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Old 11-27-2018, 04:34 PM   #1
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Why is the black and white wires tied together?


I decided to move a light fixture today. It was not centered and I just needed it moved a few inches over. When doing so I made sure to wire back exactly as it was originally wired....


I noticed that a white wire and a black wire are tied together.... should I leave it as it is? Or should I rewire it so the hots and neutrals are together with a third wire coming out to the light fixture ?


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Old 11-27-2018, 04:53 PM   #2
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Re: Why is the black and white wires tied together?


Switch loop. Leave it alone. Not all white are neutrals. Just connect the new fixture to the black and white connected to the current fixture.
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Old 11-27-2018, 07:51 PM   #3
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Re: Why is the black and white wires tied together?


Many electricians will mark a white with black marker or tape to indicate that it is hot.

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Old 11-27-2018, 09:40 PM   #4
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Re: Why is the black and white wires tied together?


Quote:
Originally Posted by cmwhitmoyer View Post
Many electricians will mark a white with black marker or tape to indicate that it is hot.

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This is actually a requirement.
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Old 11-28-2018, 07:07 AM   #5
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Re: Why is the black and white wires tied together?


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This is actually a requirement.



It may be but I've never seen a job where a pro marked it. To big of a hurry to collect the check.



I always do.
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Old 11-28-2018, 07:56 AM   #6
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Re: Why is the black and white wires tied together?


Long answer with explanation:

When the power feed comes to the light fixture, the cable going from there to the switch is called a switch loop. You have six conductors, two from the power feed, two from the fixture, and two from the switch cable.

1. Neutrals must be white. Connect the white from the power feed to the white from (or silver screw of) the fixture.

2. The hot connection to the fixture must not be white. Connect the black of the switch loop cable to the white from (or gold screw of) the fixture.

3. Connect the other two wires together to provide power to the switch. A wire connected to a hot wire or connected to a switch terminal is considered hot regardless of color. In not to distant history it was a convention that a white wire so connected is not neutral. Most recently such a white wire must be marked at each end with colored tape or stain.

4, The most modern code would require for this example that neutral go down to the switch, although an existing installation does not lose grandfathering if the light fixture is replaced. To get neutral down to the switch a 3 wire cable is needed, the red and black (in no particular order) are the raw hot and switched hot, and the white wire being hot is then moot.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 11-28-2018 at 08:01 AM.
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