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When wiring electrical circuits for a 100 amp service, selecting the proper wire gauge specified in AWG is crucial for safety and performance. This article covers AWG sizing guidelines for various 100 amp wiring applications.
Definition of AWG
AWG stands for American Wire Gauge, which is the standard system used to specify wire diameters in North America. AWG denotes wire sizes starting at 36 AWG for the smallest and up to 1 AWG for the largest. Higher AWG numbers indicate thinner wires.
100A Service Entrance Wires
For overhead and underground 100A service entrance conductors, the recommended 100 amp awg size is 3/0 AWG. This meets NEC minimum specifications for a 100A service using copper wiring. 3/0 AWG can safely handle the 100A load.
100A Feeder Wires
When installing a 100A subpanel fed from the main panel, the standard 100 amp awg wire size is 3/0 AWG copper. This properly sizes the 100A subpanel feeder based on the designed amperage load.
100A Branch Circuit Wires
Per NEC, the minimum 100 amp awg size for branch circuits supplied by a 100A breaker is #3 AWG copper. The #3 AWG wire gauge can accommodate the 100A current on the circuit without overheating.
For effective grounding in a 100A service, the recommended 100 amp awg wire size is #4 AWG copper. This gauge meets code for proper grounding up to a 100A system according to NEC standards.
THHN Wire Insulation
THHN is a common 100 amp awg wire insulation type used in conduit. For example, #3 THHN supports 100A breakers, while #12 THHN is rated for 20A breaker circuits. THHN withstands high temperatures.
Using the standardized 100 amp awg sizes ensures the designed 100A ampacity rating is maintained. Correct wire gauges prevent circuits from overheating and becoming damaged by overloaded currents.
Voltage Drop Effects
For longer wire runs, going one gauge up manages voltage drop. Excessive drop can affect equipment function and performance. Keep distances within guidelines or upsize wires.
Wire Splice Connections
Choose wire splice connectors properly rated for the AWG gauge and amperage, such as 3/0 AWG 100A circuits. Many basic splices only support 10-12 AWG wires. Use code-approved products.
Use lugs sized for the AWG wire gauge, like 3/0 AWG for 100A circuits. Standard lugs may only terminate wires up to #4 AWG. Match lug amp ratings and wire size ranges.
Selecting the proper AWG wire size for 100A electrical systems ensures adequate capacity, safety, and performance according to NEC standards. Following code guidelines provides standardized sizing suited for 100A service.