Results 1 to 32 of 32
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Erwin, TN
    Posts
    187

    Default Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    I inspected a house built in 1960 (TN) and most all the outlets were hot neutral reversed in the the house. Would you consider this a defect or was this wiring common practice in the 60's. Does this create a fire hazard ? Thanks for your input. SM

    The outlets were 3 prong outlets, tested with a small Ideal plug in tester. Panel grounded with a ground rod. Thank

    Similar Threads:
    Last edited by Sam Morris; 03-03-2010 at 09:03 PM.
    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Morris View Post
    I inspected a house built in 1960 (TN) and most all the outlets were hot neutral reversed in the the house. Would you consider this a defect or was this wiring common practice in the 60's. Does this create a fire hazard ? Thanks for your input. SM
    Yes it is a defect and a potential shock hazard.

    For example: any light plugged into the reversed polarity outlet would now have the "hot" on the threaded socket instead of the center contact.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Morris View Post
    I inspected a house built in 1960 (TN) and most all the outlets were hot neutral reversed in the the house. Would you consider this a defect or was this wiring common practice in the 60's. Does this create a fire hazard ? Thanks for your input. SM
    Pictures of inside the panel would be good. If all the outlets on a circuit are reversed, it seems to me it's an easy fix. But yes, it needs repair.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Morris View Post
    I inspected a house built in 1960

    Sam,

    I am presuming the receptacle outlets where polarized non-grounding types and that is why you knew they were reverse polarity (non-polarized type receptacle have no "reverse polarity" as there is no way to know what goes where).

    IF you had grounding-type receptacles, that also brings up the matter of all of them requiring GFCI protection, in which case it was most likely the person who installed the GFCI protection who reversed the polarity downstream from the GFCI receptacle.

    As Michael and John have said above - Yes, write it up as needing correction, if someone wants to know why, respond "life safety" - your life and my safety from the surviving spouse wanting to get my assets.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Philadelphia PA
    Posts
    3,177

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    ...

    IF you had grounding-type receptacles, that also brings up the matter of all of them requiring GFCI protection, in which case it was most likely the person who installed the GFCI protection who reversed the polarity downstream from the GFCI receptacle...
    Me confused. Why do they all require GFCI protection, given the information Sam has provided?

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    given the information Sam has provided?

    John,

    Read my post again, I was offering choices because of *the lack of* "information Sam has provided".

    What type of receptacles are installed in that house?

    If Sam provided that information, I missed it.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Philadelphia PA
    Posts
    3,177

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    John,

    Read my post again, I was offering choices because of *the lack of* "information Sam has provided".

    What type of receptacles are installed in that house?

    If Sam provided that information, I missed it.
    Ok, actually I should have said "given the information you and Sam provided". You said "IF you had grounding-type receptacles, that also brings up the matter of all of them requiring GFCI protection", which is what I don't understand. Why would all of them require GFCI protection?

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    You said "IF you had grounding-type receptacles, that also brings up the matter of all of them requiring GFCI protection", which is what I don't understand. Why would all of them require GFCI protection?

    Because "IF you had grounding-type receptacles" on ungrounded circuits, and in 1960 the circuits are likely ungrounded, and ... IF grounding-type receptacles have been installed - GFCI protection is required at all such receptacles outlets.

    Again, I was offering choices based on information I was offering, as Sam did not provide much information.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Philadelphia PA
    Posts
    3,177

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Because "IF you had grounding-type receptacles" on ungrounded circuits, and in 1960 the circuits are likely ungrounded, and ... IF grounding-type receptacles have been installed - GFCI protection is required at all such receptacles outlets...
    I just don't get why GFCI protection is "required", as if there is no other solution. It doesn't provide grounding, after all. What about re-wiring?

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    I just don't get why GFCI protection is "required", as if there is no other solution. It doesn't provide grounding, after all.
    GFCI devices do not need a ground.

    When the person (or some other item) creates a ground fault (fault to ground), then the GFCI shuts off without needing a ground to do so.

