How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
A new question is answered every 9 seconds
Ask a Electrical question
Type Your Electrical Question Here...
characters left:
2 Electricians are Online Now

Hot Wire Questions

In a circuit, a wire that has live electricity passing through it is called a hot wire. In residential buildings, these wires are typically colored black and red. In situations in which a wire is renamed as “hot”, it is marked with a bit of black electrical tape. This helps to avoid problems that arise when wires are not recognized properly and the right connections cannot be made. When this happens, and a hot wire can’t be properly identified, the device needs to be tested with the circuit on to identify the hot wire.

Listed below are a few questions answered by electricians on issues relating hot wires.

To power an air conditioner, am I allowed to connect the neutral and hot wire to a 20 amp double pole breaker?

Yes, this is what is usually done in a situation like this. You need to use a marker or black tape to mark the white wire to identify it as a hot wire.

What is the order in which you take the wire off when doing work on something hot?

Whenever you work on anything that is electrical, ensure that the power is turned off. If you need to keep the power on, you would need to first disconnect the hot wire and cap off to prevent it from coming into contact with any other wires. Then you can proceed to remove the neutral and ground wires safely and reinstall them in reverse. All that is required are two touching points, a hot one and a neutral or ground one, or anything grounded, to cause harm or trip the breaker. Also, remember to always use a fiberglass ladder for added safety when you undertake electrical work.

I am installing a chandelier and can’t identify the hot wire. Both the wires in the ceiling box are black. My old Radio Shack volt meter has been set to 200V and has a red lead and a black lead. How do I use this to check which wire is the hot wire?

If you want to find the hot wire, you first need to get a ground or neutral reference point. You can use the ground wire in the box or if the box is grounded, that will also help. Start by bringing one lead from the tester into contact with the ground and the other to either one of the black wires. Thereafter, test the other black wire. The black wire that measures at or near 120V is the “hot” wire. In the event that you don’t have a ground in your box, get an extension cord and run it from one of the receptacles at home. This receptacle and the plug end of the extension cord should both possess a larger slot and a smaller slot. Treat the wider end as "neutral" and use this as your ground reference for testing the black wires. Insert one lead into this neutral slot on your extension cord and the other one to a black wire. Then repeat the test on the second wire. The one that gives you at or near 120V is your "hot" wire.

Hot wires can be dangerous and there are several things you need to keep in mind while handling them. To begin with, always make sure the power is turned off at the breaker box before you start any electrical repairs. Place a sign on the box that lets everyone else know repairs are going on and the power should not be reconnected under any circumstance. Also, make sure you never stand in any kind of water while doing electrical work as water can conduct electricity well and result in electrocution. Many states require an individual to have undergone special training or to have a special permit before taking on electrical work. That’s why sometimes it’s best to hire a licensed electrician to handle electrical repairs.

Ask a Electrical question
Type Your Electrical Question Here...
characters left:
2 Electricians are Online Now

How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
< Last | Next >
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
  • Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know. Robin Elkton, Maryland
  • He answered my question promptly and gave me accurate, detailed information. If all of your experts are half as good, you have a great thing going here. Diane Dallas, TX
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Ron

    ASE Certified Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    21226
    23 years with Ford specializing in drivability and electrical and AC. Ford certs and ASE Certs
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FO/fordguy4u/2011-12-17_222940_HPIM1257.64x64.JPG Ron's Avatar

    Ron

    ASE Certified Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    21226
    23 years with Ford specializing in drivability and electrical and AC. Ford certs and ASE Certs
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/lyeung1/2010-07-25_032152_tn_IMG_0241.JPG Dr. Y.'s Avatar

    Dr. Y.

    Urologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    18400
    I am fellowship trained specializing in general urology and reconstructive urology.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/docjohn174/2008-12-13_170143_johnask.jpg John's Avatar

    John

    Home Appliance Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    13453
    Appliance repair business owner for over 43 years.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8496
    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dermdoc19/2010-09-30_160749_Photo_122807_015.JPG dermdoc19's Avatar

    dermdoc19

    Dermatologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3859
    30 years practice in general and cosmetic dermatology
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BI/birddoctor/2012-6-22_173214_birddoctor.64x64.png Dr. Pat's Avatar

    Dr. Pat

    Bird Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3384
    25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3299
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)