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Changing light fixture in bathroom. Old wiring has both wires black. No visible ground wire. How do I find the hot wire?
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Posted 2017-01-16T15:47:59+0000  by Vaquerrokid Vaquerrokid

Hey Vaquerrokid,

Thanks for joining us here on the community.

Sounds like you've got some really old wiring in your home. One thing you can do is to trace the wiring to its source, be it in a breaker panel or the more likelier suspect, a fuse panel. The hot wire is the one coming directly from the breaker or fuse. The neutral would be the one coming from a bar with other ones, possibly having ground wires mixed in.

Another option you can do is to use a multimeter to test each wire to determine which one is the hot wire. You can do this with either the wire energized (but be VERY careful doing this) or with a higher end multimeter, you can use it while unenergized.

If you are doing basic repairs, my advice would be the first option, so you don't have to worry about buying an expensive multimeter. This way you are always working safe with unenergized wires (as you should be anyway). 

However, if you cannot find the wires or you think this maybe too daunting for you, always consult a local licensed electrician in your area who can come and look at it themselves.

Let us know if you have any further questions,


Posted 2017-01-16T16:52:27+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL
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