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Which Electrical Wire is Hot?

Reliable electricity is a vital part of any modern home. The wiring in your home ranges from easily understood to extremely complicated. As a homeowner, you need to understand the very basics of electrical wiring. If you’re looking for information about the electrical wiring in your home but aren’t sure where to begin, look no further. Gulf Coast Electric has created this guide for Destin homeowners to help you better understand the three basic components of your home’s electrical system.

Safety first! 

Always turn off the power to whatever outlet you plan to work on. Using a small piece of tape, cover the breaker switch so it does not get turned on accidentally while you’re working. Make sure there is no power by using a voltage tester. Serious risks are involved when working on electrical systems, including electrocution and electrical fires. Proceed with caution and use the right tools. We at Gulf Coast Electric advise you to hire a professional electrician when you want to get your projects done safely.

What are all these wires?

The black wire is the hot electrical wire. Electricity is carried through this wire from the breaker box (also known as the load center) to the outlet or switch. The white wire is the neutral wire. This sends unused electricity from the outlet or switch back to the breaker panel. The green wire (sometimes it is bare copper) is the ground wire. Electricity travels through this wire back to the breaker and then outside. There it travels through a rod that is buried in the ground and is displaced. This stops the electricity from running through you! Sometimes a fourth wire is required in three-conductor wiring. This applies to three-way light switches. In that case, there is another hot wire, usually colored red. Wires must be joined together with their corresponding colors to create a circuit. If they are not joined correctly, an electrical short will occur.

Electrical Wiring Tips

  • Water is a great conductor of electricity. Avoid wet floors, keep your hands dry and keep electrical equipment away from tubs, showers and sinks.
  • Always turn off power at the load center. Mark the main switch with tape for a visual reminder.
  • Check for residual electricity with a tester. The equipment is not too costly and testing only takes a few seconds.
  • Wear rubber soled shoes and insulated rubber gloves. This is especially important when working in a damp area like a laundry room or bathroom.
  • Wear goggles to protect your eyes. This applies whenever you are using power tools.   
  • Use tools with rubber grips to minimize your risk of shock.
  • Never use equipment with damaged cords or frayed wiring.
  • Opt for nonmetallic ladders, such as wood or fiberglass. 
  • Check with your local electrical-codes department for compliance requirements.

Contact a licensed electrician for speciality wiring and any other electrical services to ensure your home’s electrical system is running properly and safely. Looking for a trusted electrician in Destin? Contact Gulf Coast Electric today!