Long Distance Electrical Wiring
How to Install and Connect Long Distance Electrical Wiring: Ohms Law and Voltage Drop Calculations, Increased Wire Sizes and Connections to Electrical Devices, Sizing the Circuit Breaker.© By: Dave Rongey
Guide for Installing Long Distance Electrical Wires
Electrical Question: Can wires be trimmed down to fit into terminals or lugs or should I pull the wire out and replace it with smaller gauge wire?
- I have a hen house that I ran 4 #6 wires to, it was a great distance to the electrical panel.
- Because I had extra #6 wire and didn’t want to buy smaller wire on top of that I ran the #6 wire to the outlets I wanted in there.
- Naturally I discovered that the wire was too big to wire the 20 amp outlets I bought.
- Can these wire be “trimmed down” to fit or should I pull that wire out and replace it with smaller gauge wire?
This electrical wiring question came from: Robert, a Homeowner in Oregon.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Robert.
How to Install and Connect Long Distance Electrical Wiring
Application: Install Electrical Wiring.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced. This electrical project is best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and a Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools.
Precaution: Identify the circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing additional electrical wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
Long Distance Electrical Wiring
- Installing Wire Over a Long Distance
There are a few details that are not provided in this question about your installation, however if the distance from the panel to the point of use was great then voltage drop can be an issue.
- Ohms Law and Voltage Drop Calculations
Calculating the wire size will depend on how much amperage or load the electrical circuit will require and what the actual length or distance of the wire will be.
- Increased Wire Sizes and Connections to Electrical Devices
The wire size will then be based on a calculations which will factor in this information. Because wire sizes may be increased due to a long distance, short lengths of reduced wire size may be used for connecting devices such as outlets and switches to the circuit wire.
- Sizing the Circuit Breaker
The circuit breaker must be sized to the smallest wire size, depending on the specific type of wire and the device being connected.
- Outdoor Circuits
Outdoor circuits especially in livestock areas must be protected by a GFCI device such as a GFI circuit breaker.
- Local Code Compliance
Please check with your local building department for applicable codes, permits and inspections.
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