Is 16mm2 cable the best choice for your home? It depends on the application you have in mind. This wire size serves several purposes. The key is to compare the cable’s ampacity to the electrical demands of the equipment you want to run.
Naturally, you cannot do that if you don’t know the number of amps 16mm2 lines can carry. But you don’t have to worry. This guide will tell you everything you need to know.
How many Amps Can 16mm2 Cable Carry?
16mm2 cables are the equivalent of 5AWG. Thus it can carry in between 70-85A at 60˚C, 85-100A at 75˚C 95-110A at 90˚C. It is for copper wire. For aluminum core, it can carry in between 55-65A at 60˚C, 65-75A at 75˚C, and 75-85A at 90˚C.
16mm2 Cable Amps Rating
|Wire Gauge Size
THW, THWN, SE, USE, XHHW
THWN-2, THHN, XHHW-2, USE-2
THW, THWN, SE, USE, XHHW
XHHW-2, THHN, THWN-2
16mm2 cable’s rating will depend on various factors, including how it is installed. For instance, a wire embedded in a wall transmits fewer amps because it cannot dissipate heat effectively. As such, forcing the cable to carry the full 85 amps associated with 16mm2 lines could lead to overheating.
|Wire enclosed in an insulated wall in conduit
|Enclosed in conduit or trunking on a wall
|Thermal insulation in contact with the ceiling < 100mm
|Thermal insulation in contact with the ceiling > 100mm
|Thermal Insulation cable touching the wall
|Thermal Insulation cable not touching the wall
You also have to keep factors like the material and distance in mind because they influence the current carrying capacity of the line.
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to consult an expert. The last thing you want is to pair your application with a smaller cable than its electrical demands require. That is how laypeople start fires. They think all electrical wires are the same. It takes them a while to realize that small electrical conductors can overheat and melt if you overload them.
A licensed contractor can prevent this outcome by identifying a wire size that fits the needs of your application. They can assess the impact of variables like the ventilation (or lack thereof) and distance on the 16mm2 cable’s ability to transmit electricity without overheating.
Even if you’re determined to perform the wiring yourself, you can still consult an expert. Ask them to select the lines, you will use to complete the project.
What Is 16mm2 Wire Used For?
16mm2 cable has a flexible build and a durable PVC sheath. Thus, you can use 16mm2 cables in your house, including the kitchen and bedroom.
However, they are not restricted to residential settings. These lines are just as effective in industrial applications. While you are more likely to find them in lighting circuits and behind heavy-duty indoor appliances like air conditioners, 16mm2 cables are strong enough to survive outside.
At the very least, the outer covering is robust enough to resist extreme weather and moisture penetration. You can fit the wires with thicker insulation to repel strenuous elements in rugged settings, especially on commercial premises.
16mm2 cables are more versatile than people realize. They are just as comfortable in a tent during a festival as they are in your home’s wiring system.
It is worth noting that you don’t have to limit this wire size to 70 amps. As was noted before, the conductors can easily transmit 85 amps. However, you can also exceed that 85A threshold where necessary.
Ultimately, you can force 16mm2 lines to carry as much current as you want. But that practice is not safe. The manufacturer emphasizes limits like 70A and 85A because they cannot guarantee your safety once you cross that threshold.
They know that a conventional 16mm2 wire can carry 70 amps easily without overheating. By crossing that limit, you expose yourself and your property to electrocution and fire hazards.
This is why breakers are so important. They prevent consumers from exceeding a cable’s limits. If you find yourself repeatedly exceeding the 16mm2 cable’s 70-amp limit, you are better off increasing the wire size.
Get a thicker cable you can trust to transmit more current without overheating. Some consumers continue to exceed a 16mm2 cable’s capacity because they did the same thing in the past, and nothing happened. However, just because your 16mm2 cable transmitted 90 amps yesterday without overheating doesn’t mean it will carry those amps again today without overheating.
Electricity is too dangerous for you to take chances of this nature. Proceed carefully. You should only exceed a 16mm2 wire’s capacity after consulting an electrician. An electrician knows when it is acceptable to push past the conductor’s limits and when you are better off playing it safe.
16mm2 Cable VS Volt
People expect the voltage to influence the wire size. After all, you find the wattage and ampacity by multiplying or dividing by the voltage. However, you determine the current carrying capacity by looking at the material, length, and environmental conditions. These factors shape the amount of current a conductor can transmit without melting. The voltage doesn’t affect these considerations.
The voltage only enters the equation when you discuss the insulation. You can afford to ignore the voltage, especially where residential wiring is concerned.
16mm2 Cable VS Distance
Every wire has a voltage drop. You can’t avoid it. The voltage drop occurs because conductors oppose the flow of current. Electricity will still flow despite that opposition. However, it will generate heat in the process. Additionally, you will record a loss in electrical potential along the way.
As a result, depending on the severity of the voltage drop, the operations of your appliance may suffer because it can’t acquire the power it requires. Some devices will stop working altogether. Others will burn out because they have to work harder to compensate for the limitations caused by the voltage drop.
The voltage drop is directly connected to the length of the conductor. To reiterate, the voltage drop always occurs, but it is manageable in shorter wires.
But the more distance electricity covers, the more resistance it encounters, and the greater the voltage drop. Many people don’t consider this factor. They respond to large distances by buying longer wires.
You see this in homes that rely heavily on extension cords. Homeowners won’t hesitate to cross the gap between a wall outlet and a distant appliance by running a longer cable.
They don’t realize that longer extension cords have more resistance than short extension cords which, in turn, increases the voltage drop.
To be clear, the voltage drop is not your only concern. A significant voltage drop can lower the efficiency of your appliances. But the heat is a bigger threat. It will also increase in response to the growing resistance.
That heat can melt the wire, starting a fire. If you have long 16mm2 cables but have never recorded significant voltage drops or overheating, you are probably wondering whether the length is as essential as every technician claims.
The size of the wire will determine whether or not the distance produces negative consequences. If a conductor is thick enough, it can transmit electricity over long distances without overheating or generating significant voltage drops.
In other words, if your 16mm2 cable has never melted despite the distance, it is thick enough to meet the electrical demands of your application over that distance without overheating.
The key is to match the wire size to the distance. If you observe notable signs of overheating, or if the voltage drop becomes an obstacle, get a thicker wire. 16mm2 is not the only option on the market.
16mm2 Armored Cable Amp Rating
The 16mm2 armored cables have an amp rating as high as 94 amps. You can use it for underground installation.
They are a perfect fit for mains supply electricity. You can bury them directly without using conduits. You can also trust them to resist chemical corrosion, extreme heat, and other stressful environmental factors.
They have longer lifespans even when you run them through settings with high ambient temperatures. The steel tape and braided mesh in the sheath make armored cabling significantly superior to conventional 16mm2 conductors.
For that reason, 16mm2 armored cables are also more expensive. Although, factors like the length, material, and insulation will influence the final price tag.
All the same, people don’t buy 16mm2 armored cables unless they need them.