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What Colour is the Neutral Wire

  • Post published:November 24, 2021
  • Reading time:3 mins read
Home > What Colour is the Neutral Wire

Are you confused about which wire is which? Would you like to know how to identify certain wires and understand their purpose?

It’s important to know how to identify each wire to ensure the circuit works correctly and, to guarantee your safety. By wiring a circuit incorrectly, you’ll likely damage the appliance and it could result in severe or fatal injury.

So, in this guide, we’ll aim to answer common questions on the single-phase wiring system, focusing specifically on the neutral wire. We’ll cover topics such as:

  • What colour is the neutral wire?
  • What is the purpose of the neutral wire?

We’ll also touch upon the other wires and give a brief history on them.

What Colour is the Neutral Wire?

In a standard UK plug, there are three wires; live, neutral and earth. Each wire has its own function so it’s important they are installed correctly.

The neutral wire is blue, the live is brown and the earth is yellow. Each wire has been this colour since 2006.

What is the Purpose of the Neutral Wire?

In a single-phase electrical system, the live wire carries electricity from the power supply to the appliance. The neutral wire then carries the electrical current back to the source in order to complete the circuit.

Ultimately the neutral wire allows the electricity to be fully utilised and prevents excess currents residing in the outlet.

The neutral wire can often be confused with the ground wire but, they have two different purposes. The earth wire is there for safety reasons in case of an overload or fault in the circuit. If this happens it will redirect the current towards the ground and away from the appliance. If it was absent, anyone who touched the plug or appliance would be electrocuted.

When Did the Wiring Colours Change in the UK?

Prior to 2006, wiring colours in the UK were as follows:

  • Live- Red
  • Neutral- Black
  • Earth- Green & yellow/bare

These were then changed to the new colours in order to align with Europe and prevent confusion. But, it’s important to remember that it wasn’t required to replace old systems with the new colours.

For more information on wiring colours, you can read our guide on the live wire here.

This means that if your house was built prior to 2006, it’s likely you have old wiring colours. This means you should be careful and familiarise yourself with both types.

Need a Qualified Electrician?

We hope this short guide has been helpful to you and you now understand single-phase wiring colours.

However, we suggest that if you require electrical work carrying out, you call in a qualified electrician in Milton Keynes. This will ensure everything is repaired/replaced correctly and above all, guarantee your safety.

So, feel free to contact us and speak to a friendly member of our team who will be happy to help.