Hot/Ground Reversed sockets


Hello everyone. Just had a quick question. Our house is only 2 years old and up until a couple motnhs ago everything seemed to work fine as far as electricity is concerned. Mysteriously, in our bedroom, 3 sockets stopped working. It was not a breaker, nor a GFCI, etc....Just these three. Over at home depot I picked up a little tester with the 3 lights that tells what is wrong supposedly. In two of the 3 I got Hot/Ground Reverse and in one I got Open Neutral. So, in my thinking I could just open up the sockets and switch the hot ground on the 2 and then connect the presumed detached neutral on the other. But there has got to be a reason this happened on 3 at the same time. Is there anyone out there who can point me in the right direction?
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You can't suddenly have a hot/ground reversed! A wire must have come lose or one of the outlets is defective. Open them up and have a look at them; it is probably the open neutral one. Having a voltmeter to test the various wires would be helpful if nothing is obvious.
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I would begin by testing EVERY OUTLET in the home!
Then see howq many more are wired wrong.........
Original electrician obviously wasnt doing his job:(
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

In the process of...Not too surprised. I'll take a look at the open neutral ones first..Thanks for the amazingly prompt replies....
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on light sockets the hot side must be the inner button contact at the bottom of the socket.
otherwise you can get a nasty shock touching the bottom of the lamp when changing bulbs.
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wrote:

The one that shows the open neutral is probably going to be where the problem is.
You might get lucky to find that this could be the cause of all 3 troubles.
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sounds like you have backstabbed connections on your outlets. Start taking them out (all of them) and putting the wires on the screws. When you get every outlet in the house done, I'll bet your three dead ones won't be any more.
--
Steve Barker

"Jeffrey" < snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com> wrote in message
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wrote:

Be careful with the testers with the 3 neon bulbs. They sometimes give out false readings. My guess is you have just an open neutral and not a hot-ground reversal. With the neutral open, I bet you're seeing leakage over to the ground within the tester and hence lighting of the ground neon bulb too, making it seem like a reversed hot-ground.
If the outlets are daisy changed, the lost neutral will be on the first outlet in the chain.
dickm
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As outlet wiring is daisy chained together, if you have an open wire, it will affect all the outlets downstream of the open. You want to look for the problem in the last "working" outlet in the chain or the first problem outlet in the chain. Keep in mind, if the house is two years old and in the US, the bedroom outlets should be AFCI protected, which may make it more difficult to use test equipment on the circuit

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Am I the only one confused by this?
You said the 3 outlets were "dead" but you tested them and they tester said they were reversed? Are they hot or not? Something like a simple lamp should work okay (but not be safe, but at least work) with the wires reversed. Something with protections circuitry might not.
Jeffrey wrote:

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if your replacing the junk backstab outlets PLEASE buy quality ones NOT the builders quality ones from the big box retailer.
Those for a buck or less are pure JUNK. Contacts wear out FAST!
check EVERY outlet in home before beginning so you get a idea of how wide spread your problem is
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And finally, I am (but maybe should not be) surprised that no one here has yet said...
TURN OFF THAT CIRCUIT!
At minimum, you have a loose wire, possibly an open neutral, and possibly some leakage from hot or neutral to ground, and possibly some open grounds. At worst you have a potential ground fault somewhere, just waiting to catch fire, or shock/injure/kill someone when they touch anything connected to that ground. A whole lot of house fires are related to electrical problems just like yours.
So go now to the breaker, and turn off that whole circuit. Don't turn it back on until you (or someone you hire) finds and either (a) fixes the problem, or (b) disconnects the broken/dangerous portion of the circuit so you can still use the working portion of the circuit.
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Pat wrote:

If it's exactly as described and you plugged in a lamp, it would not work. A lamp is a two prong plug. One outlet has no neutral, so we that would not light the lamp. The other two have the hot and GROUND reversed. If that's true, the lamp would be connected between ground and neutral, which isn't going to light it either.
I agree with the others, that it's likely something simple has come undone and the tester, which could also be of dubious integrity, is just giving wierd readings.

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http://www.faqs.org/faqs/electrical-wiring/part1 / http://www.selfhelpandmore.com/homewiringusa/1999/pictures/index.htm
Jeffrey wrote:

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wrote:

Disclaimer: I'm very bias'd towards paying for quality work.
I suggest getting a qualified electrician. ;)
later,
tom @ www.Consolidated-Loans.info
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Jeffrey wrote:

The problem likely lies with the one showing an open neutral or the outlet just upstream of it, which would not show a problem. Turn the power off and check the one with the open neutral for a poor connection. If you are lucky you will find one. Fix it and go buy a lottery ticket as today is your lucky day.
If you find back stabbed connections (wires going into holes on the back of each outlet rather than to the screws) I suggest you consider taking a day, shutting down all the power to the house and changing all your outlets over to the screws. Much more reliable and safer.
If you don't find anything on that outlet, then you need to try and guess where the power to that one is coming from because the problem is likely at that outlet.
Good Luck and be careful. If you are unsure of any phase of the project, consider buying a wiring book at the hardware store or stop by the library.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia \'s Muire duit
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Jeffrey wrote:

Did you have a home inspection? If this was a problem from the get-go.. I would of thought an inspector would have caught this. The sockets may be bad if they are going now.
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Brian wrote:

All good advice. Thanks so much guys. I suspect that it is a crappy tester. It was only a few bucks, so go figure. There were not hot/ground reverses. After a couple seconds the readings went to open neutral on all 3 which makes sense to my non-electrician mind since they are daisy chained. As mentioned previously, there must have been some leakage which caused it to see hot/ground reverse. I have begun the process of replacing those with the backstabbed connections. I actually had an electrician come over and he had the plates off checking each one and he found a loose neutral and then everything seemed to work. He screwed them all back in and left. After he left they did not work anymore so I suspect that it worked after testing only because the wires got jossled and made a connection until they were screwed back into the plates. Either way, I turned off the breaker to my room and I am going to replace them all with screw versions....If backstabs suck so much, why are they used? Just to save time I guess and builders seem to live by the phrase, "well, that's code." Anyways, perhaps I am going about this all wrong, but my first time troubleshooting this type of issue...Unless the issue is computer-related, I'm a fish out of water....Thanks everyone,
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