    What about re-wiring?
    You could, and it would be better as you are then replacing an old wiring system with a new one, but that is not required, and if you did re-wire, then there would not be ungrounded receptacles as all the new replacement circuits would be required to be grounded circuits, meaning the lack of grounding would go away, and, presumable, the electrician installing the new circuits would not make the same reverse polarity mistakes again. Presuming that ... of course.

    Last edited by Jerry Peck; 07-07-2009 at 12:08 PM. Reason: fixing "["for quote
    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  11. #11
    Bud Butczynski's Avatar
    Bud Butczynski Guest

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    At the risk of opening myself up for a kick in the "ya-ya's", like John, I don't understand how installing a GFCI device can resolve the hot/ neutral reverse readings. It sounds to me like the whole house was wired by someone that was color dislexic (white wire= brass screw/ black wire= silver screw). Insofar as grounding is concerned, is there a problem with removing and disposing of the 2-pronged receptacles, replacing them with 3-pronged receptacles, and grounding to a ground clip or screw installed in the metal enclosure as a remedy?


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bud Butczynski View Post
    At the risk of opening myself up for a kick in the "ya-ya's", like John, I don't understand how installing a GFCI device can resolve the hot/ neutral reverse readings.
    It doesn't and no one is saying it does.

    MY GAWD MAN (I know you were looking for that )

    Sam, in the original question, provided VERY LITTLE INFORMATION, so the rest of us, MYSELF INCLUDED, started offering information based on information THAT WE WERE ADDING TO the limited information we were given, i.e., if 'this, then this', and 'if this, then that', and 'if something else, then something else'.

    It is how we take limited information, add parameters to it trying to find out what was actually being asked/discussed/stated, and with the answers back on our suppositions we can add, subtract or whatever from where we started - all in an effort to obtain enough information to make the end discussion fit what was really asked.

    Happens on most threads (seldom is sufficient information given in the original post) and other information is needed, requested, or filled in with presumptions with answers based on those presumptions.

    It sounds to me ...
    PRECISELY!

    "It sounds to me ... " and we are all wondering "what else" is there.

    like the whole house was wired by someone that was color dislexic (white wire= brass screw/ black wire= silver screw).
    A presumption on your part which I had not considered.

    All we can do, though, like you did, is offer limited usefulness responses based on limited information or create scenarios and give answers based on those scenarios.

    Insofar as grounding is concerned, is there a problem with removing and disposing of the 2-pronged receptacles, replacing them with 3-pronged receptacles, and grounding to a ground clip or screw installed in the metal enclosure as a remedy?
    Yes. That metal enclosure MAY NOT BE GROUNDED, or if grounded, may not be PROPERLY grounded.

    Again, conjecture on our part, we simply do not know.

    There was some significance of the house being built in 1960, again, a presumption, but based on the fact that of the limited information we were given, that particular information WAS given.

    That would quite likely have been two prong, non-grounding type receptacles, which were polarized in size. Thus allowing Sam to determine the receptacles were "reversed polarity".

    From that point on, all the other items offered was to open eyes and think about what was there and pick the scenario which matched what Sam saw.

    What type of receptacles were there?
    - Two prong non-grounding type, not polarized?
    - Two prong non-grounding type, polarized?
    - Three prong grounding-type?

    In addition to "reverse polarity" were the receptacles grounded?

    What is the significance of the house being built in 1960 if not to define an era and what receptacle may have been used?

    Questions and questions and questions.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Now that we have dissected Sam's POST ... maybe he will provide additional information inquired about from out responses so that we can answer his question with greater assurance that we are actually answering THE RIGHT QUESTION with the right answer.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Philadelphia PA
    Posts
    3,177

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    I think I just had trouble with with JP's wording.

    Yes, if non-grounding type receptacles were replaced with grounding type, BUT, no new wiring was done to provide grounding, then GFCI protection is "required", in the sense that the NEC requires it but does not require re-wiring. However, re-wiring, as JP said, would be the best way to go.

    I know that GFCI protection does not need a ground, and never said that it did. I said GFCI protection does not PROVIDE a ground, which is why re-wiring is better.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    I know that GFCI protection does not need a ground, and never said that it did. I said GFCI protection does not PROVIDE a ground, which is why re-wiring is better.
    Agreed.

