A Guide to Electrical Wiring Colours in Australia

A Guide to Electrical Wiring Colours in Australia

Electrical wiring colours are confusing to the untrained eye, there’s no denying it. A plethora of shades and tones are hidden behind your walls. And since Australian wiring codes have changed drastically over the years, there’s a trail of rainbow coloured wires scattered throughout millions of homes.

The most recent changes came in 2018 with the new AS/NZS 3000:2018 Electrical Installations Wiring Rules. Although the rules have simplified things on a global scale – we’re now more in line with European and UK wiring standards – that doesn’t change existing installations.

Your home’s wiring likely doesn’t match what 2021 standards say. What is now a blue neutral wire might be a live hot wire in your property. But what exactly does that mean for you?

Well, you could be playing with fire if you attempt DIY electrical work. Don’t worry, though.

Metropolitan Electrical Contractors isn’t going to let you get in harm’s way. Our guide to Australian electrical wiring colours will help you see clearly to avoid a jolting accident.

The Main Function of Electrical Wires

If you believe there’s just one wire carrying electricity to and from your outlets and appliances, think again. Each wire has its own function. Colour coding helps your electrician immediately identify what each function is, helping for any fast fault identification.

Previous Australian electrical wire colour codes even included different colour combinations for installation wiring and appliance wiring like powerpoints. Now that’s all the same for a more seamless service.

Talking terminology, a few different common phrases are commonly used. For example, active wires are also known as hot wires. In a three phase system they are referred to as phase 1, 2, or 3 wires, or live 1, 2 or 3 wires. 

Meanwhile, an earth wire can also be referred to as a ground wire. That’s some similar phrasing but it certainly makes it tricky for an electrical novice.

This is the function of each type of electrical wiring.

Active Wires

An active electrical wire transports current (power) from the meter box through to household switches, powerpoints and appliances. They’re referred to as hot wires since there is a live electrical current.

There are multiple active wires in a three phase/multiphase system. Each wire is coloured differently to assist in identifying the destination and function.

Neutral Wires

A neutral wire acts as a conductor, or connector. It helps the current return to the power source, essentially working in the opposite direction of an active wire. 

This prevents circuits from overloading. Be careful around neutral wires as they can trigger an electric shock.

Earth Wires

The common denominator in all colour schemes is the green earth wire (although now it is a green & yellow combination).

The earth wire is a protective measure against electrical shock. As the term ground wire indicates, the earth wire directs a live current into the ground and away from power outlets or appliances. This way the electrical shock does not travel through the circuit towards a person when physical contact is made.

A Guide to Electrical Wiring Colours in Australia

2021 Australian Electrical Wiring Standards

Since 2018, with the introduction of the AS 3000, Australia’s wiring reflects global standards far better. Australian electrical wiring colours match European and UK installations, ensuring that more products can seamlessly integrate into international circuits. 

A standard home has single phase wiring as a steady electrical load is perfect for household demand. However, workplaces and buildings that use heavy machinery and large appliances need more power. They require three phase wiring, or multiphase, to meet extra demand.

As per current Australian electrical standards, single phase wiring colours are:

Active – Brown
Neutral – Blue
Earth – Green & Yellow

Meanwhile, Australian three phase wiring is:

Phase 1 – Brown
Phase 2 – Black
Phase 3 – Grey
Neutral – Blue
Earth – Green & Yellow

Other Wiring Colours in Your Home

Current electrical wiring colour standards were only introduced a few years ago. Therefore, chances are your home’s wiring doesn’t match up. That means a vast majority of Australian homes have a variety of colour combinations. 

The good news is they’re all safe as they were the standard at the time. However, it just means that your wiring colours match online articles that may not have been updated. Subtle differences between online sources and what’s in your walls would be a potential threat. Especially if any DIY rewiring or unlicensed work has been performed. 

If your home was built before 2018 your electrical circuits likely include the following colours:

Previous wiring standards specified that single phase looked like:

Active – Red
Neutral – Black
Earth – Green

Additionally, previous three phase wiring features:

Phase 1 – Red
Phase 2 – White
Phase 3 – Blue
Neutral – Black
Earth – Green

A variety of other potential colour combinations is also likely. Pre-2000s homes could look entirely different. Common colours include white or grey, which are both typically neutral, and black or yellow for active wires.

Should I Perform My Own Electrical Work?

Electrical work is best left to the professionals. This rings true especially with a wide range of colour combinations leaving you in a precarious position of unexpectedly handling live wires.

