TW/THW, or tracer wire, is used for general purpose wiring circuits, machine tool wiring, and internal wiring of appliances. Common applications of TW/THW electrical wire tracer is great for use in control panels, refrigeration equipment, air conditioning equipment, control wiring of machine tools, automatic washers and more. This type of wire is also found in residential, commercial and industrial buildings. Tracer wire is intended for use in dry areas not exceeding 90 degrees Celsius, or around 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The insulation on TW/THW wire is a heat and moisture resistant polyvinyl compound (PVC).

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Underground Tracer Wire

Underground tracer wire, sometimes known as electrical wire tracer, is used to accurately locate underground pipes and lines. The electrical wire tracer is laid alongside the pipes or lines during installation in order to find them at a later date for safe digging. Underground tracer wire is available in sizes 14 through 6 AWG in an array of colors, depending on the intended use. The insulation is a high molecular weight and high-density polyethylene, which is resistant to abrasions, crushing, chemicals, oils and moisture.

tracer wire from Performance Wire & Cable

Benefits of Tracer Wire Vs. THHN:

These two wires are NOT interchangeable! Tracer wire, when used as an underground locating wire, possesses many favorable characteristics that THHN wire does not. Tracer wire is much more resistant to liquids, harmful chemicals, corrosion and more thanks to its PVC insulation. As a result, tracer wire lasts much longer than THHN wire, and can prevent potentially dangerous accidents from occuring. 

Construction and Specifications:

  • The conductor is a solid or stranded copper per spec ASTM B-1, B-3, or B-8.
  • Insulation is yellow, high molecular weight polyethylene (HMWPE) ASTM D-1248
  • Operating temperature is 70 degree Celsius dry and wet
  • Voltage is 20 & 30 Mil = 30 – 300 volts (45 Mil = 600 volts)
  • 500′, 1000′, 2500′ reels standard, longer lengths available upon request

This specification describes a single conductor tracer wire. It is intended to carry a radio signal to aid in the location of buried plastic pipes. The electric wire tracer may be identified by surface printing, indicating manufacturer and/or conductor size. Custom legends are available.

Conductor Nominal (in.) Standard Lengths  Product Wgt. (Lbs./Mft)
AWG Strands Insulation O.D. Put-Up Ship Pkg.  
14 solid 0.020 0.104 500 ft. 2000 ft. 15.3
14 solid 0.030 0.124 500 ft. 2000 ft. 17.4
14 solid 0.045 0.154 500 ft. 2000 ft. 20.0
12 solid 0.020 0.121 500 ft. 2000 ft. 23.7
12 solid 0.030 0.141 500 ft. 2000 ft. 24.5
12 solid 0.045 0.171 500 ft. 2000 ft. 30.0
10 solid 0.030 0.162 500 ft. 2000 ft. 39.3
10 solid 0.045 0.192 500 ft. 2000 ft. 43.0
8 solid 0.030 0.189 500 ft. 2000 ft. 56.0
8 solid 0.045 0.220 500 ft. 2000 ft. 60.0


Tracer Wire Resources

Different Types of Tracer Wire – This article will help you decide which type of tracer wire is perfect for your next job.

Tracer Wire Vs. THHN Wire – Learn the differences between these two wires. 

Benefits of Tracer Wire – Why use tracer wire? Find out here! 

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