Wiring cable for the home has varying sizes, or gauges, specific to the type of circuit they are being used for. The lower the gauge, the thicker the wire. Larger gauge wiring is used in heavy duty applications to insure that it can handle the load of current without overheating or shorting out. For example, a circuit that supplies 30 amps of electricity will require a larger gauge cable than a circuit that supplies only 15 amps of electricity.
It is important to kow the laws and proper safety techniques to use while installing electrical wiring. When undertaking any project, obtain and complete the proper permits and inspections. Contact an electrician or wiring specialist at a local hardware store before taking on any electrical project.
NM-B Electrical Cable
One type of cable that can be used to connect electrical components in the home is NM-B. This cable consists of at least two separately insulated wires that are housed together in a flexible, nonmetallic (NM) sheath. This sheath is usually made from PVC or nylon. The "B" is a reference to the insulation surrounding the two wires. It indicates that it is rated to handle heat up to 90 degrees Celsius.
14-2 Gauge Cable
Found in use with circuits requiring 15 amps or less, 14-2 gauge cable is most commonly used when installing items such as wall switches, receptacles or power outlets, and lighting fixtures. 14-2 cable contains 2 separate wires, each of which are 14 gauge. The gauge lets a person know just how much electricity the wire can conduct.
It is important to know the laws and proper safety techniques to use while installing electrical wiring. When undertaking any project, obtain and complete the proper permits and inspections. Contact an electrician or wiring specialist at a local hardware store before taking on any electrical project.
14-3 Gauge Cable
Used in circuits requiring 15 amps or less, 14-3 gauge wiring is most commonly used with three-way light switches, ceiling or attic fans, and split receptacles.
12-2 Gauge Wiring
12-2 gauge wiring is used for standard appliances requiring 20 amps or less, such as furnaces, water heaters, and widow air conditioners. It is also used for dishwashers, freezers and kitchen receptacles.
12-3 Gauge Cable
12-3 gauge wiring is used for all standard appliances requiring 20 amps or less.
10-3/8-3 Gauge Cable
10-3 or 8-3 wiring is used for electrical components requiring 30 amps or more. These items can include electric dryers and ranges.
Christopher Perkins is a Gold Seal-certified flight instructor and commercial pilot with a Bachelor of Science degree in aviation. He has held FAA certification since 2005, has been writing since 2007, and has a strong background in physics, mathematics and mechanical systems. Perkins writes for eHow, COD, and Answerbag.