Electrical Wiring Colors – What Do They Mean?

Feb 28, 2022

If you are attempting an electrical system DIY, it is crucial to be aware and knowledgeable regarding the electrical color codes and what they mean. As the electrical system is one of the most dangerous systems in your home, it is smart to keep your distance unless you are an electrician, or aware of what you are doing. If you are having issues with your electrical system, we urge you to contact an electrician. However, it is helpful to be educated, especially when deciphering the electrical color codes. Continue reading as we give you a brief overview of what each wire color means.

 

Black Electrical Wires

Always consider black wires to be live. These wires transfer power to switches and outlets in all different circuits. Black wires are also used as switch legs in circuits, which means they connect a switch to the electrical load.  

 

White & Gray Electrical Wires

White and gray wires indicate that the wire is neutral. Although they are referred to as neutral, it is possible that they may carry a current, specifically if balance is lacking with the circuit’s current load. White and gray electrical wires should only be attached to one another, they should not be attached to other colors. 

 

Yellow Electrical Wires

If you have power, you can always assume that yellow wires are live. Yellow wires are used as a live wire pulled through a conduit. These wires are often used in ceiling fans or structural lights.

 

Red Electrical Wires

You can always assume red wires are live. These wires are often present in 220-volt circuits, and are considered secondary live wires. They are often seen connecting the home’s power system to hardwired smoke detectors. 

 

Green Electrical Wires

Green wires are often not live, unless there happens to be an issue with the system. These wires are used to ground electrical circuits, and are only seen connected to other green wires. 

 

Blue Electrical Wires

If you have power, you can always assume that blue wires will be live. Similarly to yellow, blue wires are also pulled through a conduit and bring power to three or four- way switches. 

 

Our goal is to help you feel more educated on your electrical panel and which wires mean what! With that being said, without professional experience it is always best to hire an electrician to get the job done properly and safely. If you have any questions about your home’s electrical system or wiring colors, talk to one of our electricians today! Since 2003, our team of experts at AJ’s Electrical Service & Repair have been assisting customers throughout the Lower Mainland with their electrical needs. Contact us today for assistance or more information on electrical wiring.

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