Wires that are white or gray are neutrally charged. Neutral wires, on the other hand, can transport power and represent a risk of electrocution if not handled appropriately. Power is returned to the service panel through white and gray cables. If not handled appropriately, both hot and neutral wires have the ability to shock and hurt you. For this reason, these wires must be kept separate at all times. The term "neutral" comes from the fact that it has no current flowing through it when electricity is applied to the cable. The term "hot" comes from the fact that it will cause a hot wire brush to light up when touched.
Cables used in residential construction are usually listed as either red-black-white or black-white-ground. Both types of cables should be used to ensure a good connection with no gaps where currents might flow between wires. A red cable is used to carry alternating current (AC) at high voltage from the street into the house. It can be damaged by contact with water or exposed to moisture in any other way. A black cable is used for direct current (DC) such as that found in household batteries. This cable cannot be exposed to water or it will short out. A white cable is used for low-voltage signals within the house. These cables may be located inside walls or under floorsboards. They are not intended for use as an external conduit for power; instead they are designed to transmit data.
The white wire serves as the neutral, while the other colors are hot. Electricians frequently utilize black, red, or blue wires to carry power from the main panel to a circuit. Other colors, such as yellow or brown, may be used for switch wiring. Orange cables are commonly used to connect smoke alarms.
The purpose of identifying each cable is so that they can be connected up correctly. For example, if you were to connect up a light bulb to a black wire, then it would be easy to tell that this was the case because blacks do not conduct electricity. If any two of the three wires were put into a socket with some form of lighting mechanism, it would be impossible to determine which was which unless you knew what should be on each wire. By coloring each wire differently, it makes connecting them up much easier. There are various ways that electricians label wires, but the most common methods are to use color code systems or marker tape.
In color code systems, each conductor within the cable is given a unique name based on its appearance when stripped sheathed. These names usually consist of two or more words that describe the material that appears around the conductor when it is removed sheathing. For example, black wires will often be called "black iron" or "Blacknuss wire". While working with live electricity, it is important to avoid touching anything besides metal parts of the house or appliance.
The color used for hot wires in a typical, relatively new house is white, which is also the color used for neutral wires. At least in the United States, although it differs depending on the state you live in, which is one of the main reasons we are so easily perplexed. For example, in some states a black or red wire must be used to replace a broken conductor within a cable; in other states any old scrap wire will do. Where no special color is specified by law, as long as it's not red or black they'll work.
Neutral wires should be white or grey, unless you can find another reason why not to. If you're lucky enough to have always lived in houses built after 1980, then white or grey neutrals are the rule rather than the exception. But if your house was built before then, especially if it's older than about 30 years, chances are at least one neutral wire inside it is brown or black.
The reason for this is that if you look up under the hood of your car, you'll see there are actually three sets of wiring running to each component. One set of wires carries power to the component, another set runs to the light switch near the door, and the third set goes to something called a ground. Grounding is a safety feature that prevents you from being shocked if someone touches a live wire.