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Old 04-30-2010, 10:34 AM   #1
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Color coding of wires


I have a question regarding the color coding / colors of wires used in residential construction. Obviously, I know red and black are hot, white is neutral, and green/bare is ground. I also know that orange is typically used for 3 way switches. Other than that, I'm not sure why or in what cases certain wire colors are used. I did a lot of internet searching but can't find anything defying. I also know (from my own house) that the black wire comes into a switch from the power source and a yellow is connected to the other brass terminal that most likely goes to the light fixture. So I'm thinking yellow is used for switched power...Any good sources or additional info on color coding of wires?
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Old 04-30-2010, 10:43 AM   #2
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Color coding of wires


I think it works like this:

Green or bare is ground
White or gray is neutral
Anything else is hot
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Old 04-30-2010, 11:28 AM   #3
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Color coding of wires


If your house is done in conduit then there may be a bunch of different colour of wires to keep it simple.

If your house is wired in lomex or armoured cable then most likely you will only see red black white and bare ground. In rare occasions you may see a blue wire or a green wire.

Just remember as well that neutral is always white but white is not always neutral. Its common for the white to be used in a 240V circuit or as a hot in the switch leg, there suppose to be remarked to indicate this but that is not always done.
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Old 04-30-2010, 02:00 PM   #4
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Color coding of wires


Are you looking at the colors of the insulation on the individual wires or are you looking at the colors on the sheaths of NM cable that containst two or three wires?

The reason I ask is because about 5 years ago, NM cable started getting made with color coded sheaths. The white sheaths are #14 wire, yellow sheaths are #12 wire, and orange is #10 wire.
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Old 04-30-2010, 05:56 PM   #5
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Color coding of wires


Where are you located ?
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Old 05-01-2010, 01:41 AM   #6
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Color coding of wires


Quote:
Originally Posted by faromic View Post
I have a question regarding the color coding / colors of wires used in residential construction. Obviously, I know red and black are hot, white is neutral, and green/bare is ground. I also know that orange is typically used for 3 way switches. Other than that, I'm not sure why or in what cases certain wire colors are used. I did a lot of internet searching but can't find anything defying. I also know (from my own house) that the black wire comes into a switch from the power source and a yellow is connected to the other brass terminal that most likely goes to the light fixture. So I'm thinking yellow is used for switched power...Any good sources or additional info on color coding of wires?
Thanks
Most case the only colour codes is very spefic is White which that is used for netural and Green for grounding { some case Grey as used for netrual also ( more common found with 277v system )}

This part above I mention that is in the conduit { pipe } but for romex cable or MC or AC it may allowed remarked on white conductor for other use but becarefull due some case you will have either switch loop or a 240 volt circuit in there as well }

If you are in Chicago area this is pretty common standard pratice they use orange for three way shuttle some case couple other colours as well.

Really basically there is no spefic colour codes you need for circuits but only three colours I mention above that is very spefic useage. { only in conduits }

I have done couple resdentail homes with conduits that I use few diffrent colours.

Merci,Marc
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Old 05-01-2010, 06:31 AM   #7
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Color coding of wires


As the FrenchElectrician mentioned colors are a regional thing--I live in Illinois--these are customary here.
White-Neutral
Grey-Dedicated neutral for GFCI
red-black -blue--Power
Brown--travelers for three way
purple--GFCI protected power
yellow-orange---switch legs
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Old 05-01-2010, 07:36 AM   #8
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Color coding of wires


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Originally Posted by oh'mike View Post
As the FrenchElectrician mentioned colors are a regional thing--I live in Illinois--these are customary here.
White-Neutral
Grey-Dedicated neutral for GFCI
red-black -blue--Power
Brown--travelers for three way
purple--GFCI protected power
yellow-orange---switch legs
thats a nice clean layout of colors, suprised it's not universal in the states, thanx mike
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Old 05-01-2010, 10:00 AM   #9
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Color coding of wires


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Originally Posted by tpolk View Post
thats a nice clean layout of colors, suprised it's not universal in the states, thanx mike
Almost no where else in the US do they use only conduit. That is the reason for the varied colors.

Typical NM or MC wired homes:

Black & red = always hots.
White = Neutral, sometimes the hot wire in a switch loop. Many times this is re-marked to a hot color, many times not.
Green/bare = ALWAYS ground.
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Old 05-01-2010, 11:47 PM   #10
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Color coding of wires


Petey is correct. Chicago is unique. In this case, yellow is the switch leg.

I swear to God, I am so used to conduit that it would take me three times as long to trouble shoot a romex system.
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