socket replacement


Old 08-16-05, 12:11 PM
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socket replacement

I have just purchased a new home that is about 80 years old. Most of the wiring is differnet from my old home that was built in the 1990's. I've never fooled with the electric before and I need to replace a pull chage light socket in the laundry room. I bought a replacement at the local hardware store. There are two screws on either side of the socket. My question is: Does it matter which of the two existing wires gets attached to a certain side of the new socket? They are not colored so I assume it would not matter. I just need a tip because I got a real jolt as a kid helping my dad and it has stayed with me all these years.
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Old 08-16-05, 12:25 PM
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There should be a brass colored screw connection and a silver colored one. The brass side is for the hot wire, the silver side is for the neutral wire. Electrically it makes no difference which is which, but from a safety point of view the connection in the center of the socket should be the hot and the side of the socket should be the neutral connection. With older wiring it may not be easy to tell the hot wire from the neutral wire.
Old 08-16-05, 12:28 PM
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The hot wire should be attached to the gold or brass colored screw. This would be the tab at the bottom of the socket. You could also see which one was connected to the black wire on the existing fixture.This limits your chance of accidental contact to the hot.

You could buy a non-contact voltage detector to help you determine which wire is which. They glow or tic when near the hot conductor. This can be done without opening any splices.

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