80 Amp(Breaker, Ground, Service) Wire Size Explained

80 amp wire size

If you use a small wire, you could start a fire. Where possible, hire an electrician. They will find the right wire of the right size for your circuit. If you can’t find an expert, you can use this guide to identify the best wire size for 80 amps.

What is the Best Wire Size For 80 Amps?

80-amp service requires a 2-gauge wire. If you exceed 80 amps, you should jump to 1 gauge. The next size after 1-gauge is 2/0, followed by 3/0. It should be noted that you can only use 2 or even 3-gauge wire if the material is copper. Aluminum has a lower ampacity than copper. To configure an 80-amp service with aluminum wire, you need 1AWG.

80 Amp Cable Size

Volt with 80 AmpsDistanceAWG(Copper)
120V(3 phase)150ft2AWG
Wire Size Will Vary Depending Upon Volt & Distance.

You identify the wire size by looking at the gauge. The gauge tells you the diameter of a wire. It is denoted by a number. A high number points to a wire with a smaller size, whereas a low number points to a wire with a larger size.

The larger the wire, the more current it can carry.

Technically speaking, smaller wires can take a lot of electricity as well. However, they cannot carry it safely. They are more likely to overheat.

If you want to select the correct wire size for 80 amps, you need to realize that 80 amps are a lot. With 20 amps, you can run air conditioners, sump pumps, and various kitchen appliances. Thirty amps can operate dryers, ovens, electric heaters, and window AC units.

If you want to run a cooktop, you need 45 amps. With 80 amps, you can run large electric water heaters and furnaces

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80 Amp Circuit Breaker Wire Size.

To transmit 80 amps, you can use a 4-gauge wire. 4AWG wire is very thick, which is why you can trust it to run a furnace without overheating or starting a fire.

Ground wire size for 80 amp circuit

Hot, neutral, and ground wires should be the same size. Therefore, if the hot and neutral wires have a gauge of 4, the ground wire has to be the same.

This isn’t true in every single situation. The ground wire can be smaller or larger than the hot and neutral wires.

It is more important for the neutral wire to have the same size as the hot wire because the neutral wire carries the same volume of electricity as the hot wire.

That being said, to be on the safe side, make sure the ground wire is the same size as the hot and neutral wires.

How To Calculate The Correct Wire Size For 80 Amps?

First, you determine the total wattage of all the appliances in your home. Then you divide that number by the voltage. Once you multiply that final figure by 125 percent, you will get the appropriate size of the breaker. But in this case, you already know that the breaker is 80 amps.

When it comes to calculating the correct wire size, the most challenging part is determining the size of the circuit breaker. Once you know the size of the circuit breaker, you can quickly identify the size of the wire.

To find the correct wire size for an 80-amp breaker, look at a chart. You can find charts as the one AIC has published on various websites. Look for the row with ’80 Amps’ and read the corresponding wire size.

Charts of this sort will show you the wire size for copper and aluminum. They will also show you the appropriate wire size for various temperatures. Once you know the correct wire size, it becomes a simple matter of buying the suitable wire.

Most wires are labeled. If you look at the jacket of a wire, you will see the gauge. If you don’t see the gauge, you can cut the wire open. The goal is to measure the diameter of the cross-section. But you can’t expect the layperson to measure the diameter of a wire accurately.

It is much easier to either buy a new wire with the proper markings or ask a professional to measure the diameter of the wire.

What Does NEC Say About It?

They expect consumers to use a wire gauge of 4AWG-3AWG for 70 to 80-Amp circuits. The exact size varies depending on the material and temperature. But they agree with the standard convention

What Kind Of Wire Should I Use?

An aluminum wire has a lower ampacity than copper wire. Copper wire of a particular gauge can carry more current than aluminum wire of the same gauge. If you have a choice between the two, you should select copper.

That being said, many people choose aluminum because it is cheaper. Keep that in mind when you sit down to draw a budget for your wiring project.

Most people would happily use copper. But it is expensive.

If you have to use aluminum, make sure you select a higher gauge. For instance, if you think you can use a 6-gauge copper wire to accommodate an 80-amp circuit breaker, you are better off using 4 or 3-gauge wire for aluminum.

The larger the wire, the better. A wire can be too large, but it can’t be too small. If you have any doubts, get the largest wire you can afford.

Does Distance Matter For 80 Amps?

The distance affects the gauge. The gauge defines the size of the wire. The larger and thicker the wire, the more current it can carry. The distance matters because it affects the resistance.

A wire that can carry 15 amps over a meter may struggle to transmit those same 15 amps over 200 meters. This is because the resistance will increase with the distance.

Once the resistance increases, the voltage drop will do the same. You will find that the appliance on the other end of the wire cannot get the current it needs to operate because only a portion of those 15 amps is successfully making the journey.

The heat is even more problematic. When the resistance increases, the amount of heat being generated will also increase. Depending on the appliance you have on the other end of the wire, it may pull more electricity to compensate for the voltage drop.

If the volume of current flowing through the wire increases, the heat will do the same. In the worst-case scenario, you could start a fire.

Thus, increase the gauge. This lowers the resistance, voltage drop, and the amount of heat generated.

Can 8 Gauge Wire Handle 80 Amps?

8-gauge wires cannot handle 80 amps. 6-gauge wires are a much better choice. But even then, it is safer to limit 6AWG wires to 75 amps. If you want wires that can carry 80 amps without overheating, aim for 4AWG.

Check NEC 320.15 for confirmation. The NEC is constantly changing. However, the ampacity requirements usually remain the same. 8AWG is risky. If you find 8AWG wire in a house with an 80A breaker, call a professional and ask them to replace the wiring before something terrible happens.

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