Electrical Wiring in the Home/reverse wiring


I just found out I have some receptacles that are wired incorrectly . the neutral is on the brass screw of the outlet and the hot wires are on the silver screws which are the neutral. I just rewired all of them so they are all correct according to the receptacle tester. the receptacles all have 3 prongs. I don't have a ground wire coming out of the junction box. however the wires are in closed in a metal cable called bmx cable i believe. so i believe they are grounded ok otherwise i believe the tester would indicate that. my question is what can happen if the wires are reversed like mine were? thanks and have a nice day.


Most 2 prong plugs today for table lamps, radios and the like are "polarized" meaning one prong is sized to go into the side of the receptacle thats "hot" and the other prong is sized to go into the side thats the neutral. Both openings are of a different size. This way you can only plug it in one way, the right way. But of course this can be defeated if the receptacle is wired incorrectly as yours were. All electronic items today like TVs and such have polarized plugs because they want the "hot" and the "neutral" wires to be in the right place inside their particular device. Not reversed. Would anything bad happen to the device if it were reversed ? Not necessarily.

However if you reversed the wiring to a table lamp it would energize the largest part of the socket(s) which is the threaded shell the lamp actually screws into. This part of the socket is easy to get a finger on and receive a shock. Normally the "hot" wire (black) is attached to the small tab on the bottom of the socket which isn't nearly as easy to get your finger on.
This is the best reason why the correct polarity should be observed in all residential recpetacles or any 120 volt receptacle for that matter.

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Electrical Wiring in the Home

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Licensed Master Electrician (32 years) 6165B Contractor in Closter New Jersey with 40 years total experience in Residential - Commercial - Industrial work. Emergency Service - General trouble shooting and repair work - ONAN & GENERAC generator installation - Paddle fans - Kitchen & Bath exhaust fans - AC lines - Smoke detectors - Telephone lines - Cable TV lines - Computer network cabling - Exterior lighting - Recessed lighting - Security lighting - (200 - 150 - 100 amp service up grades) - Electric Heat - New circuits - New appliance hook ups - and more ! FREE ESTIMATES 201-358-1552 Fully Insured


Licensed contractor in Closter New Jersey.

"The Frank Williams School of Electrical Construction". My dear old boss is 100 ! and still going God Bless him. I started working for "Tenafly Electric" right out of high school at 19. He was tough but I learned more working for him in 8 and half years than most guys. We did mostly industrial work while doing some commercial and residential so I was fortunate to be exposed to all 3 areas of electrical construction. The guys I worked with were all good guys and I stay in touch with some of them still. Most of us went into our own buisness's which says something about the caliber of the guys I worked with. We had some interesting clients : Wella Corp. of shampoo fame, Farah Fawcett etc, I didn't buy shampoo for 10 years. It was a great place to work. Pan Am the former airline just before they went under, another great place to work, nice clean environment. C&C Metals, the largest button manufacturer in the US at that time, a not so clean environment but a very interesting place to work, lots of machine's cranking out buttons of all kinds but you had to be on your toes, it was a potentially dangerous place to be . All kinds of action going on around you.

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