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What color is live and what color is neutral on old house wiring?

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Answered 2008-08-05 19:43:08

In the US older 2-conductor house wire has a white-insulated and a black-insulated wire. The white wire is the neutral and the black is the hot wire. Newer house wire has a third bare copper wire to serve as the ground wire. Insulated ground wire has a green jacketing on it. Red wires are for switch legs. You want to be sure that whomever did the wiring didn't flip the colors around. You can do this by checking the fuse or breaker box - the white or neutral wires should all run to the multi-neutral ground bus bar and the black or hot wires should each go to their respective circuit breakers or fuse sockets. On your switches and recepticals, the gold screw is for the black, or hot wire, and the silver screw is for the neutral. The green screw would be for the ground wire. Mostly, use a qualified electrician to do any work unless you are quite handy, have all necessary tools and fully aware of all safety precautions and code requirements that may exist where you live.

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