Q:

What is the correct size wire for 60 amp service?

A:

For 60-amp electrical service, 6-gauge copper or aluminum wire is the correct size to power such devices as electric furnaces and large electric heaters. A 50-amp circuit breaker or fuse box can also be powered by 6-gauge wire. When the amperage increases, the width of the wire needs to be larger to conduct more electricity. The American Wire Gauge system features smaller gauge numbers as wire widths increase.

The size for 6-gauge wire is 0.162 inches or 4.11 millimeters in diameter, not including insulation around the conducting wire. Every 6-gauge decrease in wire number doubles the diameter of the wire. For example, 6-gauge wire is twice as thick as 12-gauge wire, and 0-gauge wire is twice as thick as 6-gauge wire.

Typical appliances that run on 60 amps include ovens, ranges and water heaters. For homes that run on 120-volt service, 60 amps is 7,200 watts of electricity. To determine the total amount of watts on one circuit, multiply the amperage by the volts on that particular circuit.

Larger gauge wire, such as 4-gauge, runs 80 amps for larger furnaces, larger water heaters and sub-panels in circuit breakers. Smaller gauge wire, including 10-gauge, runs 30 amps for electric clothes dryers, window air conditioner units and built-in ovens.


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