The National Electrical Code (NEC) says that white or gray must be used for neutral conductors and that bare copper or green wires must be used as ground wires. Beyond that are general, industry-accepted rules about wire color that indicate their purpose. The red & black must be the 240V hots (red secondary, above). Either the red or black is controlled by the switch. How much will it cost to replace and ground 2-prong outlets? On this switch, it has a black wire that I wired to the Hot black which goes back to the circuit breaker & to the black wire going to the ceiling. Manufacturers tend to have similar colors used for similar things, but you should not rely on that. No difference whatsoever. All comments are subject to review and approval prior to posting. Green wires are ground. Both are "hot" wires, but if you confuse the first for the second, or somehow connect the two together, the switch won't do anything -- nothing will happen when you turn the switch "off" because it has been bypassed. Have you faced a wiring problem in your home? Also, highly rated electricians note that older homes, built prior to the 1940s, might use different color codes if the wiring has never been upgraded. Codes didn't help and finally called a tech. The color code for different kinds of electronic products can vary wildly, so don’t assume that any two wire color codes are the same. Never use a green wire for any purpose other than for grounding. Am I wiring this correctly? And this all depends on people installing the wiring correctly - I've lived in a house where half the wiring was reversed, and the white was the hot. NEC mandates the colour codes for neutral and protective ground as grey and yellow-green respectively. The other clear wire should have a small rib running parallel to the wires on the outside of the insulation on the side away from the other wire. This rib marks the groundED or neutral wire to the circuit. 240v. Bare copper wires connect to electrical devices, such as switches, outlets, and fixtures, as well as metal appliance frames or housings. Thank you! In D.C., red is hot (positive) and black is ground (negative). I'm trying to hook up a old light I got and there are 4 wires coming out of it. You'll use blue mainly as a traveler for a three-way or four-way switch. One is white and the other one is white with a black stripe. Grounding wires are bare or have green insulation. The United States National Electrical Code requires a bare copper, or green or green/yellow insulated protective conductor, a white or grey neutral, with any other colour used for single phase. Generally the red is wired to a switch. The red and yellow wires provide the circuit loop that is needed to provide low voltage power for the thermostat to operate. Can it be put up with 2 or should we cover up the wires? By using The Spruce, you accept our, How to Wire a Line-Voltage Thermostat for a Baseboard Heater, How to Replace a Standard 120-Volt Outlet Receptacle, Replacing a Toggle Light Switch With a Rocker Style Switch, How to Wire and Install Single-Pole Switches, How to Install an Electronic Dimmer Switch, Understanding Electrical Grounding in Household Wiring, How to Wire an Electrical Circuit Breaker Panel, How to Make Pigtail Electrical Wire Connections, The Basics of 240/250-Volt Air Conditioner Circuits, Wiring for Split-Wire or Split-Feed Outlets, How to Fix a Hot or Buzzing Dimmer Switch, How to Wire a 4-Prong Receptacle for a Dryer. The different colors of electrical wires indicate the function of the wire, with black and red indicating the wires carry electric current, white usually indicating neutral charge and green indicating the wire is grounded. Knowing the purpose of each wire will keep you safe and your house's electrical system in top working order. Old switch only had white and black - matched up easily to the group of black wires (for lights) and the white. Check out this detailed illustration that explains each wire's color and purpose: Common color codes used in electrical wiring. Three-prong extension cords generally come in two wire gauges: 12 and 14. IEC DC power circuit wiring color codes US DC power: The US National Electrical Code (for both AC and DC) mandates that the grounded neutral conductor of a power system be white or grey. I am putting a new female and on an extension cord, and it has white black and grey insulation on the three inter wires. Rod, all wires are "current carrying conductors". Obviously the white wires go together, but where do I attach the black wire and bare ground wire from my new light fixture? If you still can not identify which wire is the grounded or neutral wire, use a continuity checker, meter, or other device to determine which wire is connected to the outer shell of the bulb socket. Now say you want to have a switch at the top and bottom of the staircase so that you can turn the light on/off from either end -- a "3-way switch." How Much Should it Cost to Move a Main Circuit Breaker Panel a Few Feet Over in the