You may think, the blame is for electricians who use the same color for the hot and neutral wire but the ultimate truth is risk is yours. To wire your electrical connection in-home or office, you must carefully detect the hot wire to make the correct connection and prevent any damage. Though it is standard to use separate colored wire for the hot and neutral wire it becomes a tough situation to identify the wires if they have the same color.
To find out which wire is hot when both are the same color, there are several ways. But not all of them are recommended as some of them are dangerous to be done without a professional person. Here, we will try to guide you for the easiest and safest way to detect the hot wire.
What is a Hot Wire?
A hot wire is not the wire that has a high temperature, rather it is the wire that carries electricity from the distribution system to your socket. Let’s break it down, in the case of a 1-phase system there will be two connectors that are connected in between the breaker panel of your house to your socket or light source, etc.
In these wires, one is called the hot wire or live wire that carries the electricity from the breaker panel. The other wire is called the neutral wire which purpose is to complete the circuit. Normally hot wire is black and the neutral wire is white. But if in any case, they both have the same color, then it will be real trouble to detect the type of the wires.
How to Find Which Wire is Hot When Both Are Same Color?
There are several ways to detect the hot wire if they both have the same color. Here I’ll describe the top way which is not only the safest but also the easiest way to find out the hot wire of the electrical system even if it shares the same color as others. Let’s dive into that.
- In this way, you will need just a typical digital multimeter with two test probes. Set the mode of the multimeter into HVAC i.e. High Voltage AC (VAC or V~), that is the mode to measure High voltage alternating current.
- Touch the Red probe to one wire and the Black probe to the ground that is the metal part of the frame. You can put a small knob to the other wire for safety purposes. Now check the reading of the voltage that is showing on the display.
- If the reading is around 100 to 120 v, then it is surely the hot wire and the other one is the neutral wire. If the reading is close to 0, then it is the neutral wire and the other one is the hot wire. You can repeat step-2 for the other wire to be sure for the 2nd case.
If you get a 0v reading in both cases, that means there is no electricity on any of the wire. Check whether the breaker and switch are ON or not. It is okay to get 220v as a reading on your multimeter as the distribution voltage varies from country to country. The standard distribution voltage in the USA is 120v where in Europe it is 240v.
There is no second chance to correct a wrong work in case of electrical wiring. So, it’s always better to check all the points and joints before testing the electrical system. 3 out of 5 electrical accidents occur due to the wrong connection of a hot wire. So, detecting which wire is hot when both are the same color is very crucial. In this case, detect the hot wire by following the above steps to prevent any possible accidents on your system.