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 in 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 indicated 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 Type-NM cable with a ground wire, for a typical circuit installation.
More about Electrical Wiring
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- Guide to Home Electrical Wire
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- Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.
- Lighting for the Home
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- 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
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- Electrical Code Directory covering electrical circuits and electrical wiring.
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
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