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What Are The Amps For 12 Gauge Wire?

12 AWG cable is typically used for general indoor electrical wiring and circuits, particularly for outlets and appliances requiring up to 20 amps of current. The ampacity of a 12 AWG copper wire, including 12/2, 12/3, and 12/4, is between 20 and 30 Amps. The breakdown according to the insulation is the following:

  • 12 AWG Copper with 60°C insulation (like TW, UF): 20 Amps
  • 12 AWG Copper with 75°C insulation (like RHW, THHW, THWN): 25 Amps
  • 12 AWG Copper with 90°C insulation (like THHN, XHHW): 30 Amps

What Is The Ampacity of 12 AWG Aluminum Wire?

Aluminum has a lower conductivity than copper, which impacts the ampacity of 12 AWG aluminum wire. Here is the breakdown:

  • 12 AWG Aluminum with 60°C insulation (like TW, UF): 15 Amps
  • 12 AWG Aluminum with 75°C insulation (like RHW, THHW, THWN): 20 Amps
  • 12 AWG Aluminum with 90°C insulation (like THHN, XHHW): 25 Amps

Common Applications of 12 AWG Wire

  1. General Indoor Wiring: 12 AWG cables are frequently used for general-purpose home wiring. This includes lighting circuits and standard outlets in living rooms, bedrooms, and other rooms with high-ampacity demands.
  2. Kitchen and Bathroom Outlets, as well as other outlets with moderate power capacity.
  3. Outdoor Lighting: In size 12, cables are used in garden lights, security lights, and other moderate-load lighting fixtures.
  4. Underground Feeder Lines: When used with appropriate insulation (like UF-B), 12 AWG wire is suitable for some underground feeder lines to outdoor lighting or power outlets.
  5. Air Conditioning Units: Smaller, room-sized air conditioning units often use 12 AWG wiring, especially close to the power source.
  6. Small Electric Heaters: This gauge is often used for wiring smaller electric heaters.
  7. Ceiling Fans: 12 AWG wire is commonly used for ceiling fan installations, particularly if the fan includes a light kit or is part of a larger lighting circuit.

Common Types of 12 AWG Cable

  • THHN/THWN: This building wire is widely used in both residential and commercial settings for wiring light fixtures, outlets, and small appliances. 
  • NM-B Romex: In size 12, this indoor non-metallic wire is used in residential indoor wiring for standard lighting circuits and power outlets in dry locations.
  • UF-B (Underground Feeder Type B): This outdoor direct burial wire is used in garden lighting, power to detached garages, and low-ampacity direct burial applications.
  • XHHW: 12 AWG XHHW is used for heat and moisture-resistant applications.
  • MC (Metal Clad): In commercial and industrial applications, 12 AWG MC cable is used for wiring power, lighting, and control circuits as long as additional protection provided by the metal sheath is beneficial.
  • TECK90: This rugged cable is used in industrial settings for machinery, control circuits, and power distribution. This is a Canadian standard for cables used in harsh environments.
  • Speaker Wire: 12 AWG speaker wire is common for longer cable runs and high-power audio systems.

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What Are The Amps For 12 Gauge Wire?