If you have purchased a 220V air compressor, you might be wondering what size wire gauge you need for it.
These are the kind of questions that many people have when they buy their first air compressor and sometimes these details sneak up on people because they did not consider them before they bought the compressor.
Air compressors are a very useful tool to have in your home garage or your shop, but you do need to make sure that you set things up correctly to be able to use them safely.
To safely wire a 220V air compressor, you will need a 30A and a 10 AWG wire. You can wire the black and white wire at the hot wire. Be aware of the compressor’s size to ensure that 30A is enough for your needs.
There are many variables that go into properly wiring a compressor, so you need to read on for more information.
How Many Amps Does a 220V Air Compressor Draw?
This kind of compressor is considered heavy-duty, and it will usually require special wiring and outlets to handle the amps that it will draw.
This size air compressor will draw 15 amps on average and consume 3,300 watts. This is calculated by multiplying the volts times the amps. In this case, 220 volts x 15 amps.
There are some variables that might go into your considerations, such as the existing wiring in your shop or garage space and considerations for the overall wiring safety of your space.
If you are not sure about rewiring your shop or garage to allow you to safely operate this size compressor, you should consider having a professional take care of this need.
What Size Wire is Commonly Used for 220 Volts?
Most 220 volt tools and machines will need a 30 amp circuit. This means that you will need to run a 10-2 to the outlet. This kind of wire is typically copper and can handle loads as high as 40 amps for start loads. This kind of wire can also take on 35 amps of constant load.
There are many kinds of wire that you can invest in, but you should be sure that any wire that you pick will be rated properly for the draw that your air compressor requires to be operated efficiently.
Your compressor might draw this much while it is running if you are using it consistently throughout the day for tasks.
There are not as many variables in the amps needed for air compressors as with other tools, but they do cycle on and off as needed while they are switched on.
This is a consideration for the size wire that you choose to use so that the wire will be able to handle the needs of the air compressor as it cycles.
How Does HP Effect Voltage?
The horsepower of your air compressor might impact the wiring that you need to use to operate it safely.
Horsepower is calculated by dividing work/time, but all machines that have a horsepower rating will display it somewhere so that you do not need to calculate this number yourself.
This basic measurement is used to help determine the voltage that is required for machines.
To understand how HP can impact voltage, you need to be aware that watts are directly connected to volts. Watts= Voltage * Amps. This means that if a motor’s torque doesn’t change at all, the motor speed has a one-to-one relationship with the voltage.
When there is not enough voltage available to operate a machine, it might not turn on, or it might experience reduced power and effectiveness. In the case of an air compressor, you might not get the air pressure needed from your compressor for tasks due to the lack of voltage.
In cases where the amps are too high due to issues with concurrent draw from other machines, or issues with the way that the air compressor is wired, you could experience other issues.
There might be spikes in temperature that damage the motor of the air compressor, the air compressor might not want to turn on, or you might also have issues with blown fuses and other electrical fail-safes being tripped due to the incorrect pressure on the electrical system.
In worst-case scenarios, you might experience a fire in your garage or your shop due to electrical wiring that was not made to handle the amperage draw or the air compressor.
Always consider if you think that you will need to have other machines or tools in use at the same time as your air compressor. This is a common issue that can overburden electrical systems and lead to fires and other kinds of problems that can be avoided with proper wiring.
What Breaker Will You Need for a 220V Air Compressor?
The breaker size that is built into your wiring system will predict the safety of the use of your air compressor and might also determine where the shut-off point will be during its use.
If you are using the wrong size breaker, even turning on your air compressor could trip the breaker each time. This can lead to all kinds of work slow-downs and eventually wear out the breaker as well.
For this size air compressor, you will need to have a 40-amp breaker. This will allow you to cycle and use the air compressor without shut-offs that are due to a mismatch in the breaker size. Make sure that you are using a #8 wire for this wiring set up to have the optimal results from this size breaker.
What is a Number Eight Wire?
The number 8 is the gauge of the wire. This tells you how many amps it can handle. You will see that wiring of all kinds if rated by gauge so that you can tell what kind of current it can handle safely.
A number eight wire, or an 8-gauge wire is good for 40 amps of power. The circuit breaker that you choose will need to be made to work with this size wire or you will have a dangerous fire risk on your hands.
Most electrical wiring and breakers and other parts will be clear about what kinds of amperage they can be used for as well as what kinds of wiring systems they are intended to be used in.
You should have no trouble finding the information that is needed to be sure that you are creating the right working electrical connections for the safe use of your air compressor.
Are There Other Size Wires That I Might Need for my 220V Air Compressor?
HP of the motor of your air compressor can impact your wiring needs overall. If you have a 5HP motor in your air compressor, you will need 10 AWG copper wires. This is where you might want to get a codebook to see what you will need to install for each HP motor.
You might be misled by the common knowledge that is offered by other people who have installed air compressors who do not know about the HP considerations related to your air compressor.
Overload protection is laid out clearly in the codebooks and you should have no questions at all about the wiring needs of your system if you have a codebook on hand.
The manufacturer of your air compressor will have recommended wiring information on hand as well, and you can usually use this as a good guideline for your wiring installation needs for your compressor.
Being careful not to place too much draw on the outlet that the compressor is using can make all the difference in the performance of your electrical setup during your daily work tasks and can also impact your overall electrical safety.
Picking the Right Size Wire for Your Air Compressor Is Important for Safety
Picking the right size wire and breaker set up is important for the safe use of your air compressor.
Being sure that your compressor will get the power it needs to do its job while also being sure that it will shut off correctly if there is a power overload is essential to the safe operation of air compressors in any application.
You will find that the right wiring choices will make all the difference in your daily use of this important tool and you will be able to allow your air compressor to cycle as needed without issue.
Air compressors are a handy tool that does draw a fair amount of power when it is being used. This means that you need to be sure that you have used the right size wire and the right size breaker for your unique air compressor’s needs.
You will need to look into the HP and the motor size of your compressor as well as the recommended manufacturer wiring before you set up your shop or your garage for this new tool.