What kind of electrical wire should be used when connecting an electrical outlet (wall outlet or plug)?
We will explain here the option of No. 14 and No. 12 copper wire to be used for circuits with 15A and 20A voltages in which receptacles have been wired.
This article will show you how to select the right location, wire, and an electrical receptacle within a home. Receptacles for electrical power (also known as electrical outlets “plugs” or “sockets”) are easy to use and are simple to install however there are some specifics to follow in order to ensure you are secured.
Caution: If you have no or little experience in dealing with electrical systems, please always hire experts in wire gauge electrical wiring or professional electricians to help you out!
You can utilize 14/2 wire for outlets in the event that the outlets are connected to an electrical circuit of 15 amps. In the event that outlets are located on 20 amp circuits, 14/2 wire will not be enough. It is necessary to move towards 12/2 for every outlet in circuits with 20 amps.
Wiring 14-gauge wire (such as 14/2) to connect outlets to 20-amp circuits can cause overheating, and even a risky electrical fire. Before connecting an outlet be sure to look into the breaker box for the amps of the circuit you’re working on.
What Size of Electrical Wire Should I Choose when Connecting an Electrical Outlet (Receptacle)?
The wire that is that is used to power the receptacle circuit should be of the right type of dimensions (thickness and gauge) and conductors that are appropriate for the power of the circuit.
- A circuit electrical should be adequately protected by the correct breakers or fuse
- For circuits with 15 amps utilize the #14 copper wire (or #12 copper-clad aluminum). The circuit breaker or fuse that is feeding this circuit is rated at 15 amps.
- For a circuit with 20 amps, utilize #12 copper wire (or #10 copper-clad aluminum wire).The fuse or circuit breaker that feeds this circuit is rated to 20 amps.
- To make a circuit that is 30 amps, utilize #10 copper wire, and circuit breaker or fuse designed to 30 Amps.
- for other sizes of wire and a complete size table for wires.
Note1: This is safe and appropriate to make use of small (lower ampacity) circuit or fuse breaker, like one that is 15 amps to safeguard circuits connected to #12 copper wire.
Note 2:This is generally safe and acceptable to use a larger electrical wire, but the larger size of wire might be needed to run longer wire runs. In general, you should have a 3% or less of voltage drop from the wire’s point of origin to the point which is in use. In those in U.S., electrical wire sizes and. capacity of circuit are listed in the National Electric Code Table 310-16.
Beware when you are working with complex circuits that have a lot of connections inside a junction box, you might run into problems: the number of connections permitted within a single junction box is determined by the size of the wire as well as the dimensions that the junction box is.
Therefore, increasing the wire’s size may require you to use a bigger electrical box.
Is 14/2 Wire a Thing?
14/2 is an insulated wire that has three 14-gauge electrical wires. The first wire is the dark black “hot” wire. The second wire is white “hot” wire. The third wire is green or ground wire made of bare copper. 14/2 is offered in Spools and is a popular gauge of wire that is suitable for domestic use.
What’s 14-Gauge Wire Useful for?
14/2 electrical wire is used to power lights and outlets which are connected to 15-amp circuits. The majority of the time, it is utilized to power lighting fixtures that require lower amperage.
- 14-gauge wire, for example 14/2, is used primarily to connect light fixtures to 15-amp circuits.
- It is possible to use 14 gauge wire to power outlets on 15-amp circuits.
- If the outlet you are using is an amp circuit of 20 amps, 14-gauge wire isn’t enough. You should upgrade to at minimum 12-gauge wire.
While 14 gauge wire is utilized for outlets, it’s frequent to see 12-gauge wire used to serve this purpose. This is because 12-gauge wiring is the minimum size needed for outlets in a circuit with 20 amps. 14 gauge wire isn’t able to be able to handle this amp. It can therefore be used only for outlets that have low amperage.
What is the Highest Amperage 14/2 Wire is Able to Handle?
14/2 wire can be used in circuits that have an amperage of up to 15 amps. It’s illegal and risky to utilize 14/2 wire on 20 amp circuits. The right gauge of wire in accordance with the amperage of your circuit is crucial to ensure safe wiring.
- A 15 amp is considered to be the most amperage that 14/2 wires can safely be able to.
- Never use 14/2 wiring for an outlet in the circuit that is rated to carry over 15 amps.
- Examine your breaker box to find the amperage of the breaker that regulates the circuit you’re working on.
To find the amperage of the circuit that you’re working on Locate and open the breaker box. Find the breaker responsible for supplying the power supply for the outlet. The amperage must be stamped onto the handle on which the breaker is located.
An “15” indicates a 15-amp breaker. “20” indicates a 20-amp breaker. You’ll likely find higher numbers for circuits designed to provide power to big appliances.
Can You Run 14-Gauge Wire On a 20-Amp Circuit?
Do not use 14-gauge wire in an 20-amp circuit. 14-gauge wire isn’t rated to conduct that amount of electricity. The force of forcing 14-gauge wire to carry 20 amps of power could result in the wire becoming overheated. In the best case situation, the circuit breaker could turn off to prevent the risk of overheating. However, this could cause the circuit to be shut off.
- It’s dangerous to use 14 gauge wire through a 20 amp circuit.
- The use of 14 gauge wire on 20 amp circuits will cause overheating of wires that can cause the breaker or create the electrical to ignite.
- Upgrade to at least 12-gauge wire on all 20-amp circuits.
In the worst case scenario the 14-gauge wire in an electrical circuit with 20 amps could overheat to the point that it can cause in a fire. It is better to review the advantages of 14-gauge and 12-gauge wires to power outlets.
It is essential to use at minimum 12/2 wire in circuits with 20 amps to avoid dangerous overheating and avoid the risk of an explosion.
How Many Outlets Can You Install on 14/2 Wire?
