#3 AWG

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JDBrown

Senior Member
Location
California
The company I work for makes a point of never specifying #3 AWG wire, because "nobody stocks it on the west coast." I don't frequent electrical supply houses, so I have no way to verify this personally, and I don't really have any reason for doubting the more experienced engineers, but sometimes their information turns out to be a bit outdated.

Can anybody verify for me if #3 AWG wire just isn't used on the west coast (California, specifically)? If it isn't, does anybody have any idea why?
 

curt swartz

Electrical Contractor - San Jose, CA
Location
San Jose, CA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
I use #3 THHN/THWN all the time. Every real supply house in the San Jose area I deal with stocks it. I believe it is only made in Black.
 

roger

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Fl
Occupation
Electrician
Stock item at all of the supply houses I deal with.

Roger
 

infinity

Moderator
Staff member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Journeyman Electrician
We try to use it as much as possible so that we don't also need to go up a size on the EGC when using #2's instead.
 

Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Retired Electrical Contractor
I just installed 1200 feet of #3 (in stock) in a 390' run of pvc. 3- #3, 1-#4 for a Hot Tub. I thing the wiring costs more than the tub itself.
 

norcal

Senior Member
The supply houses stock it here, & "here" is a city of almost 88K, so not a small town but not a big city either, somebody is being lazy & not checking things out.
 

Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Retired Electrical Contractor
I think it really depends on what most people use in your area. When I first started I had to order white devices because everyone used Ivory. Finally enough people started using it that they had to stock it. I also could get Lutron dimmers unless I ordered them. I told them I was spending thousands at Lowes and they finally made the move- many years ago but it takes a lot of complaining to get what you are using regularly.
 

JDBrown

Senior Member
Location
California
Thanks for all the input, guys. Unfortunately, I'm rarely in direct contact with our local Electrical Contractors, so I can't just say, "I'll ask Bob tomorrow." But from what I'm hearing here, things may not be as cut-and-dried as I've been led to believe. Around the office here it's always been something like, "Number threes? They only use that stuff back East!"

Looks like I'll have to make it a point to ask an EC on the next (rare) occasion I'm out at a job site.
 

JDBrown

Senior Member
Location
California
Or you could just make a phone call to the inside sales guy at a local supply house. :)
See, this is one of those cases where I don't even know what I don't know. :ashamed1:

My forays into Google have been less than I would hope -- when I search for "electrical supply stores" or "electrical supply houses" the results I'm getting seem to be more hardware stores than actual electrical supply houses. Now, if somebody could recommend the name of supply house or two in the LA area ... :D
 

curt swartz

Electrical Contractor - San Jose, CA
Location
San Jose, CA
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
See, this is one of those cases where I don't even know what I don't know. :ashamed1:

My forays into Google have been less than I would hope -- when I search for "electrical supply stores" or "electrical supply houses" the results I'm getting seem to be more hardware stores than actual electrical supply houses. Now, if somebody could recommend the name of supply house or two in the LA area ... :D

I'm not familiar with the supply houses in the LA area but try CED (Consolidated Electrical Distributors), Graybar and Independent Electric Supply. They all have locations in SoCal.
 

renosteinke

Senior Member
Location
NE Arkansas
I can relate to that comment about white devices.

I was stunned when I arrived here (NE Arkansas) to find none of the electrical supply houses stocked white devices. Thankfully, the home centers have a pretty decent collection.

Likewise, getting the specific Square D panels I'm used to is a real challenge. I just love it when I'm told a $50 panel that I used daily in Reno is a 'special order' with a 6 week lead time and costs $600!
 

Fulthrotl

~Autocorrect is My Worst Enema.~
See, this is one of those cases where I don't even know what I don't know. :ashamed1:

My forays into Google have been less than I would hope -- when I search for "electrical supply stores" or "electrical supply houses" the results I'm getting seem to be more hardware stores than actual electrical supply houses. Now, if somebody could recommend the name of supply house or two in the LA area ... :D

you want really good pricing? i won't buy stuff anywhere else than here....
and... the guy seriously stocks stuff. i can get stuff here that i can't get
anywhere else. location is 405 freeway at harbor blvd.

harbor wholesale electric.

http://www.hwes.com

4001 W Carriage Dr.
Santa Ana, CA 92704

Phone: (714) 434-2800
Fax: 714-434-7770
E-mail: Info@HWES.com

ask for mike
 
So Cal Supply Houses

So Cal Supply Houses

I use #3 a lot, but many engineers only go from #4 to #2. Lots of engineers learned this a long time ago (I'm 62 years old, been contracting for 33 years). Don't know why, probably the same reason they specify (3) 350's (instead of 300MCM) for an 800A feeder, or 6 500's (instead of 400MCM) for a 2000A feeder. And sometimes they won't reconsider, unless I send a Value Engineered proposal to them (and copy the Owner).

Unless distance, VD, or some other factor comes into play, I tend to use the closest combo that gives at or above the required ampacity. And I always size feeders for the max rating of the possible load/panel fed.

And yes, my supply houses stock #3, 300 and 400, or can get it in 2-3 days.

Davis Wholesale (4 branches), Allsale Electric (several branches), and like an earlier poster said: Independent Electric Supply, Graybar, CED.
 

JDBrown

Senior Member
Location
California
I use #3 a lot, but many engineers only go from #4 to #2. Lots of engineers learned this a long time ago (I'm 62 years old, been contracting for 33 years). Don't know why, probably the same reason they specify (3) 350's (instead of 300MCM) for an 800A feeder, or 6 500's (instead of 400MCM) for a 2000A feeder. And sometimes they won't reconsider, unless I send a Value Engineered proposal to them (and copy the Owner).

Unless distance, VD, or some other factor comes into play, I tend to use the closest combo that gives at or above the required ampacity. And I always size feeders for the max rating of the possible load/panel fed.

And yes, my supply houses stock #3, 300 and 400, or can get it in 2-3 days.

Davis Wholesale (4 branches), Allsale Electric (several branches), and like an earlier poster said: Independent Electric Supply, Graybar, CED.
Thanks, Lee. It sounds like you've been in the business about the same amount of time as my boss. It sounds like maybe supply houses here didn't used to stock those sizes but now they do. It's a good thing to keep in mind.

Thanks everybody for the information and suggestions.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
we can get it. takes a couple days. not any worse than anything else mostly. we get most of our larger wire shipped in as it is much less costly than getting it locally.

the VP of manufacturing does not like #3 because it is hard to use it up since it does not get used much, so he usually changes requisitions that say #3 to be #2.
 
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