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What Size Wire Do I Need for 80 Amps? (Explained)

Before you get to know what size wire you need for 80 amps, you need to know what 80 amps is. 80 amps circuits are made to be used in heavy duty environments. The service using 80 amps can deliver enough energy to heat up a small house.

You can also run heavy machines such as a welding machine using an 80 amps circuit. Now, if you know how much wire is needed for 80 amps, then you are at the right door. 80 amps require 2-gauges of wire,

However, we are going to have a detailed discussion on the topic. Therefore, to find more exclusive information, bear with us till the end.

What size wire do I need for 80 amps?

You will need a minimum of 2 gauge wire for your 80 amps. The lower the number of the wire get the diameter increases. You can also opt for 1 gauge wire for extra safety. But choosing the wrong wire may end up burning the wire. So, you need to choose the perfect wire to flow your electricity.

Choosing the wrong wire will cause the wire to burn. So, to avoid burning issues, you need to make sure that you do not go for the thin wires. The less the wire number gets, the diameter increases.

That is why you need 2 gauge or the 1 gauge wire to get your proper flow for the 80 amp connection.

Additionally, 80 amp circuits are used for heavy-duty appliances. There are different requirements for different amp circuits.

80 amp sub panel:

For an 80 amp circuit, you can use 4-gauges of wire. However, 2-gauges is the minimum. You cannot use less than 2 gauges of wire for 80 amp circuits.

As these circuits supply power to heavy-duty household machines, their requirements are different. Apart from that, smaller appliances such as Air conditioners, varieties of kitchen appliances, pumps, etc can be powered using a 20-amp circuit.

What gauge wire do you need for 80 amps?

You need 2-gauges of wire for 80 amps. However, you can also use 2 amps of aluminum wire for an 80 amps circuit.

Before you get wire for your 80 amps circuit, keep in mind that using lesser wire can increase the risk of igniting a fire. Additionally, it may risk various unwanted accidents. 

The diameter of the wire is determined by the gauge. Keep in mind that the number indicates the diameter. The lower the number the larger the size of the wire.

However, smaller lines are able to carry more electricity. But, they aren’t able to transfer the electricity safely which increases the risk of accidents.

While selecting the wire, there are multiple factors that you must keep in your mind. These factors include the distance you are trying to cover with the wire. And also, the type of wire you’re using.

Whether it’s copper or aluminum. Additionally, keep in mind that the size of the landline and breaker line wire is different.

Two reasons why you need 2 gauge wire for 80 amps

The lower the gauge number the higher the diameter of the wire. Before choosing how much wire to use, keep in mind that various factors will have an impact.

Here are two reasons why you will need 2-gauges of wires for 80-amps:

Due to safety reasons:

At a standard temperature of 75 degrees Celsius, a 2-gauge wire can handle up to 115 amps. This means that at this temperature a 2 gauge wire will not have issues transferring 115 amps. Whereas, you are using 2-gauges of wire for 80-amps.

As you are using 2-gauges of wires for 80-amps service, it is safe for the surroundings. The chances of unwanted accidents become low, as the wires can transfer electricity smoothly. 

Therefore, try using at least 2-gauges of wires for an 80-amps service. However, if you are planning on using a service that is more than 80-amps go on and use 1-gauge of wire.

Due to the distance in between:

Another reason why you must consider using 2-gauges of wires is the distance that you need to cover. Try and keep in mind that copper has a higher capacity than aluminum. So, while choosing the type of wire, consider the materials and the distance you need to cover.

If the wire used to build the connection is not enough, there’s a possibility of leakage and a short circuit.

To avoid such risks, you may need to use 2-gauges of wires for 80-amps.

How do determine wire size for 80 amps?

Here are a few steps you can follow to determine the wire size for 80 amps:

Determining the running current flow:

Before you get started, the first thing you need to do is to figure out how much current is running. For this purpose, you may use a multimeter or just simply check the label of the electrical device.

Some examples of continuous running devices are light bulbs, electric fans, chargers, etc.

Calculating the current draw:

After you have the summation of all the active devices that are consuming current, it’s time to calculate the current draw.

You’d need to divide the summation by the voltage number at which it usually operates.

Checking the wire size chart:

The proper wire size that you need is given by American Wire Gauge (AWG). They are a popular unit for measuring cables. However, you can also find the measurements by looking through the insulation of your wire.

How do you wire an 80 amp sub panel?

Here are a few steps you can follow to wire an 80 amp sub panel:

Taking measures while mounting the sub-panel:

When mounting the sub-panel ensure that it’s 1-foot away from the main service panel. And then measure how much distance each wire will cover.

Clamping the cable:

Once you have measured the cables, strip enough wire sheathing so it can be attached. Then, you would want to remove a knockout slug and clamp the cable.

Connecting the wires:

Start with routing the ground and neutral wires. Connect them to their bus bars. And then, route, cut, and again strip the red/black wires.

Once done, connect them to the feeder. Cut, strip, and connect them to their assigned terminals. The red/black wires go in the hot bus bars. Whereas, the ground wires go to the neutral to the main neutral terminal.

Clamping and routing the cables:

By now the new cables will run into the sub-panel. Therefore, now clamp each cable and then route the wires for each circuit.

Final Thoughts

You will need a minimum of 2-gauges of wire for 80-amps service. However, if you are going for more than 80-amps then go for 1-gauage of wire. The lower the gauge number the more the diameter of the wire. Not using enough wire may increase the risk of short circuit or light a fire.