Learning, Wiring,

Does the Black Wire Go to the Gold or Silver Screw?

Screw terminals and electrical wires are color-coded. This is to help users match the correct wire with the right terminal. However, this does not imply that color-coding is a reliable guide.

Sometimes, you can wire some devices backward or use white wires where you should use a black wire. You should understand the basics of color-coding and electrical circuits to help you evaluate the wiring process and prevent some common errors with new installations.

So, does the black wire go to the gold or silver screw? 

The black wire goes to the gold screw because both are on the hot level. The black wire is the hot wire, and the gold screw is the hot terminal. You should only connect both and never the black wire to the silver screw. A silver screw is the neutral terminal and cannot accommodate the hot wire.

Does Black Wire Go to Gold or Silver? (Getting Started)

The gold popularly referred to as bronze or brass screw is designed to connect hot wires. Based on electrical color-coding, the hot wire is black. That means the black wire, which is the hot wire, goes to the gold screw, which is the hot terminal.

It is worth mentioning that the hot wire is sometimes red, but a black wire is always the hot wire. The silver screw, on the other hand, is neutral. Therefore, it is not for the black wire. Black and red wires and gold and silver screws are not the only colors you will come across when installing or replacing electrical wiring.

You will come across several colors of wires and screws. The color-coding of the screws and wires is designed to help you know and connect the correct wires to the right terminal.

While you can find each wire type with different color codes, you can find three types of wire connections. These are ground, neutral, and hot wire. In this post, we will focus on the gold and silver screw and the black wire.

Gold Screw

The color code for the hot wire is black, and it is connected to the gold screw. As mentioned earlier, the gold screw is also referred to as the bronze or brass screw and is the hot terminal. When it comes to connecting to the hot terminal, only black or red wires should be connected.

It is worth mentioning that some outlets may have two brass screws to connect the black hot wire. For this, you do not have to connect the hot wire to the two terminals. You can simply connect it to either of the two outlets and it will work as it should. (1)

Silver Screw

The silver screw is the neutral terminal and it is designed to connect the neutral wire. These are grayish or white wires connected to the silver screw. They help the current circulate across the circuit appropriately. Some electricians use the white wires as hot wires.

However, this is not a good practice and can cause hazards. Also, it should be noted that you may not need to connect any neutral wire in cases where the switchboards do not have a neutral terminal.

If there is a silver screw, you should only connect a white wire to the electrical receptacle and not any other color.

Two Main Reasons Why the Black Wire Should be Connected with Gold Screw

As stated, each screw functions as a terminal designed for specific wires. You cannot connect wires to terminals without considering the appropriate color coding. For example, you can only connect the black wire to a gold screw. The reasons for this are enumerated below: 

Black Wire is the Hot Wire

Different wires come with different color codes and each serves different purposes. The black wire is the hot wire and it transmits an electrical current to the outlet. The white wire, on the other hand, is the neutral wire. It completes the circuit as it carries electrical current back to the source.

Only the hot wire can be connected to the gold screw, which is why the black wire goes to the gold screw. It is worth mentioning that the green wire offers grounding, which prevents the user from electrical hazards. (2)

Gold Screw is the Hot Terminal

The switches or sockets have many screws created to connect wires from the primary source to the outlet. The screws’ color codes ensure that wires designated for specific switches are connected to the screws.

As earlier mentioned, the gold screw is the hot terminal, which means only the black hot wire can be connected to it. It should be noted that the hot wire can sometimes be red.

Wrapping Up

The black wire is the hot wire and the gold screw is the hot terminal. That means both the black wire and gold screw are to be connected. The silver screw is neutral and should only be used with white wires and not black wires.

Take a look at some of our related articles below.

(1) brass – https://www.thoughtco.com/brass-composition-and-properties-603729
(2) electrical hazards – https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/electrical.html

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About Sam Orlovsky

AvatarCertifications: B.E.E.
Education: University Of Denver - Electric Engineering
Lives In: Denver Colorado

Electrical engineering is my passion, and I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years. This gives me a unique ability to give you expert home improvement and DIY recommendations. I’m not only an electrician, but I also like machinery and anything to do with carpentry. One of my career paths started as a general handyman, so I also have a lot of experience with home improvement I love to share.

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