on video Electrical Wire Color Coding Used By Electricians

Opening up an outlet or light switch box, you might be confronted with a bewildering array of wires of different colors. Black, white, bare copper, and other colors closely intermingle, yet each one has a specific purpose. Understanding the color coding for electrical wiring will help you know the purpose of each wire to keep you safe and your house's electrical system in top working order.

What are Color Code Standards?
The United States follows the National Electrical Code® (NEC), an American system for electrical standards. There are other wire color codes for international use. The NEC's code is a standardized guide that helps you safely identify a wire and how it will power an appliance or circuit.Electrical Cable and Wire Color Markings
Non-metallic (or NM) 120-volt and 240-volt electrical cables come in two main parts: the outer plastic sheathing (or jacket) and the inner, color-coded wires. The sheathing binds the inner wires together, and its outer markings indicate the number of wires and size of wire (gauge) within the sheathing. The color of the sheathing indicates recommended usages. For example, white sheathing means that the inner wires are 14-gauge and yellow sheathing indicates that they are 12-gauge.

But looking deeper, the color of the wires inside of the sheathing reveals that different colored wires serve different purposes. The National Electrical Code (NEC) says that white or gray must be used for neutral conductors and that bare copper or green wires must be used as ground wires. Beyond that are general, industry-accepted rules about wire color that indicate their purpose.
Black Wires: Hot
Black insulation is always used for hot wires and is common in most standard household circuits.

The term "hot" is used for source wires that carry power from the electric service panel to a destination, such as a light or an outlet. Even though you are permitted to use a white wire as a hot wire by marking it with electrical tape, the opposite is not recommended or allowed. In other words, do not use a black wire as a neutral or ground wire, or for any purpose other than for carrying live electrical loads.


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