Can I use 10/3 wire for an air conditioner?

Using the right type of wiring for your air conditioner is crucial and why the 10/3 wire might be an overkill for wiring even a 6-ton AC.

Installing certain air conditioning units requires complex wiring processes to ensure the unit is connected to all the right internal and external parts so that it can function properly when it is being used. It is imperative that the wiring is done by licensed electricians or contractors.

There are particular types of wires necessary for completing the wiring process and one of them is the 10/2 wire. There is also a 10/3 wire, but is this a wire that can be used to set up an air conditioning system? It will be useful to know this kind of information.

10/3 wire for air conditioners

All air conditioners need to be wired to connect them to a power source that will ensure that the components of the unit work accordingly.

When it comes to the wiring process of an air conditioning system, you should consider the choices of wires you can use.

Between the 10/2 and 10/3 wires one is preferable over the other and there are reasons for this, reasons that you should understand before you install an air conditioner.

Can I use 10/3 wire for an air conditioner?

When it comes to the wiring process of air conditioners, the key is to use the correct size wiring that can handle enough amps (an electrical current).

Typically, a 10/2 wire works better for air conditioner wiring than a 10/3 wire. The wiring of an AC unit depends on its size and voltage. The more volts the unit has, the less amps it requires for the same wattage.

The number “10” indicates the usage of 10 AWG gauge wires, which is to say 10/2 wires use two 10 AWG wires with a combined ampacity of 70 amps.

It contains one 10-gauge hot wire, one 10-gauge neutral wire, and an additional ground wire. The 10/3 wire has three 10 AWG wires with a combined ampacity of 105 amps and contains two 10-gauge hot wires, one 10-gauge neutral wire, and an additional ground wire.

10/2 wires can handle 56 amps while a 10/3 wire can handle 84 amps. This indicates that the number of amps a 10/3 wire can handle are quite high.

Air conditioner wiring does not require a 10/3 wire because there is no air conditioner on the planet that has an amp draw of more than 56 amps, even using the 220 volt circuit.

Even a 6-ton air conditioner requires wires with a minimum of 42.61A ampacity. Using a 10/3 wire is certainly excessive.

Where a 10/3 wire is better used

Air conditioners are generally considered single-circuit appliances and this is why 10/2 wires are better suited for AC units than 10/3 wires. 10/3 wiring is said to work best for appliances with a dual voltage.

Dual voltage appliances have a greater ampacity, which is why 10/3 wires are better suited for handling amp draw of more than 56 that a 10/2 wire can handle.

Dual voltage appliances require a power supply that can provide both positive and negative voltage and air conditioners hardly use this system.

The sizing of electrical wiring

It is crucial that you look for the right sized wire for when you are installing your air conditioner. The size of a wire is determined by the size of the gauge.

The bigger the gauge, the thicker the wire will be, so choosing the right size wire which, in this case, is a 10-gauge wire for an air conditioning unit, is critical.

Note that a gauge must fit correctly according to the amperage of the circuit. This is subject to change depending on the unit’s requirements.

An important safety tip for your 10/2 wire

It is advised that you always look for a 10/2 wire that includes a ground wire as they have been proven to be quite effective when it comes to protecting the air conditioner from damage caused by power surges.

If your 10/2 wire does not include a ground wire, you can expect your unit to be detrimentally affected if you experience power surges and the unit will likely get damaged.

So when you are shopping for a 10/2 wire, make sure it has a ground wire like this Woods Romex 10/2 wire with ground wire on Amazon.

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