January 22, 2022

What Is the Difference Between Load and Line Wires

Line WiresLine and load wires are two of the most critical components of a circuit. However, many people don't know the difference between them. This blog post will discuss the difference between load and line wires and explain why they are critical in a circuit. We will also provide tips on selecting the correct wire for your project. Stay tuned!

The terms are used when referring to a single device or an electrical box. For example, wires that provide power to the box are called the line wires, the downstream wires, or the incoming wires. Wires that carry onward to other devices, such as devices, are called the load, downstream, and outgoing wires. These terms are used to describe the device's location in a circuit. The load wire at one outlet becomes the line wire at the next receptacle.

The terms load and line have many applications in an electrical system.


Most outlets (receptacles), switches, and light fixtures are wired in multiples within a single circuit. The line runs from the service panel to a device. The load runs from the first device to the next device on the course. The line at the second device is the power source that comes in from the first device. The load wire goes out to the third device and so forth.

An outlet's line side is where you connect the incoming power. The load is where power leaves an electrical box or device and travels down the circuit. The device can also be referred to as the same.

GFCI Outlets

Load and line have special meanings when wiring a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). The GFCIs come with two pairs of screw terminals to connect wires. One pair is marked as LINE, and one is labeled LOAD. The outlet provides GFCI protection for the terminals connected to the line. Connecting to the line terminals with two or more pigtail wires or two electrical cables provides GFCI protection for the load.

Junction Boxes

The electrical junction boxes connect electrical devices or electrical wires of different circuits. Junction boxes receive electrical wires and connect them safely using wire connectors or joining bars, clamps, strain reliefs, etc. The electrical junction box can be divided into two parts: the "load terminal" and the other is called "line terminal." The electrical load terminals connect electrical wires that carry electrical current into electrical devices. In contrast, line electrical terminals connect electrical lines through which electrical current enters electrical junction boxes.

Other meanings of "Line" & "Load."

Low-voltage circuits that supply landscape lights or doorbells must be wired with "line." This is to distinguish them from low-voltage wiring.

Load is also used to refer to the electrical demand or power draw that an appliance or device places on a circuit. To calculate the total load or maximum power demand, one can multiply the maximum wattage from all lights on it for a lighting circuit.

How To Select The Right Wire

There are many things to consider when selecting electrical wire for your project. Always check the electrical code to make sure you are compliant. The electrical code requires that the wire be sturdy enough to carry the electrical current for its length without overheating or unnecessary voltage loss. The wire should also be long enough to reach electrical boxes without splicing (unless it is a temporary type).

- Power Supply Cable: electrical power transmission cable used for electrical wiring.

- Power Distribution Cable: electrical power transmission cable used to distribute electrical power from the electrical panel to electrical devices

- zip wire: a type of electrical wire made up of one or more electric conductors having a common insulating material covering.

Electrical Installation in Brooklyn, New York

Daven Electric Corp. is the best electrical contractor in Brooklyn, NY, when you need help with load or line wires installation. We are open 24 hours a day and provide emergency services for your convenience! Call us today at 212-390-1106 to get started on the project of installing new wire lines at home or office!

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