Skip to Content

# Why Are There Three Black Wires on My Outlet? (Explained)

The three black wires in your outlet have a purpose and basically if there are three black wires in an outlet it may indicate that the outlets are connected in a linear series. In addition, the power supply through the three black wires goes in an order.

However, many people don’t know the purpose of black wires in their outlet and therefore, in this article, we are going to discuss why there are three black wires in your outlet.

## There three black wires on my outlet

The three black wires in your outlet indicates that the outlets are connected in linear series. Also, one of the wires is hot wire and another one goes to the light and the other one is for the receptacle. The three black wires in an outlet actually means it is a three-way switched outlet.

Table of Contents

Basically, the black color of any wire indicates that it transfers power to the switches and all the outlets. Therefore, the black wire is also known as live wire and it is used as a switch leg.

The hot wire can be of different use. Basically it is used to carry the load of the circuit. It also transfers power from one line to another. The hot wire is also used as a ground wire.

If you want to wire up your outlet, then it will be better if you pigtail the two of the hot wires. It will be very easy to work with one of the hot wires. But wiring the outlet with three black wires can be difficult.

As you have to identify which one is for the light switch, which one is for the feeder and which one is for the receptacles. If you can successfully identify then it will be very easy for you at the time of wiring your outlet with three black wires.

The three black wires connected in your outlet have a purpose. The three black wires perform different duties on the outlet. But people get confused after seeing the three black wire, therefore, below we have discussed the purpose of the three black wires:

### Three way switch:

The three black wires in your outlet actually indicate that it’s a three way switch.

### Three black wires mean:

The three black wires have a different purpose. In a three black wires outlet, one of the hot or black wires will be the wire from the feed of the breaker box. Another hot wire is meant for the receptacles and the other black wire goes to the light.

### How it works:

This is a multiple way switch including single cable attached on one screw across one part of the switch’s head plus two wires attached to two bolts on the opposite tip of the switching. Also, one wire on every side of the switch’s body.

The switches connecting your breaker as well as your light bulb would be two. The switches on the circuit protection portion of the line will also contain a single wire attached to the breaker around one side of the switch body.

## What are the 3 black wires on an outlet?

The 3 black wires on an outlet have three different purposes. Actually, the three hot wires are mostly connected in the three/way switches.

Where one of the wires comes from the feed of the breaker box and the second wire goes to the light and the third wire is meant for receptacles.

As it is a three-way switch, therefore, one of the wires from the three wires in the outlet is connected to a single screw on the end of the switch. The other two wires are connected to the other end of the switches. That means each of the switches will have their individual wires.

## How do you wire an outlet with 3 black wires?

Wiring an outlet with 3 black wires is a very complicated task. That is why you need to be very careful while wiring your outlet with 3 black wires. It will be better if you follow some of our steps explained below for wiring an outlet with 3 black wires:

### Make the wires of the same length:

Cut down the black wires with the help of a cutter. Make sure all three wires have the same length. Then you have to strip off the wires.

### Put a pigtail on two wires:

Now you have to put a pigtail on two of the black wires. Because if you put pigtails on two of the wires then you will have one coming out of the box.

Make sure after you pigtail the two of the wires, you roll them back and push them back as hard as you can. Because the two wires can come out from a rolling position.

Also, you have to make sure that you have pressed the pigtail harder so that the two ends of the wire don’t come out of the pigtail.

### One black wire and one white wire:

There you go, in the end you will only have a white wire and a black wire to work with.

This is a multiple way switch including a single cable attached on one screw across one part of the switch’s head plus two wires attached to two bolts on the opposite tip of the switch. Also, one wire on every side of the switch’s body.

The switches connecting your breaker as well as your light bulb would be two.The switches on the circuit protection portion of the line will also contain a single wire attached to the breaker around one side of the switch body.

## Final Thoughts:

The three black wires in your outlet have three different purposes. One of the hot wires is meant for the feeder of the breaker box, another is for light and another one is for receptacles. In addition, the three wired outlet is also called a three-way switch.