The neutral wire is a component of the GEC, or grounded electrode conductor, which is a component of the home's electrical system. The connection between the neutral wire and the ground system is only created at the main electrical panel, when the bond to the earth ground is made. Before that time, the two elements are not connected together.
The purpose of the neutral wire is to provide a path for current to travel in case one branch gets damaged. If a circuit breaker opens due to a fault in the line or load, current will still be flowing through the neutral wire because it is part of the continuous loop of electricity that connects all the circuits in the house. This means that if you are using neutrals to feed power into hidden areas of your home, such as crawl spaces or sheds, you should connect them only to the neutral bus bar at the main panel.
In addition to powering appliances, the hot wires carry voltage from the panel to other parts of the house. The term "hot" comes from the fact that these wires always carry a direct current (DC) of 12 volts or less. In many houses, both the hot and the neutral conductors enter the same wall socket, with each conductor supplying alternating current (AC) at different times during the cycle. This allows each appliance that is plugged in with a cord to be powered independently of the others. The third conductor is called the "third-way conductor" or "waste conductor".
Neutral wires are often linked at a neutral bus within panelboards or switchboards and "bonded" to earth ground at the electrical service entry or transformers within the system. The term "neutral" means that these wires connect together without relation to any other part of the circuit.
The purpose of the neutral is to carry current if any part of the circuit becomes defective or breaks. This protects people from being injured by open circuits, which can happen if a wire falls off a bridge into a river for example. If no neutral were present, anyone could touch any part of the live circuit, which would be dangerous because it would include parts of the wiring that should always be dead (such as power lines going to distant houses). Neutral protection devices detect the presence of a problem in one segment of the circuit and then open a separate path through the neutral to allow electricity to flow through it instead. These paths are usually in the form of fuses or circuit breakers.
In many buildings, one leg of each switch is connected to neutral, so that both sides of the circuit can be controlled from one switch. This reduces the number of switches needed in the system compared to single-pole control; only one side of the circuit is active at a time, so both sides need not be controlled by a single switch mechanism.
Like the neutral wire, the ground wire is also connected to the earth ground. However, the neutral and ground wires serve two distinct purposes. The neutral wire forms a part of the live circuit along with the hot wire. In contrast, the ground wire is connected to any metal parts in an appliance, such as a microwave oven or coffee pot. This prevents anyone from being shocked by open circuits in these appliances.
The fact that the ground and neutral wires are part of the same circuit does not mean that they will carry the same current. For example, if you were to connect both wires to a metal fence post, it would be impossible for one conductor to carry more current than the other. Rather, the size of each conductor determines how much current it can carry.
In conclusion, the ground and neutral wires are part of the same circuit because it is important to have good electrical connections in order to prevent current from flowing through people when they touch these wires.
In alternating current electrical systems, ground and neutral are circuit conductors. The neutral circuit is normally linked to the ground, whereas the ground circuit is usually connected to the earth. Because the neutral point of an electrical supply system is frequently connected to the earth ground, ground and neutral are inextricably linked. If one of these connections fails, then the other will also fail because they are not separate paths for electricity.
The term "neutral" refers to a conductor that is not part of the live circuit but which is used to carry current from one station of the network to another. In many cases, this conductor is also used as a reference point to balance any voltage drops across transmission lines. The term "ground" refers to an infrastructure component such as a pipe or cable that forms a continuous connection with the earth. This is the most common type of circuit in domestic power supplies and it can be used as a return path for current if necessary.
The term "earth" is used interchangeably with "ground", but should be treated with caution because an electric circuit cannot function unless there is a complete connection between the earth and some part of the circuit. Therefore, although "earth" may appear on an electrical diagram as a single conductor, it actually consists of two separate components: one for live work and another for dead work. Dead work means any equipment that is not needed to provide service and should have its own independent source of power (such as an uninterruptible power supply).
The neutral wire serves as the current's return channel in order to complete the circuit. Furthermore, the two earth/ground connections provide a suitable conductor alternate way through the earth to complete the circuit. The term "return path" is used for the conductors that connect one or more outlets to a circuit breaker panel. These paths are also called "hot legs", and each must be able to carry all the load on its side of the outlet. If one hot leg were not adequate, then neither would be good enough to keep electricity flowing when needed.
In a wiring system with both live and ground wires, the third wire is called the neutral. It always connects to metal surfaces (e.g., boxes) so it can't supply energy directly into the body, but it does have to carry any current brought into the box by other wires. For example, if there is only one cable entering a single-gang box and that cable is the neutral, then every outlet in the box will have a neutral wire connecting to it.
In a wiring system with only live wires, such as old school wiring or some newer homes with no ground rod, the third wire is still necessary because without something to balance out the current, there would be no way to turn off the power at the source.