What Size Wire Do You Use for an Air Conditioner? 10/2 or 10/3?

Air conditioners are a very important part of life in the summer time. They help keep your house cool, or warm, depending on what you are trying to do.

What size wire do you use for an air conditioner? 10/2 or 10/3?

If you’re stuck trying to find a wire size to fit your existing AC unit, it can be hard to know where to start. In this article, we’ll provide a quick guide to help you find the right size air conditioner wire for your unit.

10/2 wire is recommended because air conditioners are considered as single-circuit appliances.

For dual voltage appliances, you would need a 10/3 wire. For example, a range might have 110 powered lights, a timer, clock, etc; and a clothes dryer might have 110 powered tumbler motor but 220 powered heater.

Note: Always consult a professional when wiring/installing an air conditioner. In fact, it is better to let them handle these things.


What is the difference between 10/2 wire and 10/3 wire?

Every day, millions of homeowners go through the trouble of installing their air conditioners.

However, what is often overlooked is the proper wire for their unit. This is because air conditioners consume electricity, and therefore, need to be connected to a source of electricity.

The cables that are used to connect the air conditioner to a source of electricity are called the power cords. In most cases, these are 10/2 or 10/3 wire.

Key difference is…

As you can see, the only difference between 10/2 and 10/3 wires is the number of current carrying conductors.

10/2 has hot #10 (insulated black), neutral #10 (insulated white) and ground #10 (bare or insulated green).

10/3 wire has two #10 hots (insulated black and red), one #10 neutral (insulated white) and one #10 ground (bare or insulated green).

There is some confusion about the number of wire for the 10/2 and 10/3 wire for your air conditioner.

10/2 wire is the most popular wire for the 10/2 wire size, which is the most basic wire size from a heating or cooling perspective.

Importance of using correct wire size in AC

An air conditioning system is a complex, expensive and potentially dangerous system that requires careful installation. To get the safest and best performance from an air conditioning system, it is important to have the correct wire size in the system.

It is strongly recommended that you use a 10/2 or 10/3 wire for all air conditioners. This is the standard wire size used in the U.S. It is also the recommended size of wire for most refrigerators, washing machines, and dryers.

Difference between AWG and Metric System

The wire size is the gauge of the metal in the wire. The higher the number, the thicker the wire will be.

One of the questions that always comes up when people talk about air conditioning is what the difference is between the older electrical system, the AWG (American Wire Gauge), and the new system, the (customer) metric system.

Some people will claim that there is no difference, or that the AWG system is fine and just needs to be replaced with the metric system, but that is not the case.

  • AWG is a measurement unit for the electrical resistance of wire used to measure the power distribution.
  • In the US, the AWG (American Wire Gauge) is used for measuring electrical wire.


Leave a Comment