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thin wires increase electricity consumption?

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Kyle Taylor, Feb 12, 2004.

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  1. Kyle Taylor

    Kyle Taylor Guest


    Is it true that if you use thinner electrical wires (less than
    the requirements), the electrical consumption would increase??
    If not, what is the side effect?

    Pls. let me know other groups that can answer this because I
    need to spend a lot if I have to replace all my wires with
    thicker ones. I run a shop with 10 Horsepower aircon and over 60


  2. Mark Little

    Mark Little Guest

    As with most answers, the answer is "It depends".

    Thinner wires will have a higher resistance and this will increase the power
    lost in the wire. The increase power lost in the wire will raise its
    temperature. If the cable is not rated for this higher temperature, you can
    get a meltdown and/or fire.

    This is usually more important than overall power consumption. Having higher
    resistance in the cables will actually decrease overall power consumption,
    since the total resistance of the circuit is higher. However in extreme
    cases, this can decrease the amount of power that can be supplied to
    equipment at the distant end of the cable, causing malfunction or damage.

    If you need to replace existing wiring and you are worried about the cost,
    an electrician should be able to tell you the minimum statuatory
    requirements for your area. Not following these regualtions can void your
    insurance and this would certainly cost you a bundle if the thinner cable
    caused a fire.

  3. Roy McCammon

    Roy McCammon Guest

    Probably not.
    Anything with a switched mode power supply like a computer will simply
    draw more current to make up the loss. Things like air compressors or
    air-conditioners will have to operate longer.
  4. Jamie

    Jamie Guest

    the problem is inductive loads mainly.
    things like motors etc..
    on sync motors its not good for them to
    not have sufficient voltage to produce the
    current needed to archive full or near full
    RPM's , the results is the motor starts to fade
    into slip state and thus can cause the motor
    to heat more and draw more current than you would
    expect. this can cost more in energy and the items
    may not work to their top performance.
    Items like refrigeration units (ice boxes, Air etc.).
    have a harder time to start thus causes longer line lags
    on start up and do not operate as efficiently thus running longer
    and also the compressors get hotter due to same type of problem as
    explained at the top..
    so in short having low voltage at the location is bad enough , having
    small gauge conductors just adds to it thus you have the heating
    issue's of the wires in the raceways...
    the above was a layman's term of explanation , i am sure others could
    rip it apart to the point that you wouldn't even understand what they
    are talking about.
  5. w_tom

    w_tom Guest

    Jamie has provided the only answer that approaches technical
    accuracy. Notice that your question is dependent on the
    load. As Jamie notes, a voltage drop to motors may cause that
    motor to draw more current - eventually causing motor burn
    out. Important to have properly sized wires for motors (and
    that may mean even heavier wires if distance is longer).

    A motor load is completely different from a light bulb load
    which is also different from a power supply load. Because
    Jamie is answering about a motor load, then take extra time to
    study what he writes.
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