What could happen when the hot and neutral wires are reversed on an outlet? The outlet still works properly. Just interested,because a house we inspected had quite a few like that.

i’m sure the others will chime in soon, but as i understand it, if this outlet is used for say, a lamp, now you have a sutuation were the whole lamp is hot while shut off due to the neutral (the “ground” in a 2 prong plug) now being on the inner part of the bulb socket, and the hot on the outer part. since the fixture is sheilded threw the neutral, that whole circut is now hot. when you turn the switch, you only open the neutral instead of the hot. the same thing aplied for any thing on the circut.

Here are my ideas on this: If a homeowner should / could have an “old” appliance that uses a metal case / housing as a common “neutral” connection for wiring you could potentially have a ( non-polarized prong could be present too) shock / electrocution hazard. It seems that is would not matter considering AC has a constant reversing polarity but keeping the hot side of A/C within the appliance isolated from any external surfaces is key… What if your washing maching used the housing as “neutral” side and the receptacle is reversed… POW ZAP… Here is another thing if your kitchen stove was on a reversed receptacle and you touch the stainless steel sink faucet ( grounded)… You become the “load”…

I am sure the sparkies will weight in on this too…PAUL…JOE…

Could this be a safety issue.

If you are in a place where you suspect 2 wire/no ground and you find a 3 pin receptacle with reverse polarity you might have a bootleg ground, connected to the hot leg! That is a fatal fault without the user doing anything wrong.
Imagine hooking up your Tivo with a case at 120v and a cable end at ground.

“Fire in the hole”!

Could it be a safety issue?

Only if you are changing the lightbulb and come in contact with the “threaded” part as your are doing it and the switch is “on”…

OOUCCH!! Is the nicest thing that will come out of your mouth…more than likely! :wink:

but think about a metal lamp, older unit, now the whole thing, base and all, is hot all the time. remember the switch only turns off the hot, and in this case it’s reversed.:shock:

They say a picture is worth a thousand words…


That picture helped tremendously. Thanks.

Richard, that pic helped me to understand better, thank you. buy the way. where did you get that illustration?

Whipped it up myself. Signed copies are available for a small fortune. :slight_smile:

How about a barter trade. A RR margarita for a signed copy?