I am installing some light fixture, and I put a switch on the white color
wire (neutral). I read some article, it said it should be on the hot
(black) wire.. Do I have to switch it? or is it okay to leave it the way
it is? what is the difference?
The difference is that if the switch is "off" a person doing some work
on the light fixture -- e.g., replacing it by a new one -- would expect
the black to be "dead" and might end up dead him/herself instead.
On 09/20/04 04:21 pm NOSPAM put fingers to keyboard and launched the
following message into cyberspace:
It was never truer said...
Fools rush in where angels dare to tread......
"Learn by doing" is pretty good for stuff you can see, but electricity
is invisible (Until it bites you...)
Simon, move that switch to the black lead before you fry some innocent
person changing that light fixture maybe 10 or more years from now.
And, you should learn how to make sure that the black wire really *is*
the "hot" one. Someone with your present skill level may have worked on
the wiring ahead of the point you're at previously and switched colors
My name is Jeff Wisnia and I approved this message....
No. It's unsafe.
The switch should disconnect the 'hot' or 'live' wire, which is usually the
black or in some cases a red wire.
While the light switch will/may appear to work Ok you would find that with
the neutral switched off the light fixture will be alive and potentially
Also if a fault developed in the light fixture or it's wiring it could
potentially overheat or be 'live' to someone unknowingly touching or working
on it, maybe years from now. For example someone, perhaps your relative or a
stranger, trying to remove a broken off lamp bulb and thinking the
electricity is 'off' could get a lethal shock perhaps while standing on a
step ladder, fall and be injured. Your liability/house insurance probably
wouldn't cover you if the miswiring was discovered!
While you're at it, you might make sure that the light fixture itself is
connected properly. The switched "hot" should connect to the center terminal
(usually a gold screw or black pigtail wire) and the "neutral" should connect
to the screwshell (usually a silver screw or white pigtail wire).
This is required by Code and makes sense. If someone were changing the bulb
with the switch on, and the screwshell were connected to the "hot", they
could possibly get a dangerous shock. With the center terminal connected to
the "hot" it's much less likely.
I agree with what you started to say. but i think you go
very wrong when you suggest that someone may injure themselves
working in the connection box with the switch OFF. Switching off
the light at a switch is NEVER the right way to turn off the power.
anyone that does that should be very electricity-wise and
check with a volt-meter before touching any wires.
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