How Much Wattage can I Put on a Lamp Wire?

Joseph T. -

Commonly Recommended Lamp Wire Capacities:  

Nominal  120 Volts AC - 50 ft or Less:

18 AWG- 10 Amps - 1200 Watts

16 AWG - 13 Amps - 1560 Watts

14 AWG - 15 Amps - 1800 Watts

Please Note: 

22/2 PLT is not U.L. Listed.  We recommend it for very limited use in rewiring antique lighting fixtures when you have no other choice.  Never use more than 60 watts at 120 Volts. 

20/2 PLT is not U.L. Listed.  We recommend it for very limited use in rewiring antique lighting fixtures when you have no other choice.  Never use more than 75 watts at 120 Volts. 

 American Wire Gauge (AWG), is a standardized system used since 1857 predominantly in North America for the diameters of round wire. Increasing gauge numbers equals decreasing wire diameters. (22 gauge is thinner then 18 gauge). The larger the Gauge the more current handling capacity the wire will have.

The Pressure that Pushes Electricity Through the Wire is Called Voltage (E) Measured in Volts.  The Amount of Electricity Flowing Through a Wire when Voltage is Applied is Called Current (I) and is measured in Amps . The Power Consumed by the Light Bulb is Called Wattage (P) measured in Watts.

 Joule's Law States: P = I x E   or  Watts = Amps x Volts

A 100 Watt Bulb(P) at 120 Volts(E) uses .833333 Amps or

100 Watts = 120 Volts x .833333 Amps

 or

.833333 Amps =  100 Watts / 120 Volts

 

 

 

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