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Old May 9, 2019, 10:48 PM   #9
Aguila Blanca
Join Date: September 25, 2008
Location: CONUS
Posts: 12,722
Color code for residential 120-volt wiring is easy: Black is positive, white is neutral, and green (if you have it) is ground. If you don't have a green ground wire, your receptacles should be 2-pring, not 3-prong.

If the wiring is in BX, the metal sheath acts as a ground path, so you can use 3-prong receptacles and connect the grounding terminal to the metal box. However, it's not a great idea. The BX they used in the 1950s (which wasn't really BX, I believe, but that's what everyone calls it) may or may not be affected by age and corrosion insofar as integrity of the grounding path is concerned. Nevertheless, it's better than no ground at all.

If you see a red wire -- red is the third current-carrying conductor in 14/3 or 12/3 cable. It's a second "hot" -- typically used in wiring 3-way switch circuits.
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