I need your help

During the evening the lights in the family room went out. I checked and reset the breaker but to no avail. Upon testing the outlets I found that suddenly the hot and ground were reversed. Am I correct in thinking the breaker has gone bad on me?

I think you mean hot black and white neutral. I would think that it also is a bad light switch and this is a very common problem when they are old or have a loose connection.

Sorry, maybe I should clarify further. The lights that went out in the family room are table lamps which are plugged into electrical outlets and controlled by wall mounted switches. When testing the electrical outlets I found that the hot and grounds were reversed. That is why I am thinking the breaker might have gone bad.

OK so how did you test these receptacles to determine that the hot and EG were suddenly reversed? If this just happened you might have a difficult problem to troubleshoot, not to mention the extreme danger that may be present when normally grounded objects are electrified.

Hot and ground reverse means you have a short circuit messed up between the ground and hot. I would think it is at the plug and you shoud call a electrician ASAP.

Sounds like you may have a loose wire possibly grounding out. I would start by checking your outlets in that circuit to see if any are bad or the connections were loose.

Just some thought as well. I have found many times when testing gfci outlets, if the outlet doesn’t reset properly my tester will show all outlets on that circuit as having reverse polairty. Once reset, it corrects the issue. It obviously had something to do with the connection.

One can affect the rest. Dive on in Aubrey, you will find it.

I would hope the skills of any experienced home inspector would qualify you to evaluate your own plugs. If you can’t check plugs in your own home for loose connections you may consider another line of work. Not directed at you Kevin, just in general. Its just 110, it doesn’t hurt that bad. :stuck_out_tongue:

Let us keep in mind that it not the voltage but amperage that kills you . 05 amps i believe, sounds like a short , remove the power , switch and outlets and use a ohm meter.

You may not de-energize this plug safely as Wayne is pointing out. Unless you can determine no power to the plug you should leave it to the electrician to analyze. If you start a fire or create a hazard you will not receive any insurance relief if someting goes wrong.
BTW some people react different to electrical shock and even at low amperage can not let go and in this instance you may become the path to ground.

Please understand that I am not trying to jump on you in any way but this statement needs addressing even if you made it in pun.

A 120 volt circuit protected with a 15 amp breaker is capable of delivering 1800 watts of electrical energy continually.
To think that this is not enough to KILL is completely the wrong train of thought as it is more than enough to do damage or cause death

Correct and even here in SSM On the ESA says when posible all power is to be removed from outlet before removal by electrician to make proper repairs.

I have to agree, this doesn’t sound like a breaker issue. When troubleshooting this type of electrical issue I would personally start at the point of the problem which sounds like the switch. Then move downstream testing and making corrections as needed. Also if this is beyond your skill level then refer to someone that is qualified. Always remember safety first.

One question: How do you know it “suddenly” reversed? Did you specifically test that outlet in the past? What makes you think it hasn’t always been that way?

You weren’t clear. Was the breaker tripped? You stated you ‘reset’ the breaker “but to no avail” and the polarity was reversed. How did you check polarity, if “no avail”.

Perhaps the lamp socket went bad. Happens all the time.

Not trying to bust your nuts, but getting the exact facts is important. No wonder some of youse catch crap from electricians and other tradesmen.

Okay… that’s more than one question, my bad.:wink:

Thanks for the input and guys. It was as I suspected, the CB had gone bad. A quick trip to Lowes and $4 later as is well with the world again.

I am still trying to figure out how if the breaker did not reset you were able to get the juice for testing outlets as reversed.

I was thinking the same thing Bob! I have seen failed CB on Federal Pacific that don’t trip and then set but I don’t know what panel she has.

This is a good example why people need to call an electrician ,
Could be one of many reasons example loose neutral and getting a back feed .
Also 120 volts can be deadly . A person can get killed with 26 volts.

Remember always ground your generator

that’s a great picture Roy…

Looks like they needed to add more dirt Roy.:shock:

Glad you found the problem Aubrey , or did the new breaker mask the real problem?
BTW guys not the voltage it is the amperage and conditions that kill