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How to tell if a outlet is powered?

Customer Question
How to tell if a outlet is powered?
Submitted: 1 year ago.Category: Electrical
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Answered in 6 minutes by:
9/1/2016
Electrician: ProGrade, Certified Electrical Contractor replied 1 year ago
ProGrade
ProGrade, Certified Electrical Contractor
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 565
Experience: 28+ years exp. - installation, troubleshooting, & repair of commercial, & residential electrical systems.
Verified

Hi Steve, welcome to justanswer.com

The safe method is with an electrical test meter. Without a meter, it is possible to have power on the hot line and a bad neutral so if you plug a load into it the load would not work. However under these circumstances the outlet would still be electrically hot and dangerous.

Even a neon 3-prong outlet tester is better than not testing at all. A test meter is the preferred method.

Let me