Questions tagged [neutral]

For questions relating to the neutral wire, or "grounded conductor" as it's sometimes called. The neutral, or "grounded conductor" in NEC, is the normal return path for electricity in a household AC circuit.

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4answers
1k views

What are the risks of sending low-current neutral through the ground wire?

I have an existing switch that controls an outlet. I'd like to replace it with a smart-home switch, which requires a neutral wire to power the switch itself. However, there is no neutral wire at the ...
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1answer
539 views

Is my plan to add a neutral wire to a switch box ok?

I'd like to add a neutral wire to an old switch box so that I can install a smart switch that needs a neutral wire. I have a mud room and porch that each have a light fixture. The lights are ...
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1answer
49 views

Installing light switch that requires neutral wire - wire is continuous through box

I have a new switch that requires a neutral. There is a neutral wire in the box, in the back, but it's continuous -- comes in one side and goes out the other. Is the proper procedure to cut it, then ...
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3answers
444 views

Mystery current on neutral wires coming into outlet box

In reworking outlets and switches in our 1960's California home to use AlumiConn connectors + copper pigtails where needed (instead of older wire nuts + Noalox), I came across a duplex wall box in the ...
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3answers
247 views

When splitting a 240v circuit, what happens to neutral's amperage?

My garage has very limited power with only one outlet that I share with 3 bathrooms and every outdoor outlet, 4 total, on a 20 amp breaker. (House hastily thrown together in 97' for your reference) I ...
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2answers
366 views

How can I provide neutral wires for my smart switches?

I'm trying to install smart switches, which obviously need a neutral wire. I'm pretty sure I am lucky enough that I have it, but, want to make sure and also find out how to use it. I've attached a ...
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1answer
280 views

Adding sub panel, odd main panel configuration

I am in the process of adding a sub panel to a detached garage and I have the proper gauge wire connected up to the sub panel (neutral and ground NOT bonded) with 3 conductors + ground running in ...
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0answers
47 views

switch box red wire connected to white?

i'm installing smart switches, and found the neutral in another area so i assumed it'd be in all the switch boxes. Well not these two. It's a 3 way switch, and in the back of it there are white wires ...
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2answers
1k views

Install Smart Switch - Neutral wire from adjacent switch?

There are two switches that are side by side. The one I'm replacing with a Smart switch does not have a neutral. The adjacent switch is a 3-way switch and it does have a neutral. Can I share the ...
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2answers
5k views

Taking a neutral wire from another meter connection?

I live in a two story duplex, yesterday the other unit's electricity went off, the electrician diagnosed that somehow their neutral path is not coming from the pole so he connected the neutral ...
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2answers
159 views

Why doesn't current return via the grounding conductor when it's connected in the panel? [duplicate]

Since the neutral wire and ground wire are connected in the main fuse box then why doesn't some of the returning electricity flow through the ground wire to earth?
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2answers
141 views

Are neutral wires linked to the neutral bar in the fuse box safe to touch

We have a tipical fuse box, fuses and neutral wires connected to a neutral bar. Let's say we have a closed circuit with a light bulb attached to it. The bulb is working. The neutral wire is ...
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4answers
67k views

I'm replacing my outlets and I have too many hot/neutral wires, what do I do?

I'm going through my new home and replacing my outlets. This was mostly fine, as the first outlet was very easy to replace. But, I ran into outlets that have multiple hot/neutral wires. For the most ...
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1answer
10k views

Neutral Wire is used to carry power to light switch - is this legal?

