In average ceiling fans consume about 80-90 watts only. Which end up in a consumption of nearly 1 ampere current in a 120 volts electric system. So, the question comes what gauge wire should be selected for a ceiling fan?
Well, generally gauge 14 and 12 is used to wire ceiling fan but gauge 14 is totally okay for a 15-ampere circuit. In homes the rated amperage of a room is generally 15 amp, so a 14 gauge is suitable for that. But if you are going to tap a ceiling fan in a 20-amp circuit you should use a 12-gauge wire in that case.
Choosing the right gauge wire for your electrical device and house wiring is a vital task. This article is going to give you the basics about all the things related to gauge wires and choosing the right one for your ceiling fan.
What Is The Amperage Of Different Gauge Wires?
The amperage of different gauge wires indicates the maximum rated current it can handle properly without being damaged. The gauge is rated in a way that- higher the gauge wire number lower the amperage of the wire. This means a 14-gauge wire will have less amperage than a 12-gauge wire.
When you are going to wire a circuit, you must know how much ampere the circuit may pass. For example, a room has a circuit breaker of 15 amperes. So, the maximum current will be 15 amperes for the circuit. That is why, you have to choose a gauge wire that is okay handling that much current.
Like I said lower the gauge number, higher the current capacity. I am giving a list of a few gauge wires with their amperage.
What Gauge Wire For A Ceiling Fan?
The gauge wire for your ceiling fan depends on the amperage of the circuit of your room where you are going to wire the fan. If the circuit is a 15 ampere one, you need a 14-gauge wire for your fan.
It is the most standard one for home usage. But you should use a 12-gauge wire if you are tapping your fan in a 20-amp circuit.
Let’s start from the basics. A ceiling fan is rated 80 to 90 watts. In a 120 volts system the fan has a current consumption of nearly 1 ampere. You may be thinking –
If the fan has only an amperage of 1 amp, then why are we suggesting a 14 gauge or 12-gauge wire?
In brief, to protect the circuit from severe damage during power surges or short circuits and to match the wires of the overall circuit it is suggested to use 14 or 12-gauge wire. Now I am going to tell about it in details.
First of all, the ceiling fan is connected to a circuit. The circuit can be limited to a room or more than a room. Whatever it is, it depends on the circuit breaker of the specific circuit. The breaker is chosen in a way, so that it does not allow any more current than the wires can handle.
Let’s take 15 amperes for example. The maximum current that can pass through the circuit is 15 amp.
From this, the fan needs only about 1 amp to operate. So, of course using a thinner wire will also work.
But during the starting or faults, the current can be much higher than the rated current of the fan, to be exact at situations it can be 15 amperes at most.
That is why, the wire should be chosen in a way so that it can handle the maximum current of the circuit.
Can I Use A 12 Gauge Wire For A Ceiling Fan On A 15 Amp Circuit?
Yes, you can. It is okay to use a higher gauge wire than necessary but it is not recommended economically. Here the circuit’s maximum current capacity is 15 amps. So, it is not going to pass more than the rated current. On the other hand, a 12-gauge wire has an amperage of 20 amps.
So, using a 12-gauge wire is more than necessity. You can use a 14-gauge wire which has a current capacity of 15 amp that perfectly suits a 15-amp circuit. You should use a 12 gauge for a 20-amp circuit. If you ever need to check how many ceiling fans on a 20-amp circuit is connectable, you must be using a 12-gauge wire.
What Is A 14-2 And 14-3 Wire?
While choosing a 14-gauge wire for your ceiling fan you might face with a wire that says 14-2 or 14-3. A 14-2 wire is a stranded wire that has two 14-gauge insulated wires and a bare neutral wire. While a 14-3 wire has three 14-gauge insulated wires and a bare neutral wire.
Both of these wires are used in home appliances. A 14/2 wire can be used in ceiling fan wiring. While a 14/3 wire can be used in a ceiling fan plus light wiring. While using both, you can have some basic about how to wire a ceiling fan with 2 switches. It might come handy.
Can I wire a ceiling fan with 14-2 wire?
Yes, you can wire your ceiling fan with 14-2 gauge wire. It is a standard wire to be used for such home appliances where the circuit is 15-amp rated.
The circuits are mostly 15 amp rated in a house. But if you are wiring your fan in a 20 amp circuit, you should use a 12 gauge wire.
Can You Use 14-3 Wire For A Ceiling Fan?
In many cases, there are lights mounted on a ceiling fan. In such case a 14-3 wire for a 15 amp circuit can be used, in fact that will be the best choice.
You will need that extra hot wire for the light of the ceiling fan. If your fan comes without a light you must know whether you can connect a light kit to any ceiling fan. If you are planning to do something like that.
Can I Use 16 Gauge Wire For A Ceiling Fan?
A 16-gauge wire can handle the amount of current a ceiling fan needs since it has an amperage of 13 amps. But if you are connecting the fan in a 15-amp circuit or more, you should be using a 14-gauge wire or more respectively.
After all the discussion you should have understood by now which gauge wire you should be using for your ceiling fan and how you should choose the current wire. Always use the gauge wire to wire your ceiling fan depending on the amperage of the circuit where you are connecting the fan. The wires should be able to handle the maximum current limit of the circuit.