Call Us For A Free Quote - Any Time (704) 368-4694

Energy CostsIN CHARLOTTEJuly 11, 2022by AndrewDoes it Hurt Anything to Use a Heavier Gauge Wire than Code?

Wire gauge is the measurement of a wire’s diameter and is a way to categorize its size. The wire gauge tells you its weight, current size and resistance. Numbers stand for wire gauges. The lower the number, the thicker the wire. The main advantage of using larger wire is less voltage decline. A larger cord will carry more current over a distance than a smaller sized cord. Thicker cords have less resistance which is in charge of the lower voltage decline. The thinnest cord, the even more resistance it has. It’s this resistance so there’s less voltage loss. Although the wire is too heavy, it will not create any kind of overload or impact anything.

What Happens Using a Heavier Gauge Wire?

Are you working with electric wiring or a connection? Then you’ll need to know the different gauges of wires you could use and which size is smart to use. So, what occurs if the wire gauge is too large?

Wire gauge describes the wire density. Although making use of a heavier wire gauge stops voltage loss, it’s not a good idea when it’s not necessary. There are a few disadvantages, such as higher prices, the effect on the look and weight of the wiring often in a restricted or smaller space, and the probability of impacting high-speed signals.

On the other hand, when a wire is too small, it can melt and start a fire in some conditions. So, it is necessary to make use of a wire gauge below the needed dimension for a connection.

Types of Wire Gauges

There are correct wire gauges for different purposes or electrical connections you are working with.

  • Gauge 18: For low voltage wires and lighting or remote lead turn-on wires
  • 16: For extension cords with a small load and short power runs less than 50 feet
  • 14: For lighting devices, fixtures, circuits and components
  • 12: For small air conditioning units, electrical outlets and also longer cable runs or any high power application
  • 10: For a water heater, large AC units and appliances such as clothes dryers
  • 6: For ranges and cooktops
  • 4: For furnaces

How to Determine Wire Gauge

American Wire Gauge is the measurement for electric wires. It ranges from 40, which brings a maximum of 0.0137 amps, to 0000, which can bring 302 amps. There are two ways to figure the gauge of a wire.

Use a Wire Measuring Device

If you’re working with insulated wire, you have to strip it to tell the gauge. With a wire stripping tool, remove the insulation from a small piece of the wire, about two inches long. These tools generally have different holes for different gauge sizes. Place the wire in a hole that’s the right size, strip the insulation, then you can determine the gauge of the wire.

When it’s solid wire, you don’t need to strip it. You can take a stripping tool, a circular metal device with openings for numerous gauge types. There are openings for all gauge sizes on the tool. Place it in the one that fits. Make sure you get a gauge tool matching your measurement system.

When it comes to stranded wires, you have to measure the gauge of one wire and multiply it by the number of strands. Normally, bigger gauge wire will have fewer strands than small gauge ones.

Calling the Company or Help at a Store

You can decide to call the manufacturer of the wire to ask about the gauge. Also, you can ask someone at a hardware store. The person in charge will be able to help you. You need to know the wire gauge before you

to Use a Heavier Gauge Wire
With a wire stripping tool, remove the insulation from a small piece of the wire, about two inches long.

begin working.

Drawbacks of Using Heavier Gauge

In most situations, nothing bad will result if you use thicker wires. It’s simply unneeded and probably won’t have any kind of advantage. Although there may not be any direct damage from using a wire gauge that’s too heavy, it has some downsides.


The price of wire depends on the gauge. So, if you use a wire gauge larger than what you need for a project, you’ll be spending more than you need to. The expense will likewise include the requirement for bigger pathways and the right, larger dimension of the clamp or terminal it links to.

Size and Appearance

The size of the wire gauge also affects the weight. Using heavier gauge makes the wires for a device or system heavier than what’s needed. Mechanically, larger gauge wire might be a poor idea because they’ll be wrong or weigh too much for other components or outlets.

Slowed High Speed Signals

If you’re running a high-speed signal via a cable, thicker wires have more capacitance. This might make it become a low pass filter which isn’t what you want. As a low pass filter, the signal will be less efficient than the optimal frequency.

When You Should Use Heavier Gauge

Often, you might think using bigger wire gauge, will give you better results. This isn’t true. The gauge shouldn’t be your priority if you are trying to get better quality. Instead, you want to look at the strand count, durability and insulation. At the same time, make sure the wire is a fit for the job and function. With the way people are likely to use power outlets with extension cords, it’s advisable to use thicker wires for electrical outlets. It’ll give a safer end result.



Your best bet? Hire an expert to do the job. South End Electric has the background and understanding to ensure a safe and smooth installation. We can provide electrical safety inspections and installation, inspections and work with GFCI outlets. In addition, our professionals provide whole-house generator sales and installation to meet your needs. See everything South End Electric can do for you. Call us direct at 704-368-4694.