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Electric Outlets - Hot and Neutral Reversed



 
 
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  #1  
Old October 20th 05, 12:01 AM
[email protected]
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Default Electric Outlets - Hot and Neutral Reversed

Rental apartment situation ... no access to circuit breakers. Tested
using Snapit 3 light circuit tester. I found two outlets that had
"hot/neutral reversed" [HNR from here on out].

Now I obviously cannot and would not attempt any repair for perhaps 10
reasons (I have checked out a good 30 postings on the subject).

What I am asking is under what circumsances will I KILL myself. One of
the HNR outlets is next to a good outlet. So if I have a floor lamp
plugged into the good outlet and another lamp plugged into the HNR and
I touch both lamps (presumably in good electrical condition), am I
going to be zapped? The lamps clearly would not have a ground type
plug. Am I less likely to die if both appliances are grounded? One
grounded one not??? I have to assume that if there is any electrical
fault in the lamp (or appliance), then I am going to be in trouble.

I am NOT using the HNR that is next to a good outlet. The one HNR that
is pretty isolated is being used but I presume the only exposure here
is using the vac or any long corded appliance. I also will not use the
HNR with a computer or accessories.

While I will bring this up with the landlord, I do not want to cause
undue alarm.

Wes in NJ

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  #2  
Old October 20th 05, 12:14 AM
RBM
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Default Electric Outlets - Hot and Neutral Reversed

Typically lamps are not grounded. The "hot" wire should connect to the
tongue in the socket and the neutral connects to the threaded part of the
socket. The likelihood of you getting electrocuted by this is probably
extremely small.
wrote in message
oups.com...
Rental apartment situation ... no access to circuit breakers. Tested
using Snapit 3 light circuit tester. I found two outlets that had
"hot/neutral reversed" [HNR from here on out].

Now I obviously cannot and would not attempt any repair for perhaps 10
reasons (I have checked out a good 30 postings on the subject).

What I am asking is under what circumsances will I KILL myself. One of
the HNR outlets is next to a good outlet. So if I have a floor lamp
plugged into the good outlet and another lamp plugged into the HNR and
I touch both lamps (presumably in good electrical condition), am I
going to be zapped? The lamps clearly would not have a ground type
plug. Am I less likely to die if both appliances are grounded? One
grounded one not??? I have to assume that if there is any electrical
fault in the lamp (or appliance), then I am going to be in trouble.

I am NOT using the HNR that is next to a good outlet. The one HNR that
is pretty isolated is being used but I presume the only exposure here
is using the vac or any long corded appliance. I also will not use the
HNR with a computer or accessories.

While I will bring this up with the landlord, I do not want to cause
undue alarm.

Wes in NJ



  #3  
Old October 20th 05, 12:16 AM
Shaun Eli
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Posts: n/a
Default Electric Outlets - Hot and Neutral Reversed

Well, it depends upon whether the lamps have polarized plugs. If they
don't, you could actually have the same situation with two
correctly-wired outlets if one lamp is plugged in with the hot and
neutral reversed because the plug is upside-down.

I would guess that IF the lamp's base is grounded you could hurt
yourself in your scenario, but I can't see your lamps.

Shaun Eli
www.BrainChampagne.com
Brain Champagne: Clever Comedy for the Smart Mind (sm)

  #4  
Old October 20th 05, 12:17 AM
RBM
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Posts: n/a
Default Electric Outlets - Hot and Neutral Reversed

FYI: the body of the fixture should not under normal circumstances be
connected to either the hot or the neutral wire





"RBM" rbm2(remove wrote in message
...



Typically lamps are not grounded. The "hot" wire should connect to the
tongue in the socket and the neutral connects to the threaded part of the
socket. The likelihood of you getting electrocuted by this is probably
extremely small.
wrote in message
oups.com...
Rental apartment situation ... no access to circuit breakers. Tested
using Snapit 3 light circuit tester. I found two outlets that had
"hot/neutral reversed" [HNR from here on out].

Now I obviously cannot and would not attempt any repair for perhaps 10
reasons (I have checked out a good 30 postings on the subject).

What I am asking is under what circumsances will I KILL myself. One of
the HNR outlets is next to a good outlet. So if I have a floor lamp
plugged into the good outlet and another lamp plugged into the HNR and
I touch both lamps (presumably in good electrical condition), am I
going to be zapped? The lamps clearly would not have a ground type
plug. Am I less likely to die if both appliances are grounded? One
grounded one not??? I have to assume that if there is any electrical
fault in the lamp (or appliance), then I am going to be in trouble.

I am NOT using the HNR that is next to a good outlet. The one HNR that
is pretty isolated is being used but I presume the only exposure here
is using the vac or any long corded appliance. I also will not use the
HNR with a computer or accessories.

While I will bring this up with the landlord, I do not want to cause
undue alarm.

Wes in NJ





  #5  
Old October 20th 05, 12:54 AM
Edwin Pawlowski
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Posts: n/a
Default Electric Outlets - Hot and Neutral Reversed


wrote in message
....
Rental apartment situation ... no access to circuit breakers.


That is a rather dangerous situation. What if you MUST turn off the
breaker? What if you plug in something and trip the breaker? If you cannot
resolve that situation, consider moving.


  #6  
Old October 20th 05, 01:23 AM
Joseph Meehan
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Posts: n/a
Default Electric Outlets - Hot and Neutral Reversed

wrote:
Rental apartment situation ... no access to circuit breakers. Tested
using Snapit 3 light circuit tester. I found two outlets that had
"hot/neutral reversed" [HNR from here on out].

