While looking at this wall plug, I noticed it has a designated side for white wire, and a designated side for black wire. In the past I never saw that on a plug and just put it on whichever side was handy.
Is there a valid reason for putting a specific color wire on a specific side? I personally wouldn't think so, but maybe an electrician would know a reason, or someone more knowledgeable.
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Turn off the circuit breaker for that outlet
Neutral (White) goes to silver screw
Hot (Black) goes to gold screw
Step by step available all over the internet; just Google it or go to
Plugs should be polarized for proper grounding of appliances plugged
into the receptacle. You will also notice that plugs have one prong
larger to mate with the wider slot of the receptacle to everything is
properly polarized. Small prong is hot, wide is the neutral. Yes, your
lamp will light either way but you toaster may shock you if not properly
If you look at lamp cords you will notice that one side looks a bit
different than the other side, usually ribbed. That is so if you splice
it or put a new end you can get it right. Smooth is the hot side, ribbed
On Sunday, January 31, 2016 at 12:56:32 AM UTC-5, Ed Pawlowski wrote:
I don't know of any appliance that relies on the neutral for actual
grounding. Two wire devices are not grounded and AFAIK, they don't
have the case connected to the neutral. Polarization is important
because the appliance is designed to expect one wire to be the hot,
the other the neutral. For example, with a simple floor lamp, the
tab at the bottom goes to the hot side, the side of the socket to
the neutral. If the light is left on while changing a bulb, it's
easier to accidentally touch the side, not so easy to touch the tab
at the bottom. With the side at neutral potential which is close
to ground potential, if you touched the side of the socket while
standing in water, you shouldn't get a shock, any voltage potential
there should be minimal. With other appliances, similar applies.
The switch to cut off power to the appliance is going to be on the
side that is supposed to be hot for example. The appliance would
still work plugged in the other way, but if you start to take it
apart while it's plugged in, have the switch off, parts that you
think would not be energized, will be.
Really ! ?
Are you saying that the metal body of my toaster is "grounded"
to the neutral wire of the power cord ? for safety.
Imagine that someone forces the 2-prong polarized plug into the wall -
- backwards !
On 01/31/2016 08:57 AM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
No, that would not be the case. The "hot" wire would simply go to the
switch. Any device with a grounded case would require a three prong plug
with a ground wire.
I don't know what year polarized plugs and outlets became the standard
but I do know the outlets in the house my parents had built in 1957 had
them. (No ground prong provision though)
On 1/31/2016 9:57 AM, email@example.com wrote:
Trader4 explained it better than I did. Your toaster may be grounded
with a third wire to ground or may be double insulated. My old toaster
had an outside plastic housing but new toaster has a 3 wire plug and
On 2016-01-31 8:11 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Years ago my mother complained about being shocked when doing dishes,
checking out the situation I found if a metal pan in the dish rack was
touching the toaster and you touch it and the sink you got zapped.
Using a meter there was 120V between the toaster and the sink,
non-polarized plug, reverse the plug and no problems.
Replaced the plug with a three prong to prevent reversing the plug.
We had an Emerson radio from the 40's. A chip was missing from the
case, and it sat on a metal set of shelves, so the chassis touched the
metal shelf. We also had chrome trim around the formica kitchen
counter (before they used formica in the front), and when I touched
both the shelf and the trim, I'd get a small tingle. (Nothing like a
full 110 volts. I've had that too.) My mother never mentioned this
and I was too stupid to figure out the problem or fix it.
I still have the radio. Maybe I should change the plug.
They used to put a small capacitor and/or high value resistor between
the incoming power and the chassis. I can't remember why - maybe
someone here will know. It allowed a small current to flow which
would give you that tingling feeling if you lightly rubbed your
fingers across the chassis.
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