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Old 06-07-2014, 10:17 AM   #1
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#6 or #8 wire conductors how to tell?


I recently acquired a property and found out there is a big thick romex running on two 60A breakers to a tanked water heater which does not require those wiring. My guess is at one point they had planned on a tankless ran the wires then decided not to.

Problem is I can't see the jacket labels on both ends. The jacket was stripped as soon as entering the junction box and the panel. I wanted to make sure those are #6 conductors and not #8 for the tankless.

I removed a short piece of the conductor and took it to Home Depot, put it against their #6 and #8 and still can't tell. The guy at HD can't tell either.

Looking at the strands, mine has seven thick strands. The conductors at HD has many more strands but each strand is much skinnier. Is there a way to tell for sure without crawling into the attic to look for the wire jacket that's readable? It's under a lot of blown insulation Grrrrr....

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Old 06-07-2014, 11:17 AM   #2
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#6 or #8 wire conductors how to tell?


If it's running to a tank water heater, there should be some exposed cable between the wall and the tank, no?

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Old 06-07-2014, 11:44 AM   #3
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#6 or #8 wire conductors how to tell?


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If it's running to a tank water heater, there should be some exposed cable between the wall and the tank, no?
No. The thick romex ran to a junction box in the utility room, then was spliced to two #10 conductors to run to the tanked heater. That's why it was speculated it was wired for a tankless then something changed.
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Old 06-07-2014, 12:15 PM   #4
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#6 or #8 wire conductors how to tell?


If you are going to use the water heater tank, just change the breaker to a 2 pole 30 amp and forget it.
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Old 06-07-2014, 12:30 PM   #5
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#6 or #8 wire conductors how to tell?


Measure the wire diameter and compare to this chart.
http://www.southwire.com/ProductCata...prodcatsheet46
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Old 06-07-2014, 01:18 PM   #6
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#6 or #8 wire conductors how to tell?


Picture of the wire?
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Old 06-07-2014, 01:21 PM   #7
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#6 or #8 wire conductors how to tell?


Regardless of stranding it is not hard to hold up next to a piece of a known size and compare.
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Old 06-07-2014, 01:25 PM   #8
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#6 or #8 wire conductors how to tell?


Is it copper or aluminum?
How long is the run?

Don't mean any disrespect by asking this, it's just something that occurred to me that could be a huge issue for some.
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Old 06-07-2014, 01:27 PM   #9
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#6 or #8 wire conductors how to tell?


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Originally Posted by plummen View Post
Picture of the wire?
picture of wire next to a piece of #6 & #8
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Old 06-07-2014, 04:56 PM   #10
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#6 or #8 wire conductors how to tell?


Quote:
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Measure the wire diameter and compare to this chart.
http://www.southwire.com/ProductCata...prodcatsheet46
Jogar.... Thanks for the chart.... I printed it for reference.... every once in a while you just can't read the sheath.

But, could you tell me what "2ft/sec wind and sun" is reference to when it says "Ampacity is based on 75 degree wire,25 degree ambiant, 2ft/sec wind and sun.) (Bottom footnote on the chart.)

TIA

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Old 06-07-2014, 04:59 PM   #11
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#6 or #8 wire conductors how to tell?


Quote:
Originally Posted by MTN REMODEL LLC View Post
Jogar.... Thanks for the chart.... I printed it for reference.... every once in a while you just can't read the sheath.

But, could you tell me what "2ft/sec wind and sun" is reference to when it says "Ampacity is based on 75 degree wire,25 degree ambiant, 2ft/sec wind and sun.) (Bottom footnote on the chart.)

TIA

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It means the wind is blowing 2 feet per second with the wire in the sun @ 25C ambient and the conductor is 75C at that current rating.

Compared to romex which is usually in a confined area and insulted and I wouldn't want to see more than 37C or so conductor temp.
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Old 06-07-2014, 09:18 PM   #12
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#6 or #8 wire conductors how to tell?


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If you are going to use the water heater tank, just change the breaker to a 2 pole 30 amp and forget it.
I don't plan to. I wanted to change to a tankless and if the wiring is already there that much better. I just wanted to make sure the conductors are #6 and not #8. Both me and the Home Depot electric guy put it next to a #6 and a #8 and couldn't conclusively tell.
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Old 06-08-2014, 01:41 AM   #13
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#6 or #8 wire conductors how to tell?


Quote:
Originally Posted by cj133 View Post
Is it copper or aluminum?
How long is the run?

Don't mean any disrespect by asking this, it's just something that occurred to me that could be a huge issue for some.
It's copper. I am not sure the exact length of the actual run. The distance between the panel and the junction box is about 30', if you add in 5' or so on both ends for the drop that will make it 40', however I have no idea if it coils, twists and turns in the attic so at least 40'.
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Old 06-08-2014, 03:24 AM   #14
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#6 or #8 wire conductors how to tell?


I have a feeling it will sit there for a while
Mocking you every day !
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Old 06-08-2014, 05:47 AM   #15
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#6 or #8 wire conductors how to tell?


Well here's the thing, if you're going from tank to tankless, you're probably going to need something better than #8 or #6 for a whole-house tankless to provide instant hot water to the degree that a tanked heater can with only #10s on a 30a breaker.

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