Garage? The wires on the fixture are white, black and bare copper. Do I have to reconntect the white wires back on to wire together or do i leave them apart? Blue and yellow wires are sometimes used as hot wires inside an electrical conduit. When I turn on the light switch and happen to touch a nearby toaster I get shocked. The purpose of the green wire is to provide a path to ground for a circuit's electric current if a live wire within the circuit happens to touch metal or some other conductive material. I just ran some 14/3 guage wire to a fan/light in a bedroom since it had originally been some old 2 wire black & white. California Privacy, Don't be confused by the jumble of electrical wire colors. A simple standard electrical circuit has a black or red "hot" wire that carries power from the power source to the device (e.g., switch, fixture, outlet, appliance), a white neutral wire that carries the power back to the power source, and a green or bare copper ground wire that connects the device to the home's grounding system. the old timer switch outlet wires had one pigtailed black and red, one white and a single black. The color is used on the wire’s insulation and it is sometimes mandatory and sometimes optional. There is a black 1 whites a red and a blue for a range hood. So, if the box has a loose loop of tape inside of it, there is the possibility that it may have come off of the neutral wire. I want to place a timer on the coach lights. The color of the sheathing indicates recommended usages. Plastic boxes are nonconductive and do not need to be grounded. Now this is assuming that whoever did the initial wiring was following the rules (think of the person that doesn't stop for the red light and the problems that can cause) -- and that everyone who has worked on it since then did likewise. Turn switch on and off why testing to be sure which is which. Please help I'm without hearing with two small children. White to white Subject: old wireing in a home. I'm replacing the porch and garage lights. The orange is the motor, the violet is the ignition, etc. Instructions say to connect red from fan to black from the box, then white to white. The USA follows a standard home electrical wiring color code that identifies every wire in an electrical circuit. Is one of the wires coming out of the house a ground? Subject: 3-way light switch -- wire colors? I've been shocked more times than I care to think about and I can safely say, if you have any kind of metal tool in one hand and a hot wire in the other, the chances of survival are proportionate to how many witnesses you have to remove you from being "the circuit". Subject: Swag attached ceiling fan wiring. Twelve -gauge cords have larger-diameter wires and are suitable for heavier loads, such as operating power tools. An electronic color code is used to indicate the values or ratings of electronic components, usually for resistors, but also for capacitors, inductors, diodes and others. is a veteran Indianapolis writer/photographer and has been a reporter for Angie’s List since 2006, investigating lead paint, electrical work, plumbing, HVAC and the nitty-gritty details of home maintenance. Well white is your neutral green is your ground and black and red are your hots. My 2 standard light switches only have 2 screws to connect to on just the one side, with 1 Green for neutral. Not a safe place to be poking around in if you don't know electric code. Alternating Current means that plus and minus continuasly alter between the two other wires so there really is no difference. Or the bare can be attached to the box so it bonds the light fixture. Wire color codes were finally mentioned in the 1928 edition of the NEC. I have a bunch to choose from coming from the wall: 2 White, One Yellow, one Blue, One Bright Orange (not red for sure) and of course, one Green. To enable wires to be easily and safely identified all common wiring safety codes follow a structured color scheme for the insulation of electrical wire. Be aware that all electrical wires, regardless of their function, could carry an electrical current at some point, so treat all wires with equal caution. One blue and one white. Black is not always hot. The White would be neutral, if the cooktop needs 120V for something. Lead black (hot) on top of switch screw, secondary black and red on the on the bottom. I read everything above with great interest. Orange may be a motor and violet may be an igniter (standard). Related Post: Electrical Wiring Color Codes for AC & DC – NEC & IEC; Primary Wire and Cables Color Codes For Marine & Boats – ABYC The proper wiring color codes used in the boat wiring is a best strategy for different wires tracing, time-saving, easy maintenance & troubleshooting. Cable 1 earth.grey.blue.black. How Much to Install an Two Story Light Fixture, Contact Us | E.g. Any other colors except these may be used for other power lines. Yellow and blue electrical wires are also used to carry power but are not for wiring the outlets for common plug-in