Identify the Hot/Neautral wires on Lamp cords in Stamford, CT

Home Builder with Safe and Sound Electric LLC E1-125403


Customers ask me all the time how I know the “hot” from the “neutral” on lamp cords and chandeliers.  A Lamp cord is a small oval-shaped cable that may come in clear, white, brown, and among other colors.  It has two conductors and it is difficult to tell which one connects where.   When installing a chandelier, the house wiring is usually color-coded and you know the black is hot and the white is the neutral.  However, the lamp cord on the fixture itself looks the same.  The trick to knowing which one connects to the white wire, it’s to use your fingernail.  If you rub the side of your fingernail against the cord, one side has little ridges, while the other one is smooth.  It is almost impossible to see, but you can feel it.  The one with the ridges is the neutral and connects to the  white.  The smooth one is the hot and connects to the black wire. knowing this little fact will help you maintain correct polarity in chandeliers and lamps.



Hot/Neutral Cord 


Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

Thanks for the tip John Anello, Stamford Area Electrician . This sure beats laying the cord flat and following it back to the plug!  :)

Dec 10, 2014 09:48 PM
Eric M Tarlue

Good but let the explanation be clear:There are two terminals on a socket_one at the basement and the other on the side.Of these two just plainly tell where to attach the hot and neutral lines

Apr 18, 2019 09:34 AM

I just want to know does the ribbed side go to the brass screw?Does the smooth wire go to the silver screw?

Nov 25, 2019 10:34 PM