Your home’s electrical wiring could fit under any array of Australian electrical wiring colour combinations. The age of a home might not even be a helpful indicator if past work has involved home rewiring, or unlicensed electrical repairs.

That’s why you should always leave serious work such as home rewiring to a licensed electrician. They are familiar with all the regulations and can safely address concerns with a switchboard, power outlet, light socket or electrical circuit.

Trust us, the last thing you want is to mix up the wires when replacing a light switch, and electrocuting yourself. 

Leave it to the experts at Metropolitan Electrical Contractors. We’ll provide a safe service to keep your home switched on.


Published: 23 Aug, 2021

doorbell camera installation
doorbell camera installation

Doorbells

Wifi Remote Security Doorbell
  • Smart Doorbells
  • Doorbell Cameras
  • Video Doorbells
  • Security Doorbells
LEARN MORE

Electricians You Can Trust

Our Promise to You

Our electricians pride themselves with honest reliable services

Honest

We believe in transparency. We will guide you through our process, answer your questions and provide you with upfront, no obligation fixed prices.

Committed to provide excellent and efficient electrical services

Committed

No matter how big or small the job is, whether you're a new or returning customer, we treat every job as important and strive for success.

Professional Expert Electrical Technicians

Professional

We know our job site is your home and we completely respect that. We arrive neat and clean, and tidy up after we've completed the job.

Electrician Zip Pay Payment Options Image
Electrician Zip Pay Payment Options Image

Now Available!

Interest free Electrical with trusted pay later options

What Our Happy Customers Have to Say

Better service starts here

5 stars rating img

Simon was very professional and did excellent work. Provided clear explanations and very informative options for the job. An excellent result was achieved. Thanks again Simon for your help!

Paul - SA
5 stars rating img

Ferris was on time and very professional. He understood straight away what was going on. He fixed the issue with my lights and even did a full electrical inspection. Very happy.

Andrew - VIC
5 stars rating img

Angelo changed some circuits on my board that were damaged and causing the power to go off. He fixed it quickly and explained the damage. Absolute champion.

Kaye - SA
  • Wilson

    Metropolitan Electrical Contractors has experts at installing, repairing and servicing all Wilson electric hot water systems.

  • Vulcan

    When you need an expert in Vulcan's electric hot water systems, contact your local specialists.

  • Thermann

    When you need an expert in Thermann electric hot water products, contact your local specialists.

  • Stiebel

    We work with Stiebel Eltron electric hot water systems. When you need service you can trust, call Metropolitan Electrical Contractors.

  • rinnai

    When you need an expert in Rinnai's electric hot water systems, contact your local specialists.

  • schneider

    Metropolitan Electrical Contractors is your local Schneider Electric specialist.

  • rheem

    Did you know Metropolitan Electrical Contractors can install, service and repair all Rheem electric hot water systems?

  • philips

    For fast and efficient Philips electrical services, Metropolitan Electrical Contractors is your number one local expert.

  • pierlite

    Metropolitan Electrical Contractors is proud to use high quality brands such as Pierlite.

  • omega

    If you're after quality OMEGA electrical products for your home or business, call the experts at Metropolitan Electrical Contractors.

  • osram

    OSRAM electrical products are highly recommended by the expert team at Metropolitan Electrical Contractors.

  • nhp

    Need an electrical expert who works with the NHP brand? Look no further than your local Metropolitan Electrical Contractors electricians.

  • hager

    When you need an expert in Hager electrical products you need Metropolitan Electrical Contractors.

  • legrand

    Metropolitan Electrical Contractors is proud to work with high quality brands such as Legrand.

  • crompton

    We are proud to work with high quality products such as Crompton Lighting. Metropolitan Electrical Contractors is a name you can trust.

  • dux image logo

    When you need a Dux electric hot water installation, service or repair, call the team at Metropolitan Electrical Contractors.

  • clipsal

    Metropolitan Electrical Contractors is proud to work with high quality brands such as Clipsal.

  • bosch

    Metropolitan Electrical Contractors are experts at installing, repairing and servicing Bosch electric hot water systems.

  • chromagen

    Did you know that Metropolitan Electrical Contractors supply, install and repair Chromagen electric hot water systems?

  • aqua max

    Metropolitan Electrical Contractors choose Australian owned and operated AquaMAX for a range of electric hot water services.

Metropolitan Electrical Contractors Service Reviews Metropolitan Electrical Contractors Service Reviews