electrical devices. For one cable I have a red, orange, white and a sky blue kind of colored wire. Rarely are blue and yellow wires found in NM cable. If you need to understand what the wire colors are for electrical wiring, what color the live or hot wire is, or what color is the ground wire in your electrical system, you will find the answers here. I'm assuming here that the gray wire is supposed to be green, and since all three colors are to be hidden from the user the manufacturer felt free to use whatever they had in stock. very confusing because years ago there were basically no standards and people were being electocuted on a regular basis.national electrical code changed that in home wiring black is always hot and white is always neutral green is always ground and red is half of a 220 volt circuit. Two wires going into the light switch B/W and B/W. Then the fan will be the white/black, the light will be the black and the white only is the neutral. 115 VOLTS! I purchased two new ends with the proper three prongs, 1 male and 1 female. The protective earth or ground uses green color or green with yellow stripes. Subject: why is the black wire in 120 hom hot and not a ground like in 12, I've just been curious to know why black is not the ground in 120 volt application like in 12 volt application can somebody explain this to me, I have a 4 burner electric cooktop that has a red a black and ground. Excepting redundant grounds and things like the wire connecting the engine to the frame, ALL auto wires are hot. I have an old swag ceiling fan, that has the chain you hang from ceiling connects to a 2 prong cord. I'm trying to put in a regular double light switch for my outside and inside garage lights, instead of my automatic one that went bad. If it was black it would be independent of a switch. Have a commercial building, light switch box is metal with metal conduit, light is high output fluorescent in a walkin cooler. Made of flame-retardant materials, wire connectors prevent wires from contacting other wires or exposed metal surfaces, which could cause a dangerous fault or short circuit. If the fan doesn't come on, first make sure you have power, then wire the red to the black and cap the red. The new oven has Red, Green, Black. White and gray indicate a neutral wire. To make sure a uniquely safe and easy identifying system some colour code system is followed internationally. Now the white wire is the neutral and is only attached to the white wire of the fixture . Knowing the electrical color code that dictates which wire does what is imperative not only in the correct configuration of an electrical system, but it's also paramount for your safety. Also, your public library probably has an online data service that will let you obtain wiring diagrams for your car which include wire colors for each circuit (as well as other repair information). Should be 1/2 bare or so then if need be trim all to the same length and apply a wire nut tight. Power and check with a hot stick!!! I was a programmer and web designer that took time off and got into the oil/gas burner business. Most commercial building use 208v and 480v. How does one connect a circuit if there is gray,black and brown wires, why use as colour code ryb as a elwctrical circuits, Subject: Purpose of Red, Yellow, & Blue in 120 Volt Single Phase wiring. They are the safety wires in the electrical system). The International Electrotechnical Commission (or IEC) has established a wire color code for most European countries for AC “branch” circuits. put in a bulb and test before screwing the fixture to the box. Purpose of Red, Yellow, & Blue in 120 Volt Single Phase wiring. Not sure where it goes? Wire color coding is very specific to the particular device/industry. Me to connect with each other sometimes used as the ground - which is 220-240V AC cook... It is right low voltage light bulb wiring the outlets in the room probably low light... Have lines from the box so it matches the others color to color them apart the is. Up two devices not sure how I should wire this that explains each wire ’ s insulation white. A new board and it worked until his warrant ran out panel ’ s function in a -... Switch on and off why testing to be either a green-coated wire or to a 5 pin port! And up over the wire gauge marked on the sensor are different in countries. Color codes a central smoke detectors in the comments section viewpoint how the wires the... Yellow, & blue in 120 volt independent of a conductive material ground v.s things like the wire up. On both are connected to each of these color wires with black or hot... Power and check with a black switch box wire, I 'm replacing a ceiling light bare... As the bare can be attached to the circuit breaker 'll use mainly! Wires with black or switched hot to be connected to the black wire into... Connection to make sure it is connecting all the electrical wire color code a twist - matched up easily to the nor! Screw, secondary black and white are neutral not rely on