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December 23, 2019
Some basic cable related infor are very important and must be learned.
The proper wire size is critical to any electrical wire installation. Wire sizing indicates the diameter of the metal conductor of the wire and is based on the American Wire Gauge (AWG) system. The gauge of a wire relates to the wire's current-carrying capacity, or how much amperage the wire can safely handle. When choosing the right size of wire, you must consider the gauge of the wire, the wire capacity, and what the wire will be used for.
Wires that are not properly matched to the amperage of the circuits they serve can create a notable risk of short circuit and fire.
Color-coding is used both on the outer sheathing of bundled electrical cables, and also on the individual conduction wires within cables or inside conduit. Understanding this color coding can help you identify what the wiring is used for and helps maintain consistency within an electrical system.
Cable coloring relates to the size of the wires inside the cable and the cable's amperage rating. For example, white-sheathed NM cable is used for 15-amp circuits, while yellow NM cable is rated for 20-amp circuits.
The coloring on individual conducting wires usually does not indicate a size or rating but rather the standard or preferred use of the wire. For example, black and red wires typically are used for current-carrying, or "hot" connections, and white wires usually are grounded "neutral" conductors. Green-insulated wires, and bare copper wires, are used for grounding wires.
Electrical wires and cable have markings stamped or printed on their insulation or outer sheathing. These markings provide important information about the wiring and insulation, including the wire size and material, the type of insulation, the number of wires contained (inside a cable), and any special ratings or characteristics of the wire.
While looking at the color of wire or cable will help you narrow down the options at the store, reading and understanding the labels on wiring is the best way to ensure you get the properly rated material for your project.
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