What is the Correct Electrical Wire Size for Your Project?
What type of wire should I use for Electrical Wiring? How to Select the Right Wire and Cable.
Electrical Wires and Cable
Electrical Question: What type of wire should I use for Electrical Wiring?
My basement lighting is currently all wired together to the switch by the door.
- Total of 11 lights. The contractor has it wired with #14.
- I’ve relocated 3 lights to operate on a separate switch.
- The question is can I use #12 wire to wire them off the #14 existing wires?
- I will still have a total of 11 lights .
This electrical wiring question came from: Tim, a Handyman from North Aurora, Illinois.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Tim.
How to Select the Right Wire and Cable
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate. This electrical wiring project is best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, a non-aluminum ladder and Voltage Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on personal level experience, ability to work with tools and access to the light fixture(s).
Precaution: Identify the light circuit, turn it OFF and Tag it with a Note before working with the wiring.
Notice: Installing additional fixture wiring should be done with a permit and be inspected.
The Key to Selecting the Right Electric Wire and Cable
- When adding to existing circuit wiring, the same wire size should be maintained to ensure circuit integrity, therefore you should be installing #14 that matches the existing #14 AWG gauge wire.
- When new circuits are being added to the electrical system, then the wire size is determined according to the what the circuit will be used for.
- For many projects, a specific circuit size is required or dictated by the electrical code, such is the case for an electric dryer, which requires a 30 amp, 240 volt circuit which is provided by a 10/3 Romex cable with a ground wire, for a typical circuit installation.
More about Electrical Wiring
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- Fully Explained Light Switch Wiring Diagrams. Detailed Electrical Wiring Diagrams and Pictures assist your Home Electrical Projects.
- Guide to Home Electrical Wire
Electrical Wire for the Home
- Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.
- Lighting for the Home
Planning and Installing Home Lighting
- Home lighting articles covering recessed lighting, under cabinet lighting, lighting terminology and more.
- How to Install Basement Electrical Wiring
Basement Electrical Wiring
- Fully Explained Photos and Wiring Diagrams for Basement Electrical Wiring with Code Requirements for most new or remodel projects.
- Electrical Wiring Codes
- Home Electrical Codes
- Electrical Code Directory covering electrical circuits and electrical wiring.
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.
Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..
The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.
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