    Sometimes there is no choice but to re-wire, such as with rubber insulated conductors with the rubber insulation dried out, brittle, and cracking.

    Other times there are choices, such as with replacing ungrounded non-grounding type receptacles with grounding-type receptacles but not installing a PROPER ground, however, re-wiring is always best for older systems. "Best" electrically, not necessarily "best" for the pocket book. But then, building a new house is sometimes better than fixing up an old dump - but maybe not for the pocket book.

    There are choices which need to be made based on the options at hand.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  16. #16
    John Steinke's Avatar
    John Steinke Guest

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    I think the original question was: is it OK (or common) for the the hot and neutral wires to be reversed in an old house? I'd have to say not jusy 'no,' but 'hell no.'

    Even my 1940 house has 'polarized' receptacles; that is, one plug slot is much larger than the other. This was considered a critical safety issue. Why? Because many appliances had the outer metal case bonded to the neutral. The reasoning was that a short to the case would then blow the fuse. If the two wires were reversed, that case was made 'hot,' creating a shock hazard.

    We didn't get around to making three-prong receptacles the 'norm' until after we started strapping men to the tops of rockets and placing them in orbit. This means that many homes built before 1965 did not have a ground wire - just the 'hot' and the 'neutral.'

    After we started using 3-prong receptacles, there was about a 10 year period where nearly every appliance had three-prong plugs. "Double insulated" appliances didn't become common until the 70's. With two-prong receptacles being common, and the appliances being three-prong, a number of things were commonly done to 'make things work.'

    Now .... our OP claims that the 'hot' and the 'neutral' were reversed? How can he tell? Well, odds are he used one of those little plug-in testers ... which have three prongs. This, in turn, suggests the ewceptacles were of the 3-prong type. Since 3-prong receptacles were not common in 1960, it raises the possibility that they were added later.

    Let's see ... we have set the stage for there very likely being no ground wire for those 3-prong receptalces. If the house was wired in pipe of flex, there's no problem. If it was wired in romex of knob & tube, there is no proper ground.

    So ... what to do? Sure, a re-wire can work. The NEC recognizes the difficulty of this, though, and allows an altermative: provide GFI protection instead.


  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,546

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Quote Originally Posted by John Steinke View Post
    I think the original question was: is it OK (or common) for the the hot and neutral wires to be reversed in an old house? I'd have to say not just 'no,' but 'hell no.'
    Now .... our OP claims that the 'hot' and the 'neutral' were reversed? How can he tell? Well, odds are he used one of those little plug-in testers ... which have three prongs. This, in turn, suggests the receptacles were of the 3-prong type. Since 3-prong receptacles were not common in 1960, it raises the possibility that they were added later.
    Let's see ... we have set the stage for there very likely being no ground wire for those 3-prong receptacles. If the house was wired in pipe of flex, there's no problem. If it was wired in romex or knob & tube, there is no proper ground.

    So ... what to do? Sure, a re-wire can work. The NEC recognizes the difficulty of this, though, and allows an alternative: provide GFI protection instead.
    All possible and based on fact, John. There is a flaw here though. The plug-in tester only shows reversed hot and neutral if the receptacle is grounded. So we know the wiring is grounded. Going off on a GFI tangent was not helpful here, IMO. No wonder the posters drift away.


  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    All possible and based on fact, John. There is a flaw here though. The plug-in tester only shows reversed hot and neutral if the receptacle is grounded. So we know the wiring is grounded. Going off on a GFI tangent was not helpful here, IMO. No wonder the posters drift away.
    John K.,

    I did not see where the original poster stated he used a plug-in tester.

    That is a presumption many of us made due to insufficient information given by the original poster.

    The original poster, Sam Morris, stated "I inspected a house built in 1960 (TN) and most all the outlets were hot neutral reversed in the the house."

    That was on 7-6, just over one week ago. Sam has not been back to clarify the presumptions made or to provide additional information to clarify what he found (such as grounded outlets or not) or how he found (such as what equipment was used to find it).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  19. #19
    Todd Johnson's Avatar
    Todd Johnson Guest

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Good Job JP! Very informative! Most of the scenarios, patient answers for the most part. GGM I sensed the exasperation in your post.

