Learning, Wiring,

What Color Screw Does the White Wire Go To?

Need some help recognizing the screw terminal to which the white wire connects? You won’t have trouble recognizing it by the end of this article!

Most people might not know what the white wire represents, let alone which screw terminal it connects to. Improper wiring might lead to electric shock or damaged electrical appliances. That is why I’m teaching you everything you need to know about different colored screw terminals and color codes of electrical wires in this article.

So, what color screw does the white wire go to?

Generally, the white wire should connect to the silver terminal since the white one is the neutral wire. The black or red wire is the hot wire. Hence, it will connect to the brass terminal. Lastly, the bare copper wire is the ground wire, and it connects to the green screw terminal.

Different Types of Screw Terminals and Their Electrical Wires

When you try to wire an outlet or a switch, if you cannot see the usual L (Live), N(Neutral), and G (Ground) markings on the terminals, you might get confused. But some manufacturers use colored screw terminals instead of letter markings. Therefore, you’ll benefit from a good understanding of these colored screw terminals.

There are three different colored screw terminals; brass, silver, and green. Each of these terminals represents a unique electrical wire; connecting the wires to the correct terminals is very important.

Before Identifying the Colored Screw Terminals

Before identifying the screw terminals, you should identify the electrical wires correctly. The hot wire should be red or black, and the neutral wire should be white. And the ground wire should be green, or sometimes it will be a bare copper wire. With that in mind, here is some valuable knowledge on colored screw terminals.

The white neutral wire goes to the silver color terminal.

And the black hot wire goes to the brass color terminal.

Lastly, the ground wire goes to the green color terminal.

Quick Tip: The silver screw terminal is also known as the common screw. Some electricians use the ground wire as the common wire. They called it bootlegging, and it can be hazardous.

A Few Other Things

  • If you are wiring a single pole switch, there should be only two screws for two hot wires. There are no white neutral wires in a single pole switch.
  • A three-way switch has two brass screws (two hot wires), one silver screw, and one green screw.
  • A four-way screw has four brass screws.

What Happens If I Connect the Wrong Wire?

Improper wiring can lead to disastrous outcomes. It will reverse the polarity, and the current will flow incorrectly. Because of that, the wrong sections of the appliances will get energized, and you might get an electrical shock while trying to use those appliances.

Important: Manufacturers don’t use red or black colors for hot wires all the time. So, you should be careful while wiring electrical circuits at home.

Identifying and correctly connecting electrical wires to their screw terminals is far more critical than one might think. Even the simplest things can cause an electrical fire. So, make sure to complete the wiring properly.


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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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