On Tue, 24 Feb 2009 21:41:37 -0500, email@example.com wrote:
Makes perfect sense to me, across the lake from you in New York, as
our furnace is on its own circuit and there's a disconnect switch
right on the side of the furnace that's next to the entrance of the
basement stairway: very handy. The switch is pretty high up (almost
6 ft.), so little kids can't reach it.
If the house is wired with conventional white neutrals and black hots it is
possible that they are reversed at the panel or someplace in between. If the
panel lacks a ground, they could even be reversed at the meter or drop. You
actually need to test to a known good ground to be able to tell whether a
wire is a neutral or a hot.
As others have mentioned, a disconnected neutral with a load connected will
be hot. I really do not read anything in your post that indicates a problem.
Its not weird at all, An open neutral measured to ground or another
neutral will read hot if the other side of the load is hot. What you
see is not an indication that anything is wrong.
By taking it loose to measure it you have floated it above ground so
now it is connected to the hot side through whatever load was feeding.
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