Difference Between Neutral and Ground

Neutral vs Ground

If your dad has decided to go for complete renovation and repair of the old house you have been living in since your childhood, chances are that you would find just two wires in the electrical wiring. One of these wires is called live while the other one is neutral. In US, Canada and all countries where 120 volt power is carried to homes through these two wires. Live wire is also called hot wire as it is the wire carrying current while neutral wire is the wire that completes the return path without which current cannot flow. A grounding wire (also called earth in some countries) is a wire that is ready to take all the current into the ground in case of a mishap such as high current generated in an appliance. This is the wire that your dad will get installed if electric wiring is being changed altogether. Though both neutral and ground wires are for the safety of the building, wiring system, appliances and human beings, there are some differences between the two that will be highlighted in this article.

Earth or ground wire is assumed to be at zero potential while the potential of neutral depends upon unbalance between the wires. Ground is therefore universal reference which is always taken to be zero potential. Neutral is provided by the power company to make the path of electricity closed. No flow of electricity is possible without neutral wire. Earth wire on the other hand, prevents any electrocution to humans in the case of a mishap such as a fault surfacing in an appliance. It is a fact that neutral is used for return current path while earthing is used for the protection of human beings.

The sockets located at a lesser height in homes are a source of danger for toddlers as they may accidentally explore these sockets and get electric current. To prevent such a mishap, a ground wire is run throughout electric wiring and is buried deep under the earth (3-5 meter) adjacent to the house or below it. It is usually buried wrapped around a conductor plate inside the ground.

What’s the difference between Neutral and Ground

• Both neutral and ground wires are necessary in electric wiring around a home.

• Neutral is provided by the power company that supplies power to your home and in general, the blue colored wire is the neutral wire in the wiring of your home.

• Neutral is necessary to complete the circuit as it provides a return path for the flow of electricity.

• Ground wire is the wire that is provided along the wiring around the home and comes from a point 3-5 meter below the surface of earth where it is buried wrapped around a metal plate.

• Ground wire protects human beings from electrocution in the case of any fault in the wiring or the appliances.