Testing switched outlets

While testing a switched outlet today, I noted that my outlet tester had an odd reading. With the switch on, it was fine. When the switch was off, the tester showed as in the photo. “Open GRND” and “Open NEU”. This was on 2 switched outlets. I’ve never seen this before.
Does this indicate the switch is on the Neutral, not on the HOT wire? Or are the Neutral and Ground together? Home was built in 2004.

I have the same tester, and only get those reading after hitting the Test button. Makes sense…

30 VAC = less than 30 volts AC
Open Grd Neu = GFCI tripped and opened the contacts
See manual for more info.

This wasn’t on a GFCI outlet. It was on a switched outlet in the living room. And I didn’t hit the TEST button. I turned the switch off.

IMO, you created the same condition as when a GFCI trips. You opened the contacts and removed current to less than 30 VAC. In my scenario above, If I wait a few seconds, the 30 will drop to 000 VAC.

When the switch is thrown, the neutral shouldn’t break - it should be the OPEN HOT showing. The switch would have to be on the neutral…
On another switched outlet in a bedroom, when the switch was thrown, the OPEN HOT showed. That is what I usually see.
And the residual voltage “>30VAC” did not go away.

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Well, in that case, there are only two options… open it up and take a look see, or have the client pay a sparky to open it up and take a look see.

Is it an old switch? Some old lighted switches has a small lamp in parallel with the contacts, that would put the lamp in series with your tester.

What results did you get from your ‘wiggy’ ? Don’t have one; wouldn’t it be nice to properly diagnose the outlet?


Yes it would be nice to know what you diagnose the outlet as with your “wiggy”, like Bob said. :+1:

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No, not an old switch - home was built in 2004. I’m looking at probably switch is on the neutral side, and/or Hot/Neutral are mixed up. Either way, I’m recommending an electrician sort it out. There are a couple of other minor electrical issues, so it shouldn’t be a major expense. Also, this is a friend’s house, pre-listing…

And your “wiggy” is your pet name for your_________? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

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You haven’t learned to search?

Search what? I found that it was my tester. Search what?

Not a reply to you.

Have never heard the term “wiggy”… but yes, I tested the outlet and found that with the wall switch off, the hot side has low voltage, neutral side has no voltage. With the wall switch on, hot side has normal voltage. Regardless, I called for an electrician to further evaluate and repair.

So you did nothing more than your original post and have no answers to your original question. A problem with straying from the basics.

Ben tells everyone NOT to use Search!!


I’ve never heard that. Obviously a ploy to increase posts not to educate inspectors! Advice best to be ignored.


Now who’s not searching!??

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No, I went back and investigated further. I also called a licensed electrician and he confirmed my suspicions. Whatever I did, I was going to refer it to an electrician. My original post was to ask for opinions from others… but I didn’t really get that. I got “wiggy”!