Before starting any wiring project, it is possible to identify the purposes of the different house electrical wiring if you understand the diverse electrical wire colors and their code. These electrical color codes specify the function of each wire in a given circuit. The wiring colors differentiate ideally between the hot, neutral, or ground wires.
Why do house wires come in different colors?
Understanding of the electric wire colors is essential for a person working on a circuit to identify the functioning and precautions of wires. Knowing these house wiring colors before venturing into the world of experimenting with do-it-yourself (DIY) repairs is critical.
The color of each wire is basically its identity and therefore matters a lot if you want the circuit to function appropriately. Being able to remember each wire color and its property will keep you safe from electric shocks and other hazards.
What are the different electrical wire color codes and their function?
Black Electrical Wires
Black Electrical Wires are Mostly found in residential constructions, black wires carry power to the switches and outlets in various types of circuits. One of their main functions is to act as a connection that links a switch to a particular electrical load. Black wires are not used as neutral or ground wires, as their principal purpose is to carry live electrical currents.
Blue and Yellow Electrical Wires
Although neither of these is present in a standard outlet wiring, both play a significant role as live wires passed through a channel. Yellow and blue wires work as carriers of a single current circuit consisting of three or four-way switches wherein multiple switches are controlling the same utility. These wires are also called travelers due to their function to conduct current between switches and poles.
White and Gray Electrical Wires
White and Gray Electrical Wires are neutral wires. A neutral wire acts as a connection with the neutral bus bar. A neutral bus bar is a conductive part made of metal that efficiently attracts and distributes electric current throughout the circuit. Simply put, these wires help the current return to the power source. Please note that in some cases, it possible that a neutral wire could also be carrying current and has the potential to shock you if mishandled.
Green Electrical Wires
Green wires are used as protective measures as ground wired making the circuit shock-proof and safe to use inside the house. You can identify them as the wires connecting machines to the grounding terminal through an outlet box. In a typical electrical circuit, this house wiring color follows through the ground bus bar. In case a live wire accidentally comes in contact with a conductor, green wires can safeguard you by transferring this additional current safely into the ground. For instance, if any of your appliances trip a circuit breaker due to malfunctioning, green wires will provide an escape route for the electrical current, transporting it away from you.
Other color combinations, including striped wiring, red wires, and bare copper wires, have a variety of different purposes but are not widely used. For instance, red wires connect hardwired smoke detectors to the entire power system. On the other hand, bare copper wires help connect switches, outlets, fixtures, or metal appliance frames.
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