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What is The Purpose of the Neutral Wire


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

The Purpose of the Neutral Wire in Electrical Systems: What is the purpose of the neutral?


The Purpose of the Neutral Wire in Electrical Systems

What is the purpose of the neutral?

This electrical question came from: Jesus, a Homeowner from Lemon Grove CA

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Jesus.

The Purpose of the Neutral Wire

  • Our home electrical systems use what is known as AC or Alternating Current which requires a return path to ground for 120 volt circuits, so the purpose of theĀ  neutral is to complete the circuit and providing the path back to the electrical panel where the neutral is connected or bonded with the ground.

I hope this helps.

The Following links will assist you with Neutral Wires

Basic House Wiring Circuits
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House Wiring Circuits and Circuit Breakers

This article looks at common 120 volt and 240 volt house wiring circuits and the circuit breakers that are installed identifying the types and amperage sizes used in most homes.
Electrical Panel Circuit Listing

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Electrical Circuit Wiring

This article looks at common 120 volt and 240 volt house wiring circuits and the circuit breakers that are installed identifying the types and amperage sizes used in most homes.

For more information about Electrical Wiring
Electrical Wiring
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Home electrical wiring projects with pictures and wiring diagrams.

This link is helpful as a Homeowner
Do-It-Yourself Electrical


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FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

One Response to “What is The Purpose of the Neutral Wire”
  1. yo says:

    if i put an open switch on the hot/live wire right before, say, a radio, no power goes to the radio. however, if i put an open switch on the neutral wire right after the radio, the radio will be full of power. so what is the purpose of a return, neutral wire?

    could i just then have 1 hot/live wire and a ground wire coming out of it?

    also, if AC goes back and forth, does the neutral become hot/live and the hot/live become neutral on the second half of the cycle?


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