    Now all we have to do is get Sam back to clarify the Mess!


  20. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Sam? Sam? Are you there?????

    We need you


    Just a quick note here... I always check for polarity with a basic two-prong tester on (polarized) two-prong outlets. This is one I've come behind some very experienced inspectors in my area and found that they didn't call out.

    The two prong testers also help determine the presence of a grounded two-prong outlet by going from the hot to the plate screw.

    The picture below is from the 'Code Check' book and is a good quick explanation of the two prong vs three prong vs GFI situation.

    ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images ***IMPORTANT*** You Need To Register To View Images

  21. #21
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    N. Syracuse, NY
    Posts
    36

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Matt- I like that "Code Check" book. Tell me more about it. But watch out for those plasticized plate screws!
    Mike Locurcio


  22. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    The picture below is from the 'Code Check' book and is a good quick explanation of the two prong vs three prong vs GFI situation.

    Matt,

    Fig. 105 and Fig. 108 is wrong.

    Just because the tester goes off testing to the screw DOES NOT mean the box is PROPERLY grounded, and if not PROPERLY grounded ... then the box cannot be used for grounding to .

    That should state "May" as in 'it MAY be properly grounded, but the proper grounding would need to be checked out by an electrician' and as in 'it MAY NOT be properly grounded, to don't recommend that use without verifying proper grounding'.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Santa Fe, NM
    Posts
    74

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    The NEC requires receptacles installed on 15 and 20 ampere branch circuits to be of the grounding-type and it requires the grounding contacts of those receptacles to be effectively grounded to the branch circuit equipment grounding conductor [210-7]. However, the Code allows the installation of any of the following installations when replacing a 2-wire non-grounding-type receptacle where no ground exists in the outlet box [210-7(d)(3)]:

    (a) Replace the 2-wire receptacle with another 2-wire receptacle.
    (b) Replace the 2-wire receptacle with a GFCI-type receptacle and marked the receptacle with the words “No Equipment Ground.”
    (c) Replace the 2-wire receptacle with a grounding-type receptacle where protected by a GFCI protection device (circuit breaker or receptacle). Since the grounding terminals for the receptacles are not grounded, the receptacles must be marked with the words “GFCI Protected” and “No Equipment Ground.”

    A grounding-type receptacle that is GFCI protected without an equipment grounding conductor is a safer installation than a grounding-type receptacle with an equipment grounding conductor (if GFCI protection is not provided). This is because the GFCI protection device will clear a ground-fault when the fault-current is 5 milli-amperes (+ or – 1 milli-ampere), which is less than the current level necessary to cause serious electric shock or electrocution.

    A grounding-type receptacle without a ground is a safe installation as long as the GFCI protection circuitry within the device has not failed from shorts and voltage transients. To insure proper GFCI protection, test the GFCI monthly in accordance with the manufactures instructions and if the GFCI test does not operate properly, replace the GFCI protection device.

    Charles @ PreVue Property Inspections, Santa Fe, NM
    http://www.prevuepropertyinspections.com/
    "How can someone with glasses so thick be so stupid?"

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Charlotte NC
    Posts
    2,303

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    Sam? Sam? Are you there?????

    We need you


    Just a quick note here... I always check for polarity with a basic two-prong tester on (polarized) two-prong outlets. This is one I've come behind some very experienced inspectors in my area and found that they didn't call out.

    The two prong testers also help determine the presence of a grounded two-prong outlet by going from the hot to the plate screw.

    The picture below is from the 'Code Check' book and is a good quick explanation of the two prong vs three prong vs GFI situation.
    Matt I can see how polarity can be checked with a voltage sniffer, but don't know how you test with a two prong if the box is not grounded?


  25. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Matt I can see how polarity can be checked with a voltage sniffer, but don't know how you test with a two prong if the box is not grounded?
    Vern,

    In the older two-wire non-grounding type receptacles *which are not* the polarized type ... there is no "reverse polarity" as there was no differentiation made between the conductors at the receptacle nor in the equipment installed *at that time*.

