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Refrigerator Wiring Colors

Sean Russell

Appliances such as refrigerators operate through a mass of intricate electronic signals sent through a web of wiring. While many of these wires only send simple electronic impulses to different parts of the machine, some contain strong and constant electrical currents capable of shocking and injuring anyone who touches them. Because of this, anyone entering the inner workings of the refrigerator's wiring system requires an understanding of the relevant color code.


Like most appliances, the refrigerator's wiring network has a neutral line that carries no voltage. This is the white line and it helps ensure balanced power flows through the circuits. While this wire is neutral, anyone interacting with this or any wire must power down the refrigerator before interacting with it.


Two main power lines carry voltage throughout the refrigerator. The main line carries power while smaller wires deliver power to certain mechanisms within the refrigerator. The red lines are the smaller lines and they ensure power travels to parts such as the freezer fan, the compressor and the evaporator. The red lines carry the full electrical current and are very dangerous when activated.


The longer power line is just as dangerous and colored black. This line runs the length of the refrigerator and acts as the main power line, feeding all the red line segments. Ensure the refrigerator is entirely without power before attempting to work with the black line.


Refrigerators use different colors for wires that act as grounding conduits and one is green. Occasionally, this green will include yellow markings such as dotted lines or stripes. This does not alter the intended function of the line.


Sometimes the wire used as a ground is not protected by a coating at all. Instead, the copper wire is exposed, indicating that the purpose of the line is that of a grounding conduit.


Many of the wire colors are used for multiple purposes within a refrigerator's workings. Because these wires do not connect to live power sources or pose significant danger to the operator, they are not color coded. Colors used for many functions include blue, gray and yellow. Some striped lines such as yellow with brown stripes or tracks are also used for several functions.


Occasionally, a manufacturer will use a striped color wire in a refrigerator. While many of these are not dangerous lines, some can cause shock. White wires with black stripes or tracks are occasionally used as live wires and carry the full voltage of the refrigerator.