Did you know that wire colors have meanings? Wire colors signify the function of each wire and dictate the configuration of the wires in the electrical system. Understanding wire colors is important if you’re going to do any sort of electrical wiring safely, so here’s a guide to help you out.
In all circuits, black wire is used for power. Any black wiring is considered hot, or live, meaning there is power running through it. The power wire should be used to feed power to a switch or outlet and is often used as a switch leg, the connection from an electrical load to a switch.
Like, the black wire, red wiring is considered hot. It indicates secondary live wires inside a 220-volt circuit, and it can be connected to other red wiring or black wiring. Red wires are used to interconnect smoke detectors that are hard-wired into the electrical system and for some switch legs.
Blue and Yellow
While blue and yellow wires do carry power, they aren’t used for outlet wiring for common plug-in devices. Instead, you will use these colors to pull live wire through a conduit. Blue is used mainly as a traveler for three-way and four-way switches, while yellow is used to wire switch legs to fans, switched outlets and structural lights.
Green wires are for grounding an electrical circuit, so they should never be connected to any other wire colors. In the event that a circuit’s wires come into contact with metal or other conductive materials, the green wire supplies a path to the ground. It can carry a pretty significant current, so treat green wiring carefully.
White or Gray
White and gray wires are neutral wiring, but they still carry current, so treat them with caution. Neutral wires connect the electrical panel and the neutral bus bar, a conductive metal that attracts current for distribution. White is the most common color for neutral wiring, but gray is used for the same purpose.
Whether you’re a rookie DIYer or experienced in fixing your home’s electrical problems, you should always call a certified electrician if you’re unsure of how to handle electrical wiring. Champion AC is proud to offer trustworthy electrical services to San Antonio residents. If you have an electrical problem, contact us today.
Ben is a retired Combat Controller with the United States Air Force. He started Champion AC in 2007. Ben is originally from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He is happily married and an avid fan of the San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Saints.