How Do You Find the Right Wiring Connections?


Quick Answer

To find the right wiring connections, look at the side of the wires for information, such as gauge, wire material, voltage and wire type. Match up new wires and wire connectors with the wire type.

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Full Answer

Run through the following steps to find the right wiring connections for an electrical job.

  1. Inspect the existing wires
  2. Pull out existing wires and look for information listed on the sides. Gauge is usually listed as a number. Common wire gauges include 10, 12 and 14. Material is usually represented as a symbol. Copper is a common type of wire in residential wiring and is written as "CU," but older wiring may contain other materials such as aluminum. Voltage ratings are often written as a larger number, which describes the maximum amount of voltage that can pass through the wiring. A collection of letters on the side of the wire describes wire types. "T" means that the wire is coated in thermoplastic insulation, "H" can mean heat resistance or high heat resistance, "W" means that the wire is water resistant and "N" means that the wire is resistant to gas and oil. Wire is also often color-coded. Black, red and blue wires are usually active, green represents ground wire and white wires are neutral.

  3. Choose new wires and connections
  4. Use the information on the sides of the wires to choose the right wires and connectors. Connectors should always fit the gauge of the wire. Matching wires depend on the wire types involved.

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