Planning construction projects gets confusing for the uninitiated. No place is this truer than the selection of wire. Choosing the right product for the job is important. Get it wrong and you could start a fire or end up with a shocking result. Here’s a quick guide to finding the perfect fit.
Big is Small and Small is Big
The most important thing to remember about wires is that in the American wiring gauge standard lower gauges are bigger wires. Bigger wires can carry more amplitude and are required for more powerful circuits. So, a ten-gauge wire would be fine for a 30-amp circuit but an 18-gauge wire would cause problems.
Not All Wires are Created Equally
You may be used to seeing copper wires but they can be made from other materials also. At one time, aluminum was widely used but has since fallen out of favor because it can expand under heavy loads and even cause electrical fires.
Solid Versus Strands
Solid copper wire is more conductive than its stranded counterpart. But, it doesn’t do very well when pulled through conduit with extreme bends. That’s where stranded copper shines.
It’s important to remember that wiring size and construction is chosen according to many different factors. The planned load, the length of the circuit, and the number of outlets being serviced will all have a say in the wire used. The most important factor, however, is the size of the circuit breaker being. If your wire matches that, you should be just fine.