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What Each Colored Wire Indicates

Posted by Weaver Electric at

Being a part of a world full of electrical components means that Weaver Electric in Denver is very familiar with electrical wires. It’s not as hard as you might think! An easy indicator of a wire’s type is the color! Electrical cable colors can be used to better understand what each wire is used for. Why would this knowledge be helpful? SAFETY! Knowing the electrical color code insures that accidents won’t happen! It will aid in the correct configuration of an electrical system.

Below are what each wire color indicates:

  • Black: This is the most common wire color and they are used for power in all circuits. These wires are used for 208 VAC three-phase. Black wires are not used for a ground wire or neutral wire. Instead they should be used as the power feed for a switch or an outlet.
  • Red: This wire indicates the secondary live wires in a 220-volt circuit, they can also be used for 208 VAC three-phase. They are used in various types of switch legs. The red wire cannot connect with a red wire or to a black wire.
  • Blue and Yellow: These wires are do carry power. However, they are not for wiring the outlets for our common plug-in electrical devices. Instead these colors have alternate purposes. For example, Blue wires are generally used for travelers in three- and four-way switch applications. Yellow wires can also be used as switch legs. These colors are  also used to indicate the live wire pulled through conduit.
  • Green wires Bare Copper: These wires are used for ground wires and are bonded to junction boxes and appliance connections for safety. Because it could carry significant current, they should be treated with caution. A green wire can connect only to another green wire and should never connect to any other color wire.
  • White and gray: These wires connect to the neutral bus bar within electric panel, thus they are always neutral. You can connect white and gray only to other white and gray wires.

*Stay cautious and know that ALL electrical wires, regardless of their color, could carry an electrical current. Put safety first and treat all colors of wire with the same amount of caution.

If you have a questions about an electrical component or are in the market to buy used or new electrical equipment, contact Weaver today:

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