Forgive me for my crappy drawing :) to make a long story short I just moved into a home and I am taking a look at one of the lighting jobs. I noticed the light switch had no power feeding it and the "...
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0answers
53 views

Neutral wire issue

I have a lot of history on this issue and troubleshooting if someone can just bear with me...🙂 When we bought this house the previous owner had covered then eventually enclosed the back patio. When ...
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1answer
1k views

Light switch using only black wires - Incoming whites terminate together in box - New timer switch requires white neutral

I want to replace a simple single pole light switch with a timer switch, which requires red, black, white, and ground. The existing switch is in a triple box, where all three switches have only blacks ...
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0answers
43 views

Lighting neutral

Can anyone explain about lighting neutral wires (blue)? I have a 3year old house, which has blue wires in the back boxes. I am assuming that this is the neutral. On my current 1 gang 2 way switch ...
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2answers
273 views

about the saying “neutral does not carry current”

It came across to me quite frequently online that people state "neutral wire does not carry current." I thin this is a false statement. My reason is the following. For the electrical panel in my home,...
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1answer
87 views

main breaker panel to sub panel

The main breaker panel has the grounds and neutral hooked together and has bonding screw installed. Where do I put the ground wire for the sub panel? Do I put it on the neutral bare where the white ...
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2answers
100 views

Are there any issues connecting Neutral and Live at once to the supply line?

A normal plug point has the wiring structure of the normal cct diagram I've drawn below. I'm thinking about plugging a device into the outlet in a permanent way and keep the switch closed and control ...
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3answers
43 views

verify if the Ground cable is connected to Neutral cable

I want to verify if electricity outlet is grounded. For this I did a test using a bulb connecting it to Phase and Neutral and it lit (to verify if bulb works). Then connected with Phase and Ground and ...
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2answers
107 views

120V measured between different outlet grounds

I'm experiencing some electrical issues with the apartment I'm subletting. While connecting up a projector/speaker setup using outlets from different sides of the room, we discovered (through means of ...
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2answers
3k views

Smart switch wiring with no neutral

Long time reader, first time poster. Working on updates for our new house and I bought a few lutron caseta switches the other day to wire up in our front entryway. I went with the PD-6ans which ...
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2answers
836 views

Multi gang switch boxes - Is it okay to keep the same branch neutrals separated for the different lighting/switching circuits?

I recently learned from this community about the importance of keeping currents balanced in each cable. In other words, current in one direction should be canceled by the same amount of current ...
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2answers
517 views

How should I secure an unused wire in my breaker panel?

I accidentally pulled 6-4 wiring to a machine that only needs 240 and no neutral. What to do with the white wire? I read here that at the machine, I just cap the white wire. When I go to connect the ...
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1answer
59 views

Replacing light fixture UK unable to determine which wire is which

We had our kitchen redone within the last year, part of that was adding a new light fitting which was to be replaced later in the year. That time is now, I've just taken the old one off which has ...
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1answer
2k views

Electrical question on floating neutral generator for emergency use

There is tons of information on "bonded neutral" and "floating neutral" generator wiring to transfer switch. However, I have one question I cannot find the answer. I recently bought a Reliance ...
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2answers
582 views

Sub Pabel Install, NEC 250.24 question, Mixed ground/neutral at main

Did this install today on my home. How'd I do? I asked an old electrician and he said that I ought not to mix the Neutral with the Ground at the main like that cause "it could cause problems", ...
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4answers
13k views

Why is this shared-neutral wiring bad?

Summary: I have this wiring situation in my home. I gather it's not up to modern code, and I experienced why it's bad (got shocked), but I don't understand why (physics/electricity) it happened. In ...
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1answer
71 views

Small neutral wire at service drop to panel

I recently moved into a gorgeous Victorian style house built in 1890. I am concerned about the point of entry of the service drop to the fuse box.containing a much smaller neutral than i would have ...
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2answers
138 views

Does my panel with a separate disconnect need an isolated neutral bus?

Sorry about lack of language ....just need a little guidance! After a fire I had to install new meter below which I installed a small exterior breaker box . Here I can switch all power off to the new ...
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0answers
1k views

AFCI Circuit Breaker trips after turn on any light on different circuit

The last week an electrical service person came to update the circuit breakers from regular to AFCI. But they could not find the root of the problem and they will come again in one week but I wanted ...
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1answer
435 views

Baffled by 3-way switch wiring

I am the new owner of an old, WWII-era home. The previous owner rented the property out for many years, and upkeep seems to have always gone to the lowest bidder. Among other things this means we have ...
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1answer
5k views

2 wire lamp cord - which one is live?

