Electrician question about switch box neutral

Question for electricians:
Do the bundle of neutral wires in the back of the switch box need to remain bundled in the switch box? Do they need to stay connected to complete a circuit or provide neutral down the line at another switch?

The reason I ask is the homeseer switches do not come with that little piece of wire that is used to connect to the neutral bundle. So I want to know if it is acceptable to just remove one of them from the existing bundle to connect to my switch.

yes they do

You can buy a short length of white wire from most hardware stores.

In fact be very careful when disconnecting the white bundle. I have gotten many a shock from “completing the circuit” with my hand :persevere::unamused:

Thanks for all the quick replies. I went ahead and bought some wire while I was at Home Depot.

Hopefully I won’t get a shock. I always turn off the breaker before opening the box.

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I hate to repeat myself, but the neutral wires are the most dangerous in a box. So whatever never get between them or a ground.

Not disagreeing with you but perhaps you should add why you feel this way. Technically it is supposed to be at the same potential as ground and therefore not pass through you if touched but the problem is that this is often not the case. This makes it more dangeous because some people feel it is safe when it is more often not safe. So not really the “most dangerous”, that would still be the live wire. Unless you consider the assumptions people make about the neutral.

Is that your reasoning or is there another point you are trying to make? Just genuinely curious.


This will not work. This will just mess up the neutral wiring. Keep them bundled and attach to the bundle with a jumper wire.

As an electrician for 32 years, I have seen more electricians end up in the hospital because they got between a neutral wire and another neutral or ground. The neutral carries the imbalance of the load. So if you have a bundle of neutrals on a 220 volt panel, and there is a chance that there are two hot-legs in the box, that are on two different circuit breakers. Then the imbalance is the voltage that was remaining on each circuit. Even if it is one single circuit the potential of getting badly hurt depending on your health is something not to play with.


Good input on the safety aspect above now the issue is how do you deal effectively with so many neutral wires on one nut while adding another, I’ve become a fan of these push on wire nuts, available at most hardware stores and Amazon. I can’t tell you how manageable an unmanageable box becomes with the push on’s.

Probably more than one brand but I use the Wago pushon wire connectors. They come in different colors and number of wire ports.

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I feel for you, the neutrals can get cumbersome. I for one prefer the correct Ideal wire nut over the push on as there are times you can have as many as six neutrals, plus the neutrals to the Smart Switch. The ideal have a skirt which covers the inevitable bare copper with a big splice. They come in Yellow. Red, and Blue. If you need bigger you have to go for the Scotch locks with flexible skirt in Gray.

Six neutrals, no problem.

As an electrician we also look at box fill capacity. Each type of electrical box has a allowed amount of fill, wires and devices. Those taps are fine but take up more space than a wire nut, that is done properly. Many people thing by pushing the wire into the wire nut and twisting is correct. It isn’t the bundle must be twisted into a formed spiral, with “0” gaps.

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Respectfully, I haven’t had a situation where my end conclusion was the Wagos took up more space and I wish I hadn’t used them. What I have found always is more wire flexibility and manageability in the box, less time on installations, no wire nuts, spiraling or twisting and no more big twist bundles of immovable neutrals.
Lastly OSHA recommends the Wagos saying they greatly reduce stress on the wires.


Wouldn’t wires take up the same amount of volume whether they are twisted or loose?

Depends how they are bundled, how many drop offs etc. The plugin splice is great if you have a few wires. If you do go that way please turn off the circuits, and treat the neutral a a live circuit. That neutral can also be connected down the line to another circuit and it is carrying current. Even with the breaker you are using is off. If you have a 1 phase panel or two hots feeding the panel the other phase is alive. Here in the USA single phase is 2 hots, 3 phase is three hots.

Electrician across the pond

Seems so odd to me having two or three phase live wires in a avarage domestic house. We have enough cowboys or “DIY ers” over here that think they can work or their houses and mess up with just a single phase. Let alone adding the extra phase into the mix, even though it’s much more safe in our more modern houses using RCDs on all circuits.

Oddly, these were outlawed years ago in UK for that reason as well as strain on cable causing joints to break down. But the wago is now becoming very popular with newer electricians, as they are classed as maintanence free. Also the splice joint is having a small revival but with a reverse metal thread inside of a plastic thread which is deemed safe again as it locks the cables tight with a conductor around it.

What has happened over the last 10 or so years, there has been a huge amount of old commercial buildings converted to condos, and actual homes. So they had 3 phase and it was left…

I can understand why they were outlawed in UK, isn’t your electrical 220 volts? That is the actual reason, the potential in a single box is very high.

That make sense that happens here but they tend to split the house over the 3 phases so there is never more than one phase in a room on demestic.

It was 240 but now with harmalisation to Europe it’s supposed to be 230v (but it’s still about 240). What’s the voltage over there? I thought it was 220?

No they were insulated to 400v +, it was due to them breaking down and gaps between the copper causing high resistance joints. But it was a very long time ago and you almost never see them as they were not used long (I found a old box of them in a old floor once, think I still have them somewhere :slight_smile: their ceramic). But where as over here as soon as there was a issue they got stoped and banded in the regs, even when they improved the design no-one used them so that’s when they become so big over on your side. But I’ve seen the new ones start to be used now but the wago ones are much more popular

Voltage over here varies. On a single circuit in can be 110-115-120 volts on a 2 phase circuit 208-220
On commercial there is a High Voltage system for lights and power that is 277 volts for a single circuit and 480 volts for 2 phase and 3 phase.

The wire nuts we use here the ones from 3M that were Blue and gray are rated for 600 volts. They also have a flexible skirt to conform to the wires coming out the bottom.

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This is the same ones and brand that are now coming over here. There much better than the old ones but doubt they will become popular due to people knowing about the old ones, we are very fussy with our Electronics over here :smile:

Found a good thread on this :slight_smile:


Odd your current on demestic circuits must be massive compared to ours. Over her we just have single phase 230v and 3 phase 400v. Domestic only has 3 phases if they have a workshop or something and have been made or asked to have it. Unless it’s a massive house and again they would be made to have it to balance the phases. Me and my naibour will be on one phase then the next 2 will be on the next phase and so on. Then depending on the building, the size of the phase suply would be increased. Any new domestic is 100A.

The only difference to this is on building sites where we drop the voltage and seperate it on the transformer. That’s 110v but 55v phase and 55v neutral, the idea being that a) it’s a lower voltage and b) if you damaged the cable the chances are you would make a connection between phase and earth (55v ) or neutral and earth (55v) rather than phase and neutral. On top of the RCD so realistically if there was a fault even before somone touched it there would be a imbalance and it would trip.