Reverse Polarity is when a receptacle is wired backward. This happens as soon as the “hot” wire, additionally known as the black color or red wire, is wired on the neutral side and also the neutral cable is wired ~ above the “hot” side. Looking at the featured picture above, the outlet tester shows exactly this.

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While the circuit is still completed, this can develop a dangerous situation.

How an Outlet or irradiate Fixture Works

Before understanding exactly how a reversed polarity receptacle is dangerous, we need to understand exactly how a common outlet works.

When an outlet is wired, the right side is commonly the warm side in i m sorry the black wire get the outlet. This is constantly going to it is in the next of the outlet through the smaller notch.

Then, on opposing side, the neutral wire awaits because that the circuit to be completed v the plug or irradiate bulb. This will always be the bigger notch ~ above the outlet.

Now, if speak a lamp were to it is in plugged into the outlet, the warm wire goes come the lamp and also the lamp move either transforms the light on or off. Therefore, there is no power going come the lamp socket if the switch is off. As soon as the move is activated, the light socket can complete the circuit through sending power to the neutral wire.

Take a look in ~ the diagram below:


Why Is turning back Polarity Dangerous?

When one outlet is wired in reverse, the warm wire is currently on the supposed neutral side. So, if you were to plugin the same lamp as noted above, the desk lamp socket would have power also if the switch was off due to the fact that the move is just on the hot side. Every it takes is for someone to complete the circuit by touching the metal and sending the electricity to the “ground”.

Take a look at the diagram below:


Reverse Polarity not just affects lamps, yet it could influence your toaster too. Say because that example, your toaster to be plugged right into an outlet the was wired in reverse. If you to be to stick your knife in that toaster to retrieve her toast, you could get shocked if your knife was to touch the metal.

This is why reverse polarity can be so dangerous.

How To recognize If other Is reverse Polarity?

The great thing is your home inspector will frequently let you recognize if one outlet has been wired in reverse. The most common cause of one outlet gift wired in reverse is simply unprofessional workmanship.

You can additionally test for reverse polarity by purchasing an outlet tester native your neighborhood store or Amazon.

Here’s an image of one outlet tester and also how the tester signals different wirings. In this case, the outlet is wired properly.


How To solve An Outlet v Reversed Polarity?

Luckily, solving an outlet v reverse polarity is fairly easy. Monitor these actions to deal with your outlet:

Turn off the power to the outlet/room.Remove the outlet cover and also outlet indigenous the wall.Remove the black/red and white wires from the outlet.Switch the black/red and also white wires come the exactly side.Ensure the wires are properly secured and also making great contact.Put the outlet ago in the wall with the sheathe on.Turn earlier on the power.Test the outlet through your outlet tester to ensure the is to work properly.

Here is photo with the correct wiring.


Switching The Wires on Push-In Connector

Most wiring for outlets are linked via screws on the sides of the outlet. However, you might have a “push-in” kind where the wires are pushed right into the ago of the outlet.

To eliminate the wires indigenous the push-in type, friend will need a tiny object favor a little flat head screwdriver. Push the small flat head screwdriver in the notch straight next come the wire while at the very same time pulling out the outlet.

Here is a video.


As residence inspectors, we find reverse polarity outlets rather frequently.

Reverse polarity is when the hot and also neutral wires are wired in reverse. This can create situations where world get electrocuted by utilizing appliances prefer a toaster or a lamp.

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Reverse polarity can conveniently be addressed by switching the wires to their equivalent sides.