How to calculate the wire size for a 220 volt 20 amp

Written by deborah mcdonald
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How to calculate the wire size for a 220 volt 20 amp
Wiring is important to get right for safety reasons. (wires and hoses image by Victor M. from

Getting the wiring done properly is the difference between your electric appliance working correctly and your house burning to the ground. While this may sound extreme, faulty wiring has been the cause of thousands of house fires. In order to prevent this, when wiring appliances, it's important to take the time to calculate the proper gauge wire to carry the power that you're looking to move along it.

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  1. 1

    Locate the specifications label on the appliance to determine what its proper voltage and current are. In this case, it's a 220 volt that draws 20 amps.

  2. 2

    Divide your appliance's amps by 0.80. As a safety measure, you never want the amps that the wire will carry to exceed 80 per cent of the maximum it can handle. In the case of a 20 amp appliance, you would need a wire that can handle 25 amps.

  3. 3

    Reference the wire sizes and current draw chart (see Resources) to determine what gauge wire can handle that current. In the case of a 20 amp, a 10 gauge wire will do the job.

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