Electrical Wiring in the Home/wiring hot white


QUESTION: hi Bob, I have a switch box with three incoming 14/2 cables. One is for a ceiling fixture, one for an unswitched outlet and one that carries power. The powered cable has a hot white wire. How do I connect these wires?
Thank you!

ANSWER: Unless the incoming wire is 220 volts, the white wire should not be hot. If it is 220 volts, it should be connected to a double pole breaker. If the incoming wire is 110 volts, then the black wire coming in connects to one screw on the switch, and the wire going to the outlet.  The black wire going to the fixture connects to the other screw on the switch.  All the whites connect together.  All of the grounds connect to each other, and any green screws and metal boxes.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Hi Bob, if I wire the whites together, that energizes all the white wires in the switch box. None of the black wires are energized. What about neutral wires? How does it affect the outlet?

Perhaps something was wired wrong downstream.  That would not be easy to find.  You may want to get a circuit analyzer which are around $10 at any home center, and see if anything else on the circuit is wrong.  If the black and white wires were switched, it would tell you where it is wrong.

Also remember that feedback is possible.  If a white wire is disconnected somewhere downstream, the white wires upstream will get feedback through anything that is turned on or plugged in on that circuit.
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Electrical Wiring in the Home

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Bob Sponaugle


Just about any home wiring question. (not appliance repair) I have done all kinds of home wiring for myself, including adding a new breaker box, etc. Please, questions from North America only. Please be specific with details.

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