When working on electrical systems it is important to be able to distinguish what each wire is so you can ensure your safety. The neutral wire is one that is used in many systems, so understanding what the standards are for that wire color is helpful in any environment. In addition to having an electrician who knows what color this should be, the average employee working with these systems should know as well so they can take proper precautions.
What is the neutral wire for?
In AC power systems neutral wires are there to provide a low-impedance path that goes either to the earth, or to another grounding location. This will help to prevent high voltages from passing into the system, which could cause damage, fires, or other issues. Systems that are designed to have a neutral wire should never have it left off or disconnected while the system is still energized. This could quickly cause serious safety problems that could impact those working on the machine, and others in the facility.
Standard Neutral Wire Color
In both the United States and Canada neutral wires should only be white or grey. This is because the standards put forth by both the US National Electric Code and the Canadian Electric Code match up. Many companies have facilities in both of these countries, so it makes sense to ensure the wire color codes are the same whenever possible. In other countries, however, the neutral wire color is not always white or grey. In the UK for example, blue wires are set up to be used as a neutral wire.
Any electrician or other professional who is working on any machinery needs to know what color each of the wires are. This includes the neutral wire since they are an important part of many large machines and other similar items found in facilities.
- What are wire color codes?
- How are neutral wires identified?
- What is the gray wire color used for?
- What are AC power standards?
- What’s the difference between a positive and neutral wire?
- What does the neutral wire do?