    In the newer two-wire non-grounding type receptacles *which are* the polarized type ... there can be reverse polarity as the larger polarized plug identified the grounded conductor (neutral) wire which on *more modern equipment at that time* was beginning to be connected to the metal case of the equipment by many manufacturers. Reverse polarity would then energize the metal case of the equipment.

    With the newer polarized receptacles one can use a voltage sniffer of the appropriate sensitivity and detect whether the identified (larger) slot is energized or if the smaller slot is energized. Not need for a ground even at the box. The thing I did not like about the TIF voltage sniffers was that they were not sensitive enough to use for that purpose - they would go off close to the receptacle and could not isolated which slot was energized.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  26. #26
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    Posts
    1,072

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    *BUMP SAM BUMP*

    Mike Schulz License 393
    Affordable Home Inspections
    www.houseinspections.com

  27. #27
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Vern Heiler View Post
    Matt I can see how polarity can be checked with a voltage sniffer, but don't know how you test with a two prong if the box is not grounded?

    The only thing I'd add to what JP said is that you can make a 'jumper' type wire to stick in the outlet so you can hold your voltage sniffer far enough away to prevent false readings. I've also had some luck just holding my finger over the opening of the receptacle that I'm not testing.

    The basic two-prong testers seem to work the best though. I mainly like the sniffers just to identify the presence of voltage in crawl spaces or attics as I'm crawling through or to check old knob/tube wiring. The sniffers are really not very good for testing if things are correct.


  28. #28
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Charlotte NC
    Posts
    2,303

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    The only thing I'd add to what JP said is that you can make a 'jumper' type wire to stick in the outlet so you can hold your voltage sniffer far enough away to prevent false readings. I've also had some luck just holding my finger over the opening of the receptacle that I'm not testing.

    The basic two-prong testers seem to work the best though. I mainly like the sniffers just to identify the presence of voltage in crawl spaces or attics as I'm crawling through or to check old knob/tube wiring. The sniffers are really not very good for testing if things are correct.
    Matt, mine works fine on two conductor or three conductor outlets. I stick my seven-level screwdriver into dryer outlets to get a reading if the contacts are too deep .


  29. #29
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Matt Fellman View Post
    The basic two-prong testers seem to work the best though.

    Except there is nothing to touch the other lead to when there is no ground - works to check if 'hot' but not for 'reverse polarity'.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  30. #30
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Oregon
    Posts
    2,365

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    If you hold the other end to your thumb you can often get a faint light but it seems the newer testers don't have a very bright light. I've pretty much given up on that method but I use to do that all the time.


  31. #31
    Aldo Marcozzi's Avatar
    Aldo Marcozzi Guest

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Jerry:
    I send this post to you because you are one of the old one that I can remember. I don't know if you remember me, I used post under my first name: aldo.
    Long time ago that time you only had around 2,000 posts. I used post a lot during the battle of the new Home Inspector license (10 years ago???). However, looking all the posts I do not see too many inspectors’ names familiar to me on that time. Let me know if you remember me. Brian Hannigan told me that I never put a poster, but if he look on that time Archive will see my name.
    Anyway, talking about electric receptacles. Here in NJ, we go by the ICC and The IRC plus the NEC, (only for reference) since Home Inspectors cannot perform Code Inspection. These books contradicts themselves, is funny each electrical inspector tell you different story. If the house is 25 years old, seller is not obligated to replace ungrounded two prong outlets or install GFCI where required. Some owners, before selling the house, they replace the two prongs with 3 prongs (trying to cheat the inspector) The town electrical inspector then tell the seller either to bring the ground to the 3 prongs ungrounded outlets or remove it and reinstall the 2 prong outlets.
    Majority of the time when we do an inspection, the electrical is a mess, especially if the homeowner or his friend did the work.
    Hope I don’t have to wait another 10 years to put a post.
    Hi, to every one. We are the best……


  32. #32
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: Outlets in a 49 year old house(Hot Neutral Reversed)

    Quote Originally Posted by Aldo Marcozzi View Post
    These books contradicts themselves,
    I do vaguely remember your name ... I think (and I am the first to admit that I am VERY BAD about remembering names of people, just not something this mind does very well).

    Actually, those books do not contradict themselves, they go along with themselves, you just have to know when each applies.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •