“What size wire for refrigerator” is a question that has perplexed many homeowners and DIY enthusiasts. Choosing the right wire size is crucial for the safe and efficient operation of your appliance.
In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about selecting the appropriate wire size for your refrigerator.
What Size Wire for Refrigerator?
A 16 AWG wire is suitable for appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and vacuum cleaners. However, the wire size required for a refrigerator depends on the model and its electrical specifications. For example GE GNE25JMKES require 14 AWG, Samsung RF28K9380SG require 10 AWG while Whirlpool WRF535SWHZ require 16 AWG.
Refrigerators Wire Size Chart:
|Refrigerator Model||Wire Size|
|GE GTS22KGNRWW||16 AWG|
|GE GNE25JMKES||14 AWG|
|Samsung RF28R7351SR||16 AWG|
|Whirlpool WRF535SWHZ||16 AWG|
|LG LFXS30766S||12 AWG|
|LG LFXS26973S||16 AWG|
|Samsung RF28K9380SG||10 AWG|
|Whirlpool WRF555SDFZ||12 AWG|
Types of Wires Used in Refrigerator Installation
Copper wires are a popular choice for refrigerator installation because they are highly conductive and durable.
This means that they can efficiently transfer electricity from the power source to your refrigerator.
Copper wires are also flexible, making them easy to work with during installation.
Another option for refrigerator installation is aluminum wires. These wires are less expensive than copper wires, but they are not as conductive.
This means that they may not be as efficient at transferring electricity to your refrigerator. Aluminum wires are also more prone to corrosion, so they may not last as long as copper wires.
Stranded vs Solid Wires
Wires can also be classified as stranded or solid. Stranded wires are made up of several thin strands of wire twisted together, while solid wires consist of a single, solid piece of metal.
Stranded wires are more flexible and easier to work with. But solid wires are more durable and have lower resistance.
For example, if you’re installing a refrigerator in a tight space, you might want to use stranded wires because they are more flexible and easier to maneuver.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more durable option, solid wires might be a better choice.
How to Determine the Appropriate Wire Size for Your Refrigerator
Understanding Electrical Load
First, you need to figure out the electrical load of your refrigerator. This is the amount of electricity your fridge uses.
You’ll find this info in the manual or on a sticker inside the fridge. The load is usually measured in amperes (amps). For example, let’s say your fridge needs 10 amps.
Check the Circuit Breaker
Next, look at the circuit breaker box in your house. Find the breaker switch for the outlet where the fridge will be plugged in. Read the number on it.
This tells you how many amps the circuit can handle. If the circuit breaker is 20 amps and your fridge needs 10, you’re good to go!
Wire Gauge and Ampacity
Wire gauge is a measure of how thick a wire is. The thicker the wire, the more electricity it can carry safely. This is called ampacity.
The smaller the gauge number, the thicker the wire. You’ll see numbers like 14-gauge or 12-gauge on wire packaging.
The 80% Rule
Always follow the 80% rule for safety. Multiply the amp requirement of your fridge by 1.25.
So, if your fridge needs 10 amps, you’d do 10 x 1.25, which equals 12.5 amps. Your wire and circuit breaker should handle at least this much.
Choose the Wire Gauge
Now, time to pick the wire gauge. Common wire gauges for home use are 14-gauge and 12-gauge. A 14-gauge wire can safely carry up to 15 amps.
A 12-gauge wire can carry up to 20 amps. So, for a fridge needing 12.5 amps, a 12-gauge wire would be your best choice.
The longer the wire, the less power it can carry safely. If the wire from the outlet to the fridge is more than 50 feet, consider moving to a thicker wire. For example, switch from 12-gauge to 10-gauge.
Wires have different types of insulation to protect them. THHN, THWN, and UF-B are common types. Make sure to pick one suitable for your home’s conditions. If your fridge is in a wet area, go for a THWN-insulated wire.
Double-Check with an Electrician
Before making the final call, consult an electrician. They can help ensure you’ve made the right choice. Show them your calculations and let them inspect the wire you’ve chosen.
Purchase and Install
Once everything is confirmed, buy the wire. Plug in your fridge and enjoy the peace of mind, knowing it’s powered safely!
Factors to Consider When Selecting Wire Size for a Refrigerator
Electrical Code and Safety Standards
Make sure to follow local electrical codes and safety standards when selecting a wire size. This will help ensure that your installation is safe and up to code.
Using the appropriate wire size can also improve the energy efficiency of your refrigerator. Larger wires have lower resistance, which means they waste less energy as heat.
Wire Length and Distance to Circuit Breaker
The length of the wire and its distance from the circuit breaker can also affect the wire size required for your refrigerator.
Longer distances may require larger wire sizes to safely carry the electrical current.
Indoor vs Outdoor Refrigerator Installation
If you’re installing a refrigerator outdoors, you may need to use larger wire sizes to account for temperature fluctuations and other environmental factors.
Future Upgrades and Add-On Appliances
It’s also a good idea to consider any future upgrades or add-on appliances when selecting a wire size for your refrigerator.
This will help ensure that your electrical system can handle any additional load in the future.
Local Climate and Environmental Conditions
Local climate and environmental conditions can also affect the wire size required for your refrigerator.
Make sure to take these factors into account when making your selection.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Using Undersized Wires
Using undersized wires can be dangerous and can cause overheating, fires, or damage to your appliance.
Make sure to select the appropriate wire size based on the amperage rating of your refrigerator and other factors.
Ignoring Safety Standards
Ignoring safety standards and local electrical codes can also be dangerous.
Make sure to follow all applicable regulations when selecting a wire size for your refrigerator.
Neglecting Future Electrical Needs
Neglecting future electrical needs can also be problematic. Make sure to consider any future upgrades or add-on appliances when selecting a wire size for your refrigerator.
Can I use extension cords for my refrigerator?
No, it is not recommended to use extension cords for permanent installations such as refrigerators. Extension cords are not designed for long-term use and can pose a fire hazard if used improperly.
What are the signs of incorrect wire sizing?
Some signs of incorrect wire sizing include overheating, tripped circuit breakers, or damage to your appliance. If you notice any of these issues, it’s important to have a qualified electrician inspect your installation.
Can I use 14-gauge wire for a fridge needing 12.5 amps?
No, it’s better to use a 12-gauge wire for a fridge requiring 12.5 amps for safety reasons.
Is copper wire better than aluminum for fridge installation?
Yes, copper wire is more conductive and durable than aluminum wire.
Are extension cords suitable for refrigerators?
No, extension cords are not recommended for permanent installations like refrigerators.
In conclusion, selecting the appropriate wire size for your refrigerator is crucial for its safe and efficient operation.
Make sure to consider factors such as amperage rating, local electrical codes, and future electrical needs when making your selection.
By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your refrigerator installation is safe and up to code. Remember to always consult a qualified electrician if you have any questions or concerns.