Commercial & Residential
Electrical Contractor

How Wire Gauge Determines Your Breaker Size

Wire gague determines your breaker size and how much power will flow into your home. The wires and breakers work together, and if not done correctly, your home could be at risk of breakers malfunctioning, power issues, or worse, fire.

What Is Gauge?

The measurement of a wire is called its gauge. Wire is measured mainly in diameter and given a number. The higher the number, the smaller the wire.

This gauge or number given to the wire allows electricians to know how much current can safely pass through the wire. When working with circuit breakers, this is essential information so the breaker can work correctly.

The maximum amount of amps used by an appliance will determine the wire gauge that can safely be used for that breaker.

How To Choose the Right Wire

There are common sizes of wire used for the usual breakers for household appliances. The maximum required number of amps for the circuit protecting each appliance determines the wire needed.

They range from about 10 amps, for something like a toaster, requiring a 16-gauge wire, to 50 amps for an electric dryer, requiring a wire gauge of 6. As you can see, the higher the amp number, the smaller the wire gauge number.

What If You Choose the Wrong Size Gauge?

It is extremely dangerous to use the wrong size gauge of wire in a circuit breaker.

If the gauge is too large, it is more of an inconvenience working with the wrong size, but not necessarily dangerous.

However, using a wire gauge that is too small creates serious potential hazards. Overheating and melting can occur due to the smaller wire’s inability to handle the power current. Overheating is a fire hazard waiting to happen.

This is how wire gauge determines your breaker size, which is why it needs to be handled by a professional.

C&S Electric of Louisburg LLC offers commercial electrical repairs, along with residential services for Louisburg and all other surrounding areas. You can trust C&S Electric of Louisburg LLC to make repairs and installations correctly the first time, keeping your home and businesses safe.