hot/neutral reversed


Old 07-01-05, 03:52 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 87
hot/neutral reversed

Went to a mobile home that had a couple of the outlets' wiring reversed--hot on neutral side and vice-versa. Aside from correcting the wiring, what if any are the dangers/consequences of having these wired like this? Home is 20+ yrs old, original wiring.
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Old 07-02-05, 05:40 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
There are several instances where a hot and neutral reversed could be a problem.

Before discussing these, make sure that you truly have this problem. Sometimes an open can show up as a hot and neutral reversed.

For devices that have a non-polarized two prong plug, there is no danger. These devices can be plugged in either way, and they don;t care.

For devices with a polarized two prong plug , the danger is that the hot wire (now on the neutral) may run to a portion of the device that could come into contact with someone's fingers. A light is a good example. Normally with a polarized plug, the hot part of the socket is the middle of the inside of the base, and the neutral portion is around the sides of the base. When changing a light bulb, someone might accidentally touch the sides of the bulb at the base. They could get a nasty shock if they are also touching something grounded. Whether the device itself will get damaged in this setup depends on the device.

The possible danger with a three prong plus device is the same.
Old 07-02-05, 05:57 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
Hot/neutral reverse is a mild hazard, but is trivial to fix so there's no reason not to fix it.

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