Neutral size in breaker box

Home Improvement Asked on January 6, 2022

Hello I have a regular 3 wire 120/240 system.

Whilst looking at the service drop and breaker box I noticed the neutral wire seems very small. It is definitely smaller than the two main conductors..

I know the neutral is allowed to be smaller or at least was when the service was installed but it seems too small. Especially considering there is a 30amp outlet for an RV connected the box.

My question is can the neutral be LARGER than the conductors.. for example 1/0 if they are 2/0.

I don’t know their sizes but I have some THHN wire that is 1/0

Would make quick work to have an electrician come hook it up and hard to overcharge me for 30 mins of work with me supplying the materials

One Answer

You can always make wires larger than are strictly required.

So if your hots and neutral all must be #6, you are welcome to make the neutral #4.

In fact, one sneaky reason to do this is that a #6 neutral MUST be white or gray. Whereas a #4 can be generic black, and marked with white or gray tape to designate it as neutral. So if you wanted to avoid a run to the store, it might be a good play.

The Code requirement there is that #6 or smaller wires must be white or gray for neutral, green, yellow-green or bare for ground, and hot can be any other color. With #4 or larger, the electrical supply houses don't want to stock 3 colors of the big stuff, so Code allows you to re-mark with tape or paint to any base color, to indicate the function.

Answered by Harper - Reinstate Monica on January 6, 2022

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