Load side/reverse polarity?

A friend of mine just had a home inspection done on a rental property for his buyer. The inspector said all of the GFCI outlets have the load on the wrong side. My friend asked if they had reverse polarity. The inspector said no that he had to switch the load wires. What? This did not make sense to me. Does anyone know what the inspector was refering to?

GFI receptacles have 2 sets of terminals, LINE and LOAD. Line is for the incoming power, LOAD would be used to protect other receptacles downstream of the GFI receptacle.

From www.ecmweb.com :

Do not confuse load wiring with the ‘hot’ conductors. As Michael stated, the line wires (coming in) were put into the load terminals (going out) and vice versa. Also, make sure that when the hots are switched around, that the neutrals are switched around, too (assuming they are also incorrect).


Can this be detected with a simple 3 light testor or do you need an Ideal sure test? Thanks, Ken

It can be detected simply by pushing the GFCI test button. On an older GFCI, if it remains powered when tripped, line/load is reversed, or it is defective. On a newer GFCI, it will not function at all if line/load is reversed.

Thanks guys…

Also lets not all forget to mention to our clients to test these GFCI devices on a monthly basis. Some older ones do fail in the closed position which creates a hazard they the consumer may not be aware of. I believe all GFCI devices produced after 2003-2004 UL 943 corrected this problem. However, their are still alot of the old ones still out their…some with SHOT MOV’s as well and offer no functional protection at all.