Wire sizing (gauge) in your home and why it's important
The wires in your home may come in different sizes (thickness) expressed as gauges. Correct wire gauges are important in your home and we go over a few of these reasons below.
Wire gauge is a measure of the diameter of a wire and is used to determine the amount of electrical current the wire can carry safely. The gauge of a wire is expressed as a number such as 14 gauge or 12 gauge, and the smaller the number, the thicker the wire. A thicker wire can carry more electrical current than a thinner wire without overheating and causing a fire hazard.
It is important to choose the correct wire gauge for a specific electrical application because using a wire that is too small can result in overheating, which can be a fire hazard.
On the other hand, using a wire that is too large is inefficient and can lead to higher costs. When selecting the appropriate wire gauge, it is important to consider the amount of electrical current that will flow through the wire, the length of the wire, and the intended use of the wire.
For example, a thick gauge wire is typically used for high-power applications, such as for a large appliance or electrical motor, while a thin gauge wire may be used for low-power applications, such as for a small light or a switch.
It is also important to follow local electrical codes and guidelines, as these regulations specify the minimum wire gauge that must be used for specific electrical applications. If unsure about the appropriate wire gauge for a specific application, it is recommended to seek professional guidance to ensure that the electrical installation is safe and meets all local codes and regulations.