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 – Best installed by a Licensed Electrician.
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.
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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wiring!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, [amazon.com], I use for the detection of Standard 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.
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