What Size Wire For Ceiling Fan (14 or 12 Gauge?)

Now that you have your ceiling fan ready to be set up, the wiring is the only thing left to take care of. If you’re one of those homeowners installing a ceiling fan without any wiring done in the ceiling beforehand, then the first question you should ask is the wire size.

The ideal gauge wire for an average ceiling fan is 14. It is the most commonly preferred size for 15-ampere rated homes, which is the default rating. For homes having a 20-ampere rating, a 12 gauge wire would suffice.

However, there is still a lot to consider to ensure you’re making the right pick. This read will help you understand the dos and don’ts of choosing the right wire size for your ceiling fan.

Ceiling fan wire size

What gauge size wire for ceiling fan

As mentioned previously, the default answer to this question is 14. However, some homes may have a higher ampere rating, for which a 12-gauge wire is recommended. Usually, a higher gauge value indicates that the wire is rated for a lower amperage. This explains why a 14-gauge wire would be ideal for a 15-amperage. 

An average ceiling fan draws around 1 ampere to function. So then, why does one need a 14-gauge wire to draw an ampere or two? This is because when you turn your ceiling fan on, the appliance would initially draw up to 5x the amperage it usually draws. Therefore, it makes sense to give room to the current by choosing a wire that is able to handle up to 15 amps.

What is a gauge, and how is wire sized?

The gauge of a wire represents its size. It is a measurement used to denote the thickness of a wire. As stated above, this measurement is inversely proportional to the gauge size. In simple words, the higher the gauge of a wire, the thinner it would be.

Can you mix wires of two different gauges?

You can mix wires of two different gauges, but only when the difference between them is minimal. Since wire gauges are determined by measuring the amount of electricity that passes through them, you don’t want to deviate from the standard wire gauge prescribed for a given circuit. 

If the wire size is too thin to match properly with the circuit, then the chances of an overload are pretty high. Minor variations may be acceptable such as a 12-3 with 12-2 on a 20-amp circuit. But generally speaking, it is unsafe and not recommended to mix wires of different gauges.

What size wire nut for ceiling fan

In the case of a ceiling fan, a yellow or orange wire nut would be ideal. Wire nuts are used to help establish a secure and firm wire connection. Usually, these nuts are sorted according to their color, which denotes their capability of hosting differently-sized wires. 

An orange wire nut can accommodate basic fan wires together, whereas a yellow nut can handle two 14 or 12-gauged wires simultaneously. You can check out these wire nuts from Amazon here.

FAQ

How many ceiling fans can be on a 15-amp circuit?

A 15-amp circuit can easily handle up to 15 ceiling fans, provided that nothing else shares the circuit with them. This is because an average fan draws roughly 1 ampere at its normal speed. If the fan in question draws more power than normal, then the circuit would not be able to take these many fans.

How many ceiling fans can be on a 20-amp circuit?

It would be safe to connect 18-20 ceiling fans on a single 20-amp circuit as long as no other appliance is sharing the load. Note that this is roughly an estimate based on an average fan’s consumption. 

Conclusion

Dealing with wires can be tricky, but fortunately, it’s not that complex if you do your homework first. I hope this read helped you understand the wire size you’ll need to connect your ceiling fan.

Further References

Charles John

A novice DIYer who learns about home ventilation. I am a mechanical engineer and have a basic knowledge of HVAC systems but I learn continuously to make myself the best blogger in that space.

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