Wire size?

Can anyone tell by this pic what size wire? It appears to be # 8 or #6. If #8 then the breaker should be 40 plus, correct? It is for a range and is on a 30amp breaker.


No, not “should”, “can” be 40a. NOT 40 plus.

Looks like #6 or #8AL to me. Either is fine for 30 amps.

A wire that’s “too big” for the breaker rating is always fine, as long as the breaker has a lug that can accomodate that gauge. This happens sometimes during new construction when cut sheets aren’t available on the appliances, so the electrician makes his best educated guess and runs a conservative gauge. When it comes time for the final connections, he just verifies what the actual delivered appliance needs and picks the right breaker. My only concern is whether the 30 amp breaker has a lug suitable for whatever gauge that conductor is. Among 30 amp breakers, that’s a transitional size that could either have a box lug or a pressure plate type terminal. Some brands are even available both ways. If it’s a pressure plate terminal, then it’s very likely no good for #6 or #8. If it’s a box lug, you’re good to go. That looks like a Cutler-Hammer CH breaker, and that’s my main brand. I can’t honestly remember if their 30 amp breakers are rated for #6 and #8 or not. It will say on the breaker.

I to have cutler hammer and I couldn’t find on the breaker wire size rating?

Hang on a bit… I think I have one laying around someplace. I’ll just look.

Hey, you’re right. The 40’s and 50’s have a chart molded in the side, but the 30’s only have the torque spec. I notice that it is a small box lug on the 30’s that seems like it should take up to about a #8.

I just checked CH’s website, and that lug on the 30’s is rated for one #14 through #8 or two #14 though #10. If that conductor on that breaker in the picture is a #6, then there’s a problem. There’s not much perspective in the picture, but if I had to guess I’d say that’s a #8.


The ones I have must be older. They have no chart molded on the side. I up graded to a more current box about a year and a half ago and the breakers Iam looking at are about 15 maybe 25 years old.

Next time take a close look at the wire at the entry point to the breaker, if strands are missing(cut off to facilitate fitting the wire into the lug) you have a legit problem to note. We are getting a little to technical when we have to hit the specs on every breaker in the box.

I certainly havn’t endorsed that. It’s just interesting to talk about, is all. Do whatever pleases you most.

Are you sure the wire is not AL? In any event, just based on the picture, it looks pretty likely that some strands have been cut off. It is a delimma for the home inspetor - sometimes you can’t tell for sure without loosening the connection.

I’m very curious as to why you say that. Looks pretty clean to me. When you cut off strands it is rare that you can get it to look that nice.
No, not that I have done it, but I have seen it as many times as anyone here.

I’ve seen situations where one or two strands were removed and the wire rotated (intentionally or otherwise) so that the cut strands were behind the conductor. However, I do agree that most of the time, it is visible.

More likely in the flat washer type breaker, they just flattened out the strands and split them, half on each side.
Legal? … no
The most serious violation in the world? … no.
If that was the only thing I found wrong I would probably keep walking.
If Marc is right and C/H doesn’t make a set screw breaker in 30a the “fix” might be worse than the violation. (an extra splice to a #10 pigtail)