I'm replacing a feed-through switch on an IKEA (Canada) floor lamp. Its using an SPT 2 cable (photo attached). Both wires have the same insulation color and both are copper. Neither is ribbed (as far ...
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2answers
927 views

Adding a neutral straight from panel

I had to add a neutral for a light switch. I was not able to run up the ceiling and tied the new neutral in where the light Is installed in the ceiling. The switch for the light was only a couple of ...
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1answer
107 views

Unbundling Ground Wire make unconnected wires show hot

A light that has a 2 wires (and a ground) coming in from an outlet. The 2 wires are unused. From the other side there are two wires coming up to the box. 1 of these wires connects to the light and ...
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1answer
106 views

How can I reduce flicker on an ELV chandelier?

I wired up a set of ELV lights in my dining room and used this particular dimmer switch (Lutron MRF2-6ELV-120-WH) at the switch box. The wiring was rather straightforward. No more complicated than ...
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1answer
218 views

RCBO makes one lamp blink

Let me start by stating that I'm an IT (information technology) guy, but I'm a novice at electricity. I just educated myself to some degree using YouTube tutorials and some written articles. I'm ...
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1answer
243 views

How can I be sure a wire is truly neutral?

Most sites I find tell me how to distinguish the neutral wire from the live wire. Basically, you find the one that has current and the other one is neutral. That's all fine and dandy when you only ...
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0answers
2k views

“Open Neutral” only when load applied- my tester is confusing me

I have a 20amp circuit with a 20amp GFI and 4 more 15amp outlets after it. With nothing plugged in, they all indicate (on my 3-light tester) they are wired correctly. As soon as 1 thing is plugged ...
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4answers
6k views

Why is the neutral conductor sometimes undersized in AC applications?

Why are electricians allowed to sometimes lower the size of the grounded (neutral) conductor? If alternating current is bidirectional then wouldn't the neutral technically be an ungrounded (hot) ...
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0answers
171 views

Installed smart switch but nearby circuit keeps breaking

I just installed a smart switch (Leviton Decora) in my garage and the switch works fine. But I soon noticed that the circuit controlling outlets in the closest room to the garage keeps breaking. I ...
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2answers
2k views

How should I connect a three-wire transformer in a panel with no neutral bus?

I am installing a three wire 16v transformer. My 1960 20 circuit breaker box has only two connections, hot & ground. What to do with white neutral wire?
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1answer
573 views

How to wire programmable switch to only a single set of white-black-ground wires

I have a switched outlet that I want to control using a programmable switch. I have done this before with other lights around the house but they all have 2 sets of wires: one from the source and one ...
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1answer
115 views

Safest way of temporarily working with a failed 4-wire outbuilding subpanel (one missing hot leg, neutral bonded ground on both ends)?

This is actually a multi-pronged question. I will ask it all and split out what I can as needed. I am renting a remote out building in a rather rustic location on a farm. The power situation here was ...
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2answers
2k views

How do I add a neutral bar to a sub panel?

I am adding a neutral bar to an existing sub panel and need to insulate the mounting screws so I don't ground my neutral bar, any suggestions on what to use?
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5answers
321k views

Is it ok to have mixed grounds and neutrals on bars in a breaker box?

So to continue my line of electrical questioning (and perhaps narrow down my flickering light problem), I took a look through the two panels in this house. There is a 200amp main service in the ...
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2answers
550 views

Kitchen wiring issue

We recently bought a 1978 home in Florida. The kitchen wiring leaves me scratching my head. I think I have solved 2 of 3 major problems, but need advice on the last. (see pic) 4 different 20A ...
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1answer
894 views

When connecting hot to ground, lights turn on. Open neutral?

In troubleshooting one circuit, I accidentally discovered information for a second circuit that I've also been trying to sort out. So, bottom line is I was stupid and lucky. While replacing a switch ...
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1answer
322 views

Weird wiring configuration, neutral is live

I'm trying to install a wemo dimmable smart switch to replace a regular switch. The original wiring pictured below is unlike the other 8 switches I replaced in my home. It looks like it's hooked up to ...