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Steve G.
Steve G., Electrical Engineer
Category: Electrical
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Experience:  Spent 20 years as an Electrical Engineer, designing electrical plans and specifications.
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We have 2 GFCI on a wall in the kitchen. During a home inspection

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We have 2 GFCI on a wall in the kitchen. During a home inspection (we are selling the house) one was identified as having reversed polarity. A handy man came by and said that was probably done on purpose, can someone confirm that this could be true?

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Did the handy man correct the issue?

Please let me know so that we can continue.



Customer: replied 3 years ago.
We plugged my toaster in and it worked fine, so he said not to touch it, that it was probably set up that way on purpose.

Sure, reverse polarity is not the end of the world but I can't imagine why it would be done on purpose - most likley the person that wired it simply wasn't paying attention or just didn't understand that the hot wire goes 'here' and the neutral wire goes 'here', so he had them backwards.

You have probably noticed that some appliances have a plug that only goes into the outlet one way because one pin is larger than the other. These are appliances that really would like a correctly polarized outlet - that is why they have one pin larger than the other. It is good practice to have your outlets polarized correctly.

Your appliances will still work, nothing will explode but at some point, it would be good to switch the wires back to where they should be. I'm not sure why your handy man would not have done this unless he is nervous around electricity.

I hope that answers your question. I'll be here if you need further help with this issue. Please let me know.



Customer: replied 3 years ago.

so just to clarify, even if we have multiple GFCI on the same wall and the same circuit, they should not have reversed polarity - correct?


Also if I wanted to fix this myself I would need to do the following:

1) turn off breaker

2) test outlet to ensure power supply is off

3) pull out receptacle

4) place white wires to silver and back wires to gold

5) replace receptacle and turn power on , check polarity again


Am I missing anything with the above steps?

Reverse polarity can be limited to a single receptacle or a complete circuit. If you think about it, if you wire one receptacle reversed and then feed other receptacles, those too may be reversed.

So, pull the offending outlet off the wall. Black wires to gold, white wires to silver.

If you pull the GFI off and it is wired correctly but giving you a reversed polarity reading, then you should then look at the other receptacles in that circuit.

Let's cross that bridge if we come to it.

Your steps are correct and you are not missing anything.

I'll be here if you need further help with this issue. Please let me know.



Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you very much for your help! I will let you know if I find they are wired correctly but giving an incorrect reading.

Ok, I'll be here. If not, I will be emailed.

Now, If I may...the only way I am compensated by this site is if you rate my service using the smiley faces or stars that appear right here on this page. It is works like an eBay or Amazon rating so please consider clicking on one of the better choices :)

It does not close our discussion. We can continue if needed.

I thank you in advance.



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