Rental apartment situation ... no access to circuit breakers. Tested
using Snapit 3 light circuit tester. I found two outlets that had
"hot/neutral reversed" [HNR from here on out].
Now I obviously cannot and would not attempt any repair for perhaps 10
reasons (I have checked out a good 30 postings on the subject).
What I am asking is under what circumsances will I KILL myself. One of
the HNR outlets is next to a good outlet. So if I have a floor lamp
plugged into the good outlet and another lamp plugged into the HNR and
I touch both lamps (presumably in good electrical condition), am I
going to be zapped? The lamps clearly would not have a ground type
plug. Am I less likely to die if both appliances are grounded? One
grounded one not??? I have to assume that if there is any electrical
fault in the lamp (or appliance), then I am going to be in trouble.
I am NOT using the HNR that is next to a good outlet. The one HNR that
is pretty isolated is being used but I presume the only exposure here
is using the vac or any long corded appliance. I also will not use the
HNR with a computer or accessories.
While I will bring this up with the landlord, I do not want to cause
Wes in NJ
do not connect the hot to one hand, and the neutral or ground to the
other hand, to electrocute your heart muscle. all beginner
electricians keep one hand in their pocket at all times.
instead of living with a shock hazard,
1. go to walmart electrical department and buy 2 portable GFI's. around
$10 each. plug one into an outlet and it will trip before allowing you
to get killed.
2. use one to test all your appliances and outlets for a shock hazard.
handle your questionable lamps to test them this way in both on and off
3. the landlord won't be too excited if an electrician replaced your
troublesome outlets at your expense.
4, the lamp shock hazard is reduced by the manufacturer when the hot
appears at the center socket terminal to the lightbulb. this is
accomplished when using a polarized plug in a properly wired outlet. a
digital multimeter will allow you to identify the plug's short hot
prong versus the neutral taller prong and correct any miswired lamps.
Typically lamps are not grounded. The "hot" wire should connect to the
tongue in the socket and the neutral connects to the threaded part of the
socket. The likelihood of you getting electrocuted by this is probably
Sorry I couldn't get back on line as the thread has gone too far. I
thank all for their input. I know the situation has to be dealt with,
but as I originally said, I just wanted to have some backup that it
should be dealt with sooner rather than later.
I should have mentioned that this is a multifamily dwelling with the
live in landlord having access to the circuit breaker, and actually
that is a side issue to my main concern (the HNR outlets). We just
moved in and I have to go with the presumption that the prior tennant
had absolutely no problem with the HNR outlets. I am sure there will
be no problem with the landlord calling in his electrician.
Well, Ed, if the guy gets injured or worse and the landlord has to explain
to the insurance company and whatever attorneys get involved he will be a
whole lot unhappier.
He is collecting rent. The premises he is renting should be safe.
On 19 Oct 2005 16:01:19 -0700, " email@example.com"
Write a letter about the conditions. Get it notorized. Send a copy to
yourself using a certified receipt. Send another copy to your
attorney. Then make out your will, being very thorough with all your
belongings. Then, plug in a lamp, being sure to touch the plug
contacts with your fingers, and electricute yourself. After your
death, your family will inherit all your stuff and they will become
the owners of the rental you lived in after the landlord is sued and
imprisoned. Your family will be very happy !!!
wrote in message
: > Rental apartment situation ... no access to circuit breakers.
: That is a rather dangerous situation. What if you MUST turn
: breaker? What if you plug in something and trip the breaker?
If you cannot
: resolve that situation, consider moving.
Yeah, that struck me, too. Completely unacceptable. I'm
wondering if the OP simply doesn't know where the breakers are
and/or is afraid to bother asking.
That's possible. I'm just thinking it could be an apartment in a converted
single family and the downstairs tenant has the breaker box. I can
visualize a smoking receptacle and waiting until the landlord comes home
from vacation so you can turn the breaker off.
It is safe to use any device or lamp that does not have a polarized plug
(one with one prong larger than the other so it will only fit in the outlet
one way). Most devices with polarized plugs are also safe, but it may not
be easy to be sure. I would avoid using any polarized plug device in those
outlets. I would also suggest contacting the owner and having it fixed.
There is NO difference between a polarized plug fixture and a non-polarized
plug fixture other than the fact that the plug is polarized.
The only reason that bulb fixtures are polarized, is that a correctly
wired outlet puts the neutral (less hazardous) on the base shell - which
you might come in contact with while changing a bulb.
If the hot is on the base shell (from a reversed outlet), the base is
hot EVEN IF the light switch is off (because the switch switches the
In other words, with a correctly wired outlet (and non-defective fixture),
a polarized receptacle guarantees you can't electrocute yourself from
accidentally touching the base shell of the bulb or fixture, switched on
As a corrollary, with unpolarized fixtures, or, polarized fixtures
on an hot-neutral reversed outlet, you will want to consider unplugging
the fixture before changing the bulb. It's not necessary on a polarized
fixture on a correctly wired outlet.
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
Give the landlord a reasonable amount of time to make the repairs
needed. 30 days is reasonable.
If they aren't completed by then, call an electrician yourself, and
deduct the bill from the rent.
Make sure you have the electrician write up a detailed report of the
problem and resolution.
Two outlets in the same junction box were on two separate breakers!
It pays to be VERY careful. I never, ever expected that.
Actually, that's the way it should be done or better yet, have the top
of the receptacles on one breaker and the bottom on another. The
reasoning should be obvious as multiple circuits are required in modern
If you started poking around in ceiling boxes, actually any junction
box other than switch type boxes, you'd find numerous circuits.
As to OP. the wiring isn't a problem for all intents and purposes. It
never made a real difference before three prong plugs, did it?
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