Now I obviously cannot and would not attempt any repair for perhaps 10
reasons (I have checked out a good 30 postings on the subject).

What I am asking is under what circumsances will I KILL myself. One
of the HNR outlets is next to a good outlet. So if I have a floor
lamp plugged into the good outlet and another lamp plugged into the
HNR and I touch both lamps (presumably in good electrical condition),
am I going to be zapped? The lamps clearly would not have a ground
type plug. Am I less likely to die if both appliances are grounded?
One grounded one not??? I have to assume that if there is any
electrical fault in the lamp (or appliance), then I am going to be in
trouble.

I am NOT using the HNR that is next to a good outlet. The one HNR
that is pretty isolated is being used but I presume the only exposure
here is using the vac or any long corded appliance. I also will not
use the HNR with a computer or accessories.

While I will bring this up with the landlord, I do not want to cause
undue alarm.

Wes in NJ


It is safe to use any device or lamp that does not have a polarized plug
(one with one prong larger than the other so it will only fit in the outlet
one way). Most devices with polarized plugs are also safe, but it may not
be easy to be sure. I would avoid using any polarized plug device in those
outlets. I would also suggest contacting the owner and having it fixed.

--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit


  #7  
Old October 20th 05, 01:24 AM
buffalobill
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Posts: n/a
Default Electric Outlets - Hot and Neutral Reversed

do not connect the hot to one hand, and the neutral or ground to the
other hand, to electrocute your heart muscle. all beginner
electricians keep one hand in their pocket at all times.
instead of living with a shock hazard,
1. go to walmart electrical department and buy 2 portable GFI's. around
$10 each. plug one into an outlet and it will trip before allowing you
to get killed.
2. use one to test all your appliances and outlets for a shock hazard.
handle your questionable lamps to test them this way in both on and off
modes.
3. the landlord won't be too excited if an electrician replaced your
troublesome outlets at your expense.
4, the lamp shock hazard is reduced by the manufacturer when the hot
appears at the center socket terminal to the lightbulb. this is
accomplished when using a polarized plug in a properly wired outlet. a
digital multimeter will allow you to identify the plug's short hot
prong versus the neutral taller prong and correct any miswired lamps.

  #8  
Old October 20th 05, 01:32 AM
Pop
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Posts: n/a
Default Electric Outlets - Hot and Neutral Reversed


"Edwin Pawlowski" wrote in message
. ..
:
: wrote in message
: ...
: Rental apartment situation ... no access to circuit breakers.
:
: That is a rather dangerous situation. What if you MUST turn
off the
: breaker? What if you plug in something and trip the breaker?
If you cannot
: resolve that situation, consider moving.
:
:
Yeah, that struck me, too. Completely unacceptable. I'm
wondering if the OP simply doesn't know where the breakers are
and/or is afraid to bother asking.



  #9  
Old October 20th 05, 03:18 AM
Mike Dobony
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Posts: n/a
Default Electric Outlets - Hot and Neutral Reversed


"RBM" rbm2(remove wrote in message
...
FYI: the body of the fixture should not under normal circumstances be
connected to either the hot or the neutral wire



Key woird here is "normal." What is that? Much of today's stuff is trash.
Do NOT assume that this is the case. Also old equipment can have the
insulation worn out and contacting the body, wires could be frayed and
contact the body, bug bodies between wire and body, etc. Unless checked
out, play it safe and do not use the reversed outlet for anything in
questionable or untested condition. It should not damage any equipment, but
personal safety is in question.




"RBM" rbm2(remove wrote in message
...



Typically lamps are not grounded. The "hot" wire should connect to the
tongue in the socket and the neutral connects to the threaded part of

the
socket. The likelihood of you getting electrocuted by this is probably
extremely small.
wrote in message
oups.com...
Rental apartment situation ... no access to circuit breakers. Tested
using Snapit 3 light circuit tester. I found two outlets that had
"hot/neutral reversed" [HNR from here on out].

Now I obviously cannot and would not attempt any repair for perhaps 10
reasons (I have checked out a good 30 postings on the subject).

What I am asking is under what circumsances will I KILL myself. One of
the HNR outlets is next to a good outlet. So if I have a floor lamp
plugged into the good outlet and another lamp plugged into the HNR and
I touch both lamps (presumably in good electrical condition), am I
going to be zapped? The lamps clearly would not have a ground type
plug. Am I less likely to die if both appliances are grounded? One
grounded one not??? I have to assume that if there is any electrical
fault in the lamp (or appliance), then I am going to be in trouble.

I am NOT using the HNR that is next to a good outlet. The one HNR that
is pretty isolated is being used but I presume the only exposure here
is using the vac or any long corded appliance. I also will not use the
HNR with a computer or accessories.

While I will bring this up with the landlord, I do not want to cause
undue alarm.

Wes in NJ







  #10  
Old October 20th 05, 03:41 AM
[email protected]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default Electric Outlets - Hot and Neutral Reversed

Sorry I couldn't get back on line as the thread has gone too far. I
thank all for their input. I know the situation has to be dealt with,
but as I originally said, I just wanted to have some backup that it
should be dealt with sooner rather than later.

I should have mentioned that this is a multifamily dwelling with the
live in landlord having access to the circuit breaker, and actually
that is a side issue to my main concern (the HNR outlets). We just
moved in and I have to go with the presumption that the prior tennant
had absolutely no problem with the HNR outlets. I am sure there will
be no problem with the landlord calling in his electrician.

Thanks,
Wes

 




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