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What is electrical wires?

When you hear the word "wire" or "cable," you probably think of electricity. And when it comes to electric wiring, these terms are used interchangeably. But there are some key differences between the two.

A wire is one electrical conductor, and a cable is multiple conductors encased in the sheathing.

Electric wires are typically made of aluminum or copper. They're either bare or insulated and can be covered in a thin layer of PVC that's colored to indicate whether the wire is a neutral, ground, or hot wire in your electrical installation. We discuss wire colors later on in this guide.

Cables contain at least one neutral wire, ground wire, and hot wire twisted or bonded together—the number of wires depends on its purpose. The wires are then insulated and encased in their own color-coded layer of PVC before being wrapped in an outer sheath to make up the single cable.

How to Identify Wires and Cables?

Wires and cables are the lifeblood of your home, carrying electricity from point A to B. But they can be tricky to navigate! Here's how to tell what kind of wire you're looking at:

Each jacket will have information printed on it to help you choose the correct product for your job. A letter code provides the attributes of the wire, along with material, gauge, and voltage rating.

Naming and Taxonomy

The NEC provides a system with letters to quickly identify what a wire's capabilities are. Some common lettering for wire includes THHN, XHHW, THW, etc.

THHN is the most commonly used type of wire in conduit and cable trays for services, feeders, and branch circuits in commercial or industrial applications. Below are the letters and attributes you'll regularly see in residential wiring:

T: Thermoplastic insulation

H: Heat resistance (up to 194 degrees Fahrenheit)

HH: High heat resistance (up to 194 degrees Fahrenheit)

W: Suitable for wet locations

Electrical Wire Color Coding

Color coding is an industry standard for identifying a wire's purpose. It can be used to help the next electrician coming to a job site and advanced DIYers who plan to do some electrical work on their own.

Black: Hotwire for switches or outlets

Red: Hotwire for switch legs and connecting to hardwired smoke detectors

Blue and Yellow: Hot wires pulled through conduit; blue is often used for three- or four-way switch applications, and yellow is for switch legs to control fans, lights, etc.

White: Neutral (can be hot if marked with black or red to indicate it's no longer a neutral)

Green and Bare Copper: Only for grounding purposes

What is the red wire in electrical?

Red wires are hot, and it’s important to keep them clear of any other colored wires. If you have a red wire in your electrical system, it’s probably a secondary hot wire that is being used for other purposes.

For example, if you have a light fixture that is controlled by two switches (one to turn the light on and off and another to dim the light), then you’ll need two separate circuits for those switches, which means two separate red wires.

You might also see a red wire if you have ceiling fans that are wired with three-way switches. A common mistake is to connect two fan circuits together by connecting one red wire from each circuit together. This will cause power problems because there will be too much current flowing through both fan circuits when they are turned on at the same time.

Wire Sizing

Wire sizing is the process of determining the proper size of wire for your electrical circuit based on the amperage it will carry. It is critical to the safety of your home's electrical system that all wires are properly sized—if they are not, you may experience a voltage drop, which can create a risk of fire.

The gauge of a wire relates to the current-carrying capacity or how much amperage the wire can safely handle. When choosing the right wire, you must consider the gauge of the wire as well as what it will be used for.

Where to buy electrical wire?

It's time to sell your electrical wire and copper wire surplus.

You've got old, broken, or out-of-date electrical wire and copper wire that you don't need anymore. You don't want to let it accumulate dust in your warehouse—or pay to have it thrown away.

International Recovery buys electrical wire and copper wire, so we can make it easy for you to get rid of that surplus inventory.

We're always ready to pay cash on the spot before we even leave your site, so you can turn your old, used, obsolete electrical wire into extra funds for new projects or internal initiatives at your company.

So if you're ready to sell your electrical wire and copper wire surplus, call us at (0086) 0755 8527 1922 for an easy and reliable solution!

Helem Incogna

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