Difference between Neutral and Ground

Thread Starter


Joined Dec 13, 2016
In reading http://forum.allaboutcircuits.com/threads/what-is-the-difference-between-neutral-and-ground.14393/ ground appears to be a "non-current-carrier" during normal operations and neutral appears to be a "current-carrier" during normal operations for 240V circuits. I'm wiring a Garage Heater "Fahrenheat 7,500-Watt" and it appears that depending upon how it is wired, it will operate at either 5,000W or 7,500W.
The manual is confusing as shows no connection for the neutral wire. I'm wondering if the neutral is not needed. However, when looking in the unit, there is a bar for neutral connection.
I have a four wire connection, do I forgo the use of the neutral wire? Or should I mount it to ground?Heater wiring A.png Heater wiring B.png


Joined Nov 30, 2010
The manual is confusing as shows no connection for the neutral wire.
No, the manual is correct, as it shows no connection to the neutral wire.
You can connect the neutral wire to the empty terminal block just to stop it waving around in the air, but it has no purpose in this heater.


Joined Mar 14, 2008
In the USA, neutral only carries current for the 120V connection.
For 240V, two hot leads are used and the neutral carries no current.
Of course, since you didn't post where your location, I don't know if this applies to you. :rolleyes:


Joined Mar 31, 2012
As near as I can tell (and I am not an electrician, so take that with a grain of salt) you do not connect the neutral at all. You are correct in that the neutral is normally the current carrying conductor in most single-phase circuits, but that is in the context of each half of a split-phase system where your input is from a center-tapped transformer (the center tap is the neutral). In this case your circuit is using the full voltage.

You do NOT want to connect the neutral to the ground. In most building codes that I know of that happens at one place and one place only (in the building) and that is at the service entrance. You can either tape/cap off the neutral or connect it to the neutral block as a convenient place to have it go, but don't connect anything else to it.


Joined Dec 6, 2016
In New York the last time I had a residential service inspection and final wiring inspection.(1.5 years ago). I would run 12/2 wire to a unit like this. The coated white carrying one leg of 120v and black carrying the other. Codes do change


Joined Mar 3, 2014
You can tell he's in America because they call the Live wires 'Hot' and Earth wires 'Ground'
Also in the UK if 2 live wires are used (or 3) there is 415vac across them.