Home Basic Electrical Wiring Part 1: Wires and Wiring Colors
Part one of a series on basic electrical wiring explores wiring gauges and colors.
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Electrical Wiring: What’s With All the Colors?
Doing electrical wiring by yourself can be tricky. Go to a home improvement center or a hardware store. Check out the spools upon spools of wire in to choose from. If you lack the knowledge as well as the experience, you should never try to do any electrical work. Why? Well, unlike a lot of home improvements that are trial and error, where wiring is concerned, if you make a mistake it could cause a big problem, such as electrical injury or even fire. That’s where wiring colors come in. Electrical wires are color coded. Let’s look at a light switch for example.
A light switch has three wiring colors usually: black, white, and green. The green wire is a ground wire, and should never be left unconnected. The black and the white wires are usually hot. Sometimes, the wire may be red in lieu of black. The ground wire is always green. Ceiling fan installation involves a black wire, a blue one if it has a light and a green wire. However, color isn’t the only thing you want to be aware of. There is also the metal used in the wire, and the gauge of wiring.
Electrical Wiring Gauges
Looking at wires, some are thicker than others. Some wires are silvery without their insulation and some are coppery. Let’s talk about metals first. Never mix copper wiring and aluminum. You can cause a chemical reaction that can lead to an electrical fire. Also you don’t want to mix different gauges of wire as it can either cause a short, a burnout, or an electrical fire. You are usually better off calling in a professional residential electrician to help you with any wiring projects.
A lot of people don’t know how something that looks so simple can actually be so hard. With wiring, there is no margin for error. The least that can happen is that whatever you’re trying to install just won’t work. On the other side of the scale however, you could end up staring at your house burning while the fire trucks pull up. So be smart. Know what you really can do and what’s beyond you. And call an electrician in Chandler for advice.
This concludes part one of our series. For more information on electrical wiring, be sure to read part two and part three as well.