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  1. #1
    d richards's Avatar
    d richards Guest

    Default Circuit breakers wired with white wire as "Hot"?

    While looking inside a breaker box in a 40 +year old home, I noticed that nearly all of the individuals circuit breakers have been wired with the "white" wire as hot and the black as common. Most outlets in the home are older two prong outlets however some have been replaced with three prong outlets. The newer individual outlets are wired correctly (black/brass, white/silver and ground) but the circuit breaker end is still reversed.

    I also noticed that over the years electricians have added circuit breakers (i.e. air conditioner) and these were wired correctly.

    Is it safe to leave things as they are (doubtful)? Should all the "old" circuit breakers be "rewired" (reversed to black=hot and white=common)? Can this be done safely? Just looking for suggestions.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Southern Vancouver Island
    Posts
    4,549

    Default Re: Circuit breakers wired with white wire as "Hot"?

    Quote Originally Posted by d richards View Post
    Is it safe to leave things as they are (doubtful)? Should all the "old" circuit breakers be "rewired" (reversed to black=hot and white=common)? Can this be done safely? Just looking for suggestions.
    No it is not safe for the obvious reasons. You can't be sure which wires are hot and which are neutral for any changes to the fixtures or receptacles. It also indicates that the original nstallation was not done by a professional, so there may be hidden dangers there, which can lead to shock (death) or fire (death).
    It can all be repaired, but it is a job for a knowledgeable electrician.
    Also, 40 year old breakers are inferior to the new ones, IMO, and so the panel should be inspected by an electrician. Best fix would be a new panel and a few new circuits so you have grounded outlets in the kitchen and a few grounded outlets on each floor, and all junctions are tight and safe..

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  3. #3
    Roger Frazee's Avatar
    Roger Frazee Guest

    Default Re: Circuit breakers wired with white wire as "Hot"?

    If you by chance get the opportunity to take a picture of that panel I would dearly love to have one for my files as I have never seen what you describe. So please post a picture if you get the chance.


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