What are the names of the wires that run through your household sockets and light switches and their functions?

Live, Neutral and Earth. Live is the wire that carries the voltage. Neutral is the wire that functions as the return for the current path. EARTH wire is very important, it's there for safety and is connected to ALL metal components of an appliance or fitting. If the LIVE wire touches the case and you touched it, you would get an electric shock. If this were to happen with the EARTH connected the live is shorted to earth and either blows the fuse or knocks out the trip. There by rendering the appliance safe. Answer Here's a rundown: HOT wires can be any color (except the ones below). The most used colors in homes is Black and RED. Sometimes you'll see Blue. "Neutral" is called the grounded conductor and is either white or gray, or has 3 white stripes on it. That's it. No other colors can be used for the grounded conductor. The "ground" wire is called the grounding conductor and MUST be either green for bare wire. With all this in mind....sometimes a wire will be used "outside" it's color. Colored tape will re-identify its proper color. Most common is to see a white wire on a light switch. It should have black tape on it to show that it is hot (black is hot).


The conductors are termed LINE, NEUTRAL, AND EARTH (or GROUND). The neutral conductor is at approximately the same potential as the earth conductor (0 V), while the potential of the line conductor depends on the standards used in your country. In the UK and Europe, this is 230 V (nominal), while in North America it is 120 V (nominal). In Europe, the colour code is: Line (brown), neutral (blue), and earth (green/yellow stripes or bare copper).