A contractor hooked up our dishwasher this way (see image), but I believe it's wrong. The dishwasher's hot (black) and neutral (white) wires are the ones going into each wire nut from the left side. The power cord he used has two white wires, though, one of which is wider than the other. Those are going into each wire nut from the right side.

As you can see, he connected that wider white wire to the black hot wire. Isn't that wider one the neutral wire? If so, that would mean those two wires coming from the power cord should be switched! Sorry if this is a dumb question. I don't know much about electrical, but I'm suspicious about this.


Dishwasher Wires

Cord Label

  • 2
    What basis do you have for assuming that the wider wire is neutral? What sort of cable is that? From the small photo it looks like a split extension cord.
    – isherwood
    May 24, 2016 at 17:51
  • Oops, thanks for correcting the misspell, keshlam. I added another picture. I don't know what kind of cord that is, but it says JSH E246719 ZH-20 on the plug and that other image shows the label on the cord. I thought the wider blade was always neutral and the wider wire would be as well, but I could be mistaken.
    – user54375
    May 24, 2016 at 18:55
  • 2
    In your picture of the cord, I see 3 equal-width wires. Where is the 3rd one connected?
    – brhans
    May 24, 2016 at 19:41
  • The third one is the ground wire. It's grounded to the box in the dishwasher.
    – user54375
    May 25, 2016 at 20:35

2 Answers 2


That looks like a standard appliance cord.

Look closely at the cord and you will notice one conductor is ribbed. Follow it... It should lead to the neutral side of the plug and the white wire on the dishwasher. The ribbed side being neutral is an industry standard, if the plug is molded on to the cord it will follow this convention.

You are correct about the wide BLADE being neutral, but wrong about how to follow it.

I think I can see the rib in both pictures, when enlarged, and it appears correctly wired, but you should double check this.

Edit addition:

example of rib:

There are different type of rib on SPT cord, the picture shows a single rib. There are also versions with multiple small ribs, which is more obvious.

On the straight cord picture in the question the ribbed conductor appears to be the one without the writing.

  • OK, thanks. That helps. The power cord wire that's connected to neutral on the dishwasher does trace back to the neutral side of the plug. That's good. The confusing thing is that both conductors are ribbed...one is just wider than the other.
    – user54375
    May 24, 2016 at 21:22
  • Added a picture @user54375, I'm not sure you're identifying the rib in the wire correctly.
    – Tyson
    May 24, 2016 at 21:32
  • Oh, you're right, Tyson. Looking at my cord from each side, I can see that the ribbed conductor is the one without the writing. He wired that to the black dishwasher wire. Wow, it is wrong. I appreciate the help.
    – user54375
    May 25, 2016 at 20:35
  • A good thing to have around the house is a non-contact voltage tester.. $10 at Lowes or Home Depot. Touching the end to the insulation on the wire will safely tell you which wires hot. Always test the tester before assuming no light means no power tho.
    – Tyson
    May 25, 2016 at 21:11

Which are the wires coming from the control box from the dishwasher and which are coming from your breaker? I'd imagine the black & white are coming from the dishwasher. If that's the case (I may be wrong here) can't you just test the two white wires coming from your panel to see which is hot? Touch the tester to the copper head of each wire (be very careful and ensure that each wire is separated, DO NOT touch any of these together while the nuts are off and the power is on) and whichever gives you a voltage reading that should be nutted with the black wire (again assuming this is the one coming from the dishwasher). Hope this helps.

  • Thanks for the input. You're right about the configuration. And, yes, I would use a voltage detector if I had one (or if I had a car right now to go out and buy one)
    – user54375
    May 25, 2016 at 20:38

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