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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-28-2012, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
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Reversed Polarity

Hey all. I just recently had an inspection on a house I'm selling, and yesterday I was given the report by my agent. Apparrently there are a couple recepticales that have a reversed polarity, and I have to have them fixed. I've lived in the house for quite a few years, and have replaced much of the electrical, but not the ones in question.

What exactly is it, and how do I fix it? I was told by an inspector that inspected my rental that I can simply replace them with a GFI outlet, and it will be fine. This was of course before he realized his little tester was faulty by testing it in a new GFI.

I just don't get it. I have a basic knowledge of electricity, and it just doesn't make sence to me.

Venison - The other fast food
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-28-2012, 01:03 PM
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Re: Reversed Polarity

Reverse polarity occurs when the wires of a building's electrical system are connected to the wrong terminals of an outlet. If the wires of an outlet are reversed, there is the possibility that the electrical current may damage appliances and electrical motors. At the least, electric-powered appliances malfunction when polarity of an outlet is reversed. The worse case scenarios are a shock or an electrical fire. Fortunately, testing for reverse polarity is simple. With a polarity tester and the accompanying voltage chart, you can test the polarity of an outlet in a few minutes. Does this Spark an idea?

Read more: How to Check for Reverse Polarity | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/how_10071506_che...#ixzz21vE9mb24

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-28-2012, 01:05 PM
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Re: Reversed Polarity

FROM HMR- Home Maintenance Reminder:


An outlet wired reverse polarity is a common mistake that I seem to find on a daily basis while doing home inspections. The correct way to wire an outlet is to wire the hot or black wire to the brass screw and the neutral or white wire to the silver screw. Another way to do it is to look at the face of the outlet, of the three prongs, there will be a smaller slot, a wider slot, and a rounded one above or below the two side by side slots. The smaller slot is the side for the black wire and the wider slot is the side for the white wire. If the outlet is wired reverse polarity, it is because the wires are on the wrong side of the outlet. This is common and generally an easy fix. Sometimes when I find one reverse polarity outlet in a house. . . . . Iíll find several more. They seem to travel in herds! What generally happens is that the amateur electrician changes more than one outlet in the house and if he or she gets one wrong, they get them all wrong. I guess itís a 50/50 shot and they either wire them all correct or they wire them all incorrect. I once had a guy tell me that he didnít know which way to wire them so he did half one way and half the other way. He said that he figured that at least half of them would be right! Now you see why us home inspectors always say to have a qualified electrician do any electrical work in your home.

The bad part about reverse polarity is that you can plug something in to it and it will work, even though it is wired wrong. You usually don't know the condition exists unless you look for it. Reverse polarity can be dangerous in certain circumstances, can damage equipment, and render an equipment ground ineffective. If you suspect your home's wiring is a bit shaky, or even if it seems fine, it's a good idea to check for reverse polarity. You can buy a simple circuit tester for around $10. Just plug it into all duplex receptacles; test them and determine if they are correct according to the lights on the tester. If you find any that are reverse polarity:

1) Shut off the breaker or pull the fuse that serves that receptacle (the tester's lights will go out).

2) Take off the cover plate from the receptacle, and use a voltage tester to be sure that none of the wires in the electrical box are still hot.

3) Unscrew or release the wires from the receptacle and re-fasten them to the proper terminals--white to the silver (neutral terminal) and black to the brass (hot terminal). The bare or green wire should connect to the green screw.

4) Put the cover plate on, turn the breaker back on, and test the receptacle again. It should test correct, if it doesnít then call an electrician for further guidance.

What if whenever you take the cover plate off, you discover that the black and white wires are on the correct terminals? This means that the wires are incorrect at a junction box or at an outlet before the one that you are working on. If this occurs, you should call an electrician and let them correct the problem. Iím all for doing some repairs yourself, although reverse polarity outlets are done from someone that doesnít know how to correctly wire an outlet. If they did, you wouldnít be wasting your time trying to figure out how to fix it, right? As always with any home repairs, you should know your limitations and hire a professional to do the work that you do not know how to do. Need a contractor for your next home project? Be sure to check out the contractors section of this site to find local contractors that may be able to help you out.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-28-2012, 01:09 PM
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Re: Reversed Polarity

So my guess would be you just have to switch the Black (hot) and White (nutral) wire from side to side on the receptacle.

Old receptacles and plug in cords had 2 spade ends the same size, new ones have 1 side bigger so you can only plug them in one way......I believe that is for the same reason.

guess Dingo already had it covered before I got it posted

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-28-2012, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Reversed Polarity

Thanks all. That's kind of what I was thinking, but it just didn't seem right to me. I always look at the back of the receptical, and it tells you what goes where.

Venison - The other fast food
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-28-2012, 07:53 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Reversed Polarity

Problem solved! Receps were wired backwards. I bought a tester just to make sure, and everything is all good.

Venison - The other fast food
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-28-2012, 08:20 PM
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Re: Reversed Polarity

Black wire to the brass screw white wire to the silver screw
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-28-2012, 08:25 PM
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Re: Reversed Polarity

I always remembered "Black to brass, white to bright" when it comes to receptacles.

Internet quotes are great, but most are untrue. "Thomas Jefferson"
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-28-2012, 08:29 PM
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Re: Reversed Polarity

That's what we do here, help each other.......
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-28-2012, 08:44 PM
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Re: Reversed Polarity



I'm shocked!

wmu 3A
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