A circuit with 15 amps wired using 14/2 copper wire will supply power to eight Receptacles. “Receptacle” is the term for the places you can connect an appliance. The majority of outlets come with two receptacles and some even come with four. If you’re using traditional outlets with two outlets You can connect four of them into one 15-amp circuit with 14 gauge electrical wire.
- 14/2 wire in a 15 amp circuit is able to power 8 Receptacles.
- Because most outlets have two Receptacles, it’s possible to connect 4 outlets to one 15-amp circuit with 14/2 wire.
- If you’d like to add more outlets in the circuit, go up to a 20-amp outlet using a 12/2 wire.
It is important to remember that a circuit that is 20 amps equipped that is powered by 12-gauge wire can run 10 receptacles without risk, which amounts to an additional outlet. If you’re looking to add an additional outlet in the circuit, you should consider changing to a 20-amp circuit that has larger wire.
Can 14/2 Wire Be Utilized to Power Lights?
Lighting fixtures can be wired with light bulbs is among the most effective applications that 14/2 wire can make. If the light fixture is connected to an electrical circuit that is 15 amps it is possible to use 14/2 wire to supply the power. Make sure that the light’s power needs are not greater than 15 amps. In many homes 14/2 is the wiring that is used to power the built-in lights.
- 14/2 wire is safe to be utilized for lighting wired to circuits with 15 amps.
- Check that the light you are installing is not requiring more than 15 amps .
- If your light requires greater than 15 amps you’ll have to connect it to a higher-power circuit that has wire greater than 14/2.
- 14/2 is rarely employed for outlets since it is not able to be used to power certain tools and appliances.
Since some appliances (such windows AC units or shop vacuums electric tools) have 20 amps, the majority of homeowners wire every outlet to 20-amp circuits using 12-gauge wire. 15-amp circuits aren’t able to supply the larger appliances.
Can You Connect Outlets Using 14/2 Romex?
It is possible to use 14/2 Romex cable in any location where you can comfortably use the standard 14/2 cable. This means 14/2 Romex can power outlets connected to a circuit with a 15 amp. If you’re wiring outlets in circuits with amperage greater than 15 amps, you’ll have to utilize a larger Romex cable to ensure compliance with electrical codes.
- You can utilize Romex 14/2 anyplace it’s safe to use the standard 14/2 wire.
- Romex 14/2 is a good choice to wire outlets to 15 amp circuits.
- Do not utilize Romex 14/2 to connect outlets on circuits that have amperage more than 15.
Rememberthat Romex cable is essentially 14 gauge wire wrapped in a non-metallic cable sheath. The sheath makes it simpler for you to run it through the conduits however, it doesn’t alter the conductivity of the wire.
Romex 14/2 as well as standard 14/2 are able to be utilized interchangeably.
Electrical Conductors: Do I Need 2-Wires? 3-Wires? 2-Wires That Are Connected to Ground?
A wire for electrical use should be wired with the correct quantity of conductors. In modern electrical circuits, wires are used to connect the receptacles (electrical outlets).
A typical electrical receptacle connected with two wires that are insulated and a ground wire that is bare and all three are enclosed in the form of a polymer (NMC) or a metal (BX) cover.
It’s identified by the number 14/2 Type NM B with ground (photo at left) or 14/2 Type NM C, with ground (photo below) as well as 14/2 Type C without ground.
More details are available at the NUMBER OF FIBER CONDUCTORS NECESSARY
Also, see the ELECTRICAL CODE BASICS
and SECURITY for Electric Inspectors.
The image on page 1 isn’t an example for an electrical outlet that is properly installed.
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The typical #10 wire can handle loads of 30A at 120V and lengths similar to those you’ve mentioned. Let me know where you found the need for #8.
It’s true that it’s safer. Sometimes, it’s needed to switch to the heavier gauge of wire (#8) when running longer distances.
If your wiring allows an 3% drop in voltage that is, then a common voltage drop or wire calculator (there are many of them available online) will tell you that you could have utilized a 42 foot length of #10, therefore the number 8 seems safe to me.
I used both www.elec-toolbox.com/calculators/voltdrop.htm and Southwire; Southwire also has a nice voltage calculator and as a wire manufacturer they of course have both an interest in proper wire use and engineers on staff.
Be aware at the time you go to a bigger wire size depending on the amount of connections and wires within the electrical boxes in the circuit, you might need to upgrade to a larger electrical box size to accommodate the requirements for wiring space.
Pay attention for: normal electrical wire is not designed to be used to serve as an “extension cord” and is not intended to be constantly plugged into and out, nor exposed and not supported.
Here’s the information Southwire’s voltage drop calculator gave us when we assumed that the wire had 120V at 30A and 42 feet long “underground / direct” though it was either overhead or conduit. This did not affect the result significantly: all of the cases resulted in less than the commonly-accepted limit of 3 percent drop in voltage.
One conductor per phase using one #10 copper conductor can restrict that voltage loss to 2.21 percent or less, when it is providing 30.0 amps per 42 foot in 120 volts.
What Size Wire is Best for the Outlet Circuit?
What size of wire you will use to connect your outlet is based on the amps in the circuit. Here are the guidelines to use 14/2 wire
- 14/2 wire is a good choice to connect outlets on circuits with 15 amps or less.
- 14/2 wire is not able to connect outlets on 20 amp circuits.
- The 12/2 wire is able to be used for circuits of 15 and 20 amps.
If you’re uncertain of the wire to choose for your task, you should consult an electrician who is licensed. It’s crucial to select the right outlet wire to avoid an spark from an electrical fire.
If you feel you lack skills or knowledge, it’s always better to hire experts in electrical code who knows about lighting circuits, circuit breaker feeding, how many amps are safe, details about aluminum wiring light circuits, etc.