Wire size?

Need help to determine wire sizes. The pic on the left, top breaker, 50amp.
it appears to me to be # awg 10 or 8. Same on the breaker right below, 30 amp, #10 or #8.
The pic on the right top breaker, 40amp, #10 aluminum?


What sorts of loads do these breakers serve? You need to know that there are instances where a large breaker, with a disparity in conductor size, may safely and compliantly serve certain types of loads.

The pic on the left serves the AC unit. The pic on the right supplies a range oven.

Don’t know about the breakers/wires, but I like the Neutrals and Grounds paired together on the bussbar.

He means it is bad, Gary. The branch ground wires should have their own terminal, not doubled with the neutrals, as this means they could become energized. Each neutral wire should be under one screw.

Up here, #10 wire is solid, #8 is stranded.

And there’s your aluminum neutral

If thats the case John, then the wires feeding the 50amp are undersized for that breaker, #6 copper for 50amps?
Also, the pic on the left 40amps, its Aluminum, what size? Perhaps #10

The wiring looks undersized to me.

What size would you say it is?

Comparing the left breaker with the single breaker below, it looks like #12 from here!

What is the size of the sgl pole breaker?

I have never seen a correct install with this small of wire on an HVAC circuit for a 240 VAC circuit. A gas furnace would be ok but that would be a 120 V.

It also looks like the 2nd sgl breaker (third down) may also be a 240V circuit. Red wire generally is part of a 240V circuit.

It is hard to determine wire size in person. Photos make it even harder.

Like Marc was alluding to, you have to know what the load is. It is not unusual to have a smaller wire going to an A/C compressor than you would use for a stove with the same breaker size.
The stove needs to be the full size mandated in 310.16 but motor loads like the A/C will typically need a wire about 60-70% of that. You need to read the label on the condenser. It will specify minimum circuit ampacity (wire size) and breaker size. You won’t think they go together if you don’t understand motors

I’m confused.

Are you saying a 50 amp Inductive load has a lower load than a 50 amp resistance load?

I don’t think so.

I see no reason to run 20 amp wire from a 50 amp breaker.

HVAC breakers are rated for HVAC for a reason. Not because of lower circuit capacity.

440.32 Covers the conductor size and breaker rating.

Branch-circuit conductors supplying a single motor-compressor
shall have an ampacity not less than 125 percent of

either the motor-compressor rated-load current or the branch-circuit selection current, whichever is greater.

Thus, your 50 amp breaker for the A/C could conceivably carry 8 gauge wire and be allowed within the code.

I got chastised for calling this out by the AHJ one time when I first started inspecting.

*duplicate post

If you feel this way, you really need to bone up on your education a bit.

It can be completely proper, safe, and legal to have a “20 amp wire” (:shock: ) coming from a 50 amp breaker for certain types of motor operated loads. You can have a breaker, for instance, 300% larger than what it would seem like the conductor can handle for a motor load. There are instances where you an have overcurrent protection up to 800% larger than what it would seem like the wire could handle.

Without some dataplate information on the equipment connected on the other end of that wire, calling anything out would be unjust, in my opinion.

Are you allowed, as home inspectors, to call out items for further evaluation that you’re simply confused by? That is to say, if something just strikes you as weird, odd, or abnormal, but you can’t put your finger on exactly why, is it permissible to call it out? Just wondering, because that might explain some of the stuff I get called in to look at.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/23/Wire_gauge_%28PSF%29.png/180px-Wire_gauge_%28PSF%29.png http://en.wikipedia.org/skins-1.5/common/images/magnify-clip.png
A standard wire gauge.

Well put Marc on #15 post

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/23/Wire_gauge_%28PSF%29.png/180px-Wire_gauge_%28PSF%29.png http://en.wikipedia.org/skins-1.5/common/images/magnify-clip.png
A standard wire gauge.

Yea, and we don’t know the wire size either.
There is a bunch of no-no’s in the PIC. I will assume the worst.


ps. I don’t call anything out unless I can show an actual overload. So I’ll just keep away from code enforcement and stick to the facts.


Yes I do.
And no one will be calling you when I do.

Code is a minimum requirement so I could care less about it.
When I see an application that is wrong for my reasons and the client also does not like the reasoning behind it, they don’t have to buy the house. That is all the enforcement I need. If the seller wants to call you in to fight about it, that’s their choice, but my client still dosen’t need to buy the house.

No one is putting #14 on a 50 amp breaker in any of my houses. I have MY reasons and that’s all that matters.

No one is going to back stab a wall outlet in my house either. I don’t care what your code says.