to understand the different cable sizes you’ll need for each job. House electrical cable sizes aren’t just about the amperage rating; there are differences in the type of insulation, gauge, and stranded or solid core wiring. Knowing the basics of electric cable sizes will help you determine the best wire for your project.



A common question is about the diameters of each electric wire size, so here’s a table to make it easy to find the answer. Keep in mind that the actual thickness of the cable jacket and insulation can impact the diameter for some cables.



Sizing Electric Cables According to Amperage


The amperage rating of your house electrical cable size will determine the maximum current an electric cable can safely carry. When selecting a cable size, you’ll need to consider the total current load and whether you’re using a single-phase or three-phase system. Here’s a breakdown of what you should use:




  • 15 Amp Circuit: Use 14 AWG cable.

  • 20 Amp Circuit: Use 12 AWG cable.

  • 30 Amp Circuit: Use 10 AWG cable.

  • 50 Amp Circuit: Use 8 AWG cable.

  • 60 Amp Circuit: Use 6 AWG cable.



It’s essential to check the local building codes for any other specific requirements regarding house electrical cable sizes before starting your project.



Types of Insulation and Jacket Material


Besides the cable gauge, you’ll need to consider the types of insulation and jacket material when selecting an electric cable size. Different types of insulation and jacket materials are used depending on the application and environment, such as whether it’s indoors or outdoors, wet or dry locations, and temperatures. Some common types include:




  • Thermoplastic: The most popular type of insulation, thermoplastic is less expensive and more flexible than other types.

  • Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): PVC has good moisture, chemical, and abrasion resistance.

  • Elastomeric: Elastomeric insulation is more expensive but offers better insulation properties than thermoplastic.

  • Flexible Metallic Tubing (FMT): FMT is designed for outdoor use and is very durable.



Having a basic understanding of house electrical cable sizes can help you choose the right cable for your project. Once you’ve selected the right cable size and insulation/jacket material, you can start your project with confidence.


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