Patio Outlet has hot and neutral wires reversed

Old 09-10-04, 04:15 PM
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Talking Patio Outlet has hot and neutral wires reversed

I need to know, step by step, how to correct my outlet which has the hot and neutral wires reversed. I am sure this is simple to many but I have no clue how to do it and need to do so soon. Thank you for reading this.
Old 09-10-04, 04:30 PM
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It's very simple. Find the breaker for the circuit and turn it off. Take the outlet cover off and you should see 3 wires, a black wire, a white wire, and a bare copper ground wire. Disconnect the white wire (neutral) and the black wire (hot) and switch places. Leave the ground connected where it is. Most outlets will have the hot and neutral sides marked somewhere as well, and usually the hot side of the outlet has gold colored screws and the neutral side silver. If the circuit isn't grounded you won't see a bare copper wire, the rest of the procedure is the same.
Old 09-10-04, 04:31 PM
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If the receptacle is a GFCI receptacle (has TEST and RESET buttons), then stop and post back.

Plug a lamp or radio into the receptacle and turn it on. Shut off breakers until the lamp or radio goes off. Take the cover plate off the receptacle and gently pull it out of the box without disconnecting any of the wires. There will be one or two black wires connected to one side, and one or two white wires connected to the other side. If you see anything else, stop and post back.

The wires will either be connected to screws, or poked into holes in the back of the receptacle. The holes are electrically equivalent to the screw that they are right next to. The black wire(s) should be on the side with the brass-colored screws, and the white wire(s) should be on the side with the silver-colored screws. If they are backwards, then all you need to do is reverse them. If they are already correct, then stop and post back.

If the wires are connected to the holes in the back, you will need a tiny screwdriver to release the wire. Just stick the screwdriver into the slit next to the hole and pull the wire out. Do not reuse these holes. Instead, use needlenosed pliers to put a small clockwise hook on the end of the wire and connect them to the screws instead.

When repacking the box, do so very carefully and fold the wires neatly so that nothing comes loose and nothing shorts out (especially keep the bare grounding wire away from the screws).

Now turn the breaker back on and test it again with your outlet tester (the one that told you the polarity was reversed in the first place--or did a home inspector tell you that?).

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