Electrical receptacle polarity.

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  #1  
Old 03-22-15, 10:51 PM
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Electrical receptacle polarity.

Hi

I just checked one of the outlets in my house. It returns as Hot Neutral. Is this safe or do I need to replace it? If it is safe, why was it set like this?

I attached a picture and it is the one above the "CORRECT".

Thanks

https://www.dropbox.com/s/g0sf6rrz0i...12301.jpg?dl=0
 
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Old 03-22-15, 10:54 PM
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Does the receptacle work if you plug in something like a table lamp ?

If it doesn't work you may have lost the neutral to the receptacle. If it does work then the receptacle is most likely connected backwards and should be corrected.
 
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Old 03-22-15, 11:05 PM
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it works but i am concern because my wife has been plugging her laptop into it for an entire year.
 
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Old 03-22-15, 11:36 PM
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To most devices.... your laptop included..... the polarity at the receptacle wouldn't make a difference. However, if you notice.... some appliances/devices have one wider and one smaller prong. Those are called polarized plugs and they require the correct wiring.

Best to change it as soon as possible.
 
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Old 03-23-15, 12:18 AM
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Good point on the wider vs normal prongs.

How was it install wrong in the first place and how do I correct it? Do I just switch the places between the white and black wires?

Thanks
 
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Old 03-23-15, 12:42 AM
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http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...rt-images.html

If you're unfamiliar with basic wiring, it might be better to post a picture of the receptacle.

Gently pull it away from wall. Tilt receptacle down and try to get a good picture showing the back of receptacle. Showing the back should also give a fairly clear view of wires inside box.
 
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Old 03-23-15, 01:11 AM
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Good point! I will take a picture of it tomorrow and post it back. Thanks
 
  #8  
Old 03-23-15, 05:39 AM
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Hot Neutral Reverse

The incorrect wire connections can be at the problem receptacle or at the connections of the supplying cable at the upstream receptacle.
 
  #9  
Old 03-24-15, 09:06 PM
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Hi, I have not gotten a chance to take it apart yet and post a picture. I do have a question before doing so. This receptacle is on a 15 amp circuit. I have a couple of new 20 amp receptacles (has not been used yet) at home which I installed a few around the house last year. Can I replace this 15 amp receptacle with a 20 amp receptacle or does it need to be exactly the same?

If I have to buy a new 15 amp receptacle, is there anything in particular should I be looking for? I believe the current one is just a standard one.
 
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Old 03-24-15, 10:05 PM
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I have a couple of new 20 amp receptacles (has not been used yet) at home which I installed a few around the house last year. Can I replace this 15 amp receptacle with a 20 amp receptacle
A 20 amp receptacle can not be used on a 15 amp circuit. In fact unless you have an antique Xerox machine from the 60"s it is doubtful you will ever need a 20 amp receptacle. So long as there is at least one duplex receptacle (or two simplex) on a 20 amp circuit 15 amp receptacles can be used. (15 amp receptacles are rated 20 amp pass through.)
 
  #11  
Old 03-29-15, 05:44 PM
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Hi,

I just replaced it the receptacle and tested it.

So the reason why it showed as Hot Neutral as mentioned in my original post, the previous owner must of connected the wires backward. They connected the black wire to silver screw instead of the brass screw. And the white wire to the brass screw.

It is a 20 amp circuit so I replaced it with a 20 amp receptacle.

Ray, in your above post, I could have put a 15 amp receptacle on this 20 amp circuit? The one that I just removed is a 15 amp receptacle. Please confirmed.
 
  #12  
Old 03-29-15, 05:53 PM
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Confirmed.
Ray explained it well in post #10. You do not need to install 20amp receptacles on a 20amp circuit.

Yes, you could have installed a 15amp receptacle.
 
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Old 03-29-15, 06:15 PM
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15 and 20 amp guts are usually the same. Only the face is different.
 
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Old 03-29-15, 06:16 PM
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Thank you for the confirmation.

Last question, would there be any reason why the previous owner connected the wires backward (black with silver)? Or was it just a simple mistake on their part?
 
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Old 03-29-15, 06:27 PM
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Most likely a lack of attention or knowledge.
 
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Old 04-30-15, 12:36 AM
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15 and 20 amp guts are usually the same. Only the face is different.
Ray, can I install this on my 15 amp receptacle that is on a 20 amp circuit? And run power tools off of it?
 
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Old 04-30-15, 12:41 AM
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You can but those adapters are extremely light duty and basically junk. You'll find the receptacles loosen up quite quickly and the plugs don't stay in tight.

You'd be better off using a good power strip.
 
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Old 04-30-15, 12:53 AM
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Thank You for the confirmation.
 
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