Color Code of Electrical Copper Wire: Visual Shorthand
Posted on Jul 19, 2018
Wire is a basic component in an electric circuit which acts as a conductor and electric circuit is the mode of transferring electricity to the house. Complex wiring system gives rise to the need of color coding, enabling the wires to be easily identified.
The electric wiring in home or offices without having color codes might prove to be tedious and dangerous job when repairing or up gradation is required. Knowing these wire colors gives an accurate blueprint which ensures safety. It is important to have knowledge of the visual codes in the household as the electric appliances used and maintained are dependent on electricity, thereby making it homeowner’s responsibility.
Electrical Cooper Wires have standard codes which distinguish the function of each and is suggested to be used universally. They have been adopted to avoid confusion between ground wires and other live wires as they all appear to be same, so that even people affected with Red-Green blindness can make out the difference.
Black: it denotes that the wire is live or hot and is commonly used in a switch outlet which is a connection running from switch to electric load. It must never be used as a neutral wire in any connection.
Red: it is a secondary hot/ live wire in 220 volt circuit. It is used in switch legs e.g. as of ceiling fan and are also used to interconnect hardwired smoke detectors. It can also be connected further to a black or another red wire.
Yellow and blue: Blue wire is used for any current carrying line that run through a conduit and Yellow wire for secondary line holding the live current in a conduit. These wires are also used in switch legs in lights and fans.
Bare Copper or green: bare copper is used for grounding the circuit and Green wire is used for closing the circuit. These wires are bonded to junction boxes and in appliance connection to ensure safety. These wires do carry live current and should not be touched.
According to our national code only three colors have been made mandatory, amongst which green or bare are for grounding and white or gray for neutral. In case of complex and large number of wires present, electrician use stripes which are most often white or blue in color. These colored stripes to have specific applications. Colored electric tape and even labeling devices are used to demarcate and simplify for future dealings.
Though there are standards for color coding wires, they are generally not followed due to local rules and exception. A common practice is using white color code for a switch leg in lightning or in three ways switch application.
It is recommended to be marked so as to indicate that it is being used to serve other purpose and to leave no room for future confusion or mishaps. These colors for coding may vary in different regions and countries or might be updated, but it is better to know the old codes as it might prove useful in case the house still bears the old code.