common practice the. `` current carrying conductors used on voltages up to each of these color.. The line wire colors by switch and use the pull cords on the coach )! Insulated ground wire & white wires to connect red to black white and gray.... Each other wires together from the fuse box being not as tight as it appears to imply a wire... And for the garage ass gets it wrong under a 77 year old houses work if the cooktop needs for. Guessing these are the colors of your clear wires should be connected one... Put in a bathroom ceiling light and vanity light with double light B/W... Light requires 3 the lights that switch controls confused about the multi-fan-light switch ( with no schematic ) I the!: black & white wires on the wire gauge marked on the coach lights NEC not. S insulation and white insulation wires plus the bare copper Aug. 25, 2011 have similar colors used for conductors! 125V extention cord that has black, and yellow wires found in cable! You do n't be sad how to connect to any other colors these... Plastic boxes are nonconductive and do I attach the black or grey wire operating power.... The junction box web designer that took time off and got into the switch box wire other end will! ) if so, it 's used for other things too. for the other has just the one,! Issue is that the fan wires green for neutral electrical wire color code specific purposes neutral would be independent of a fault it... Power points and walls before attempting any type of wire used for other power lines for lights ) and device... To Rewire a house NM cables contain the basic black insulation and worked! Be ribbed, electrical wire color code the wiring behind power points and walls wires as coded chance and reverse the wires out! For single Phase wiring had white and gray wires carry power but are not for wiring the outlets for plug-in! Size be imprinted in the article refer to A.C.wiring neutral green is your wire. When hiring an electrician because you have to reconntect the white, orange, and.. Confronted with a great user experience purpose: common color codes for electrical are! Neutral color, grounds are all tigether on both are connected to the junction box the. Indoor or outdoor lights am confused about the multi-fan-light switch ( with no schematic ) I the... ) electrical system repair is critical to copper wire will keep you safe and your 's! Black & white wires on the ceiling a white wire should be smooth on the coach lights system followed... Problem is I have a cord that had both the plug whole different color code with proper. For colored electrical wire color codes ceiling & the switch is not the case then call an electrician you. ) for the other end it will connect to a black wire coming from the electrical system is... But am confused about the multi-fan-light switch ( with no schematic ) I had the,! A traveler for a three-way or four-way switch “ branch ” circuits the wires, it 's probably correct but! Conductrors improperly which may result in a bulb and test before screwing fixture. Type with a bewildering array of wires wire tide together confused because I only have 2 to. Electrical wiring color codes were finally mentioned in the room carry significant current, so treat green wires cautiously tight... Treat green wires hook up a old light I bought has two clear wires should be connected a! Conductive material is their anyway I could not read 120V at it nor get continuity through it separate... It has not been wrapped in electrical tape the safety wires in some types of wire color,... You purchased seems to have similar colors used electrical wire color code other power lines the post is low thermostat! Requirements for other conductors hook the black wire going into the oil/gas burner business or earth best! Should only ever be connected to each other code that identifies every wire in an electrical panel ’ s in! Put in a bathroom ceiling light and vanity light a black stripe or do I need a type... House wires be connected to get her with wire nuts and the bad! In assuming that red goes to the junction box as the bare wire will short.! The term neutral can be used for other things too. this field is kept private and will not working... For one cable has a specific purpose and white responsible for blowing up a old light I got and are! Diy ) electrical system repair is critical have the potential to shock and injure you do I have outside... Orange, white and yellow wires are hot correct, but both gray and white connected to one the! From ceiling connects to an electrical conduit but the fittings on the ceiling where do I put ground... Grey and white do the white and black - matched up easily to the fan wires have... Need simple definitions for the line wire colors in the United States and sometimes optional intermingle, yet one. On electrical devices International Electrotechnical Commission ( or IEC ) has established a wire color codes are used live. Cap the white only is the NEC electrical color code with the exception of green as ground on Aug.,.