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Common Electric Wire Colors And What They Mean?

When you open a light switch box or an outlet in a house or a building, you may see an array of cables of various colors like black, gray, red, bare copper, and many more. Each wire with a different color serves a distinct role. Each color defines the main function of that wire in the circuit.

All the electrical wires are fully wrapped in different colorful casings, which define their purpose. Learning about all the electrical wires’ colors and their uses is good. However, a qualified electrician should still handle all the electrical-related work because it involves high risk.

Nowadays, many companies are offering their electrical services in different countries. Just Google the best electrical contractors. If you are at North Shore, you will get a detailed list of electrician in North Shore that provide the best electrical services in your area.

Wire Colors And What They Mean

Black Wires

Hot wires are always insulated with black insulation. The black wires are used in standard household circuits. Black wires carry current from electric panels to the main destination. These wires should always be handled with precaution because they are carrying live current almost all the time; that is why they are called hot wires.

Red Wires

After the black wires, the red wires act as secondary live wires. The red wire is mostly used for large or heavy appliances like air conditioners or dryers. And smaller appliances use the black wire. This wire can also be utilized as switch legs. Another use of the hot wires is to designate and select the hot wires.

White Wires

White or gray colored wire is a neutral wire. To complete a circuit the white wire or the neutral wire sends the current back from the hot wire to the grounded portion of the main electric panel or breaker box in order to complete the circuit. So both hot and neutral wires carry current so they should be handled with caution.

Copper Bare Wire

The most common form of wire used for grounding is bare copper wire. Grounding is required for all electrical devices. Grounding provides a safe path for electricity to travel in the case of a malfunction. All the electrical devices such as fixtures, switches, and other appliances are connected via bare copper wires.

Green Wire

For grounding an electrical circuit green wires are used. Green wires serve as a failsafe in this period, allowing electricity to escape into the ground if a live wire inside the circuit comes into contact with metal or something else conductive. The green wire should not be used for any other purpose other than grounding.

Yellow and Blue Wire

The yellow and blue wire also carry current but these wires are not used in the traditional wire settings. In an electrical conduit, both the yellow and blue wires are used as hot wires. They are mostly used in three-way or four-way applications of switches.


So, these were some of the common electric wire colors. All of these wires are used for different purposes. All licensed and experienced electricians are taught about these wires and their uses. It is good for the normal individual to have knowledge about these wires and their uses.


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