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electrifier
electrifier, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1629
Experience:  Electrical contractor and electrical inspector for over 24 years with phone and networking expertise
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Rich, while troubleshooting why my ceiling light would not

Customer Question

Rich, while troubleshooting why my ceiling light would not work I came across a hot neutral tied into the other neutrals in my attic...I traced this to a working receptacle(I had a light plugged into it and it was on)....I replaced the receptacle with a new one and I no longer was reading 120 on the neutral in the attic and my ceiling light was now working....It this possible ? or am I nuts?....was also wondering why my breaker did not trip

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  electrifier replied 1 year ago.

electrifier :

If you have a device turned on and plugged into a receptacle and disconnect the neutral it will show HOT. This is because the 120 volts can not return through the neutral with it disconnected and the "potential" is there at the point of disconnection. Is this what you were questioning?

Customer :

So I guess there was nothing wrong with the outlet then?...I wonder why It fixed the problem when I replaced it

electrifier :

did you replace it and connect the neutral to the other neutrals?

electrifier :

If the neutral for the ceiling light was not connected it would not work.

Customer :

yes...so my thought was that the receptacle was shorted to neutral...but that would have caused my breaker to trip...everything was connected when I started...then I got a shock while messing with the neutral wires wired together ...I then separated the white wires and found that one hot(which you explained why)....not knowing why at the time I replaced the outlet and everything worked ...so now I just don't know why....maybe I just had a loose connection somewhere

Customer :

thanks for help

electrifier :

A loose neutral would explain the shock you got if you touched the hot neutral, light plugged in and turned on so 120 volts potential on the neutral.

electrifier :

If you have more questions please feel free to ask me here. I want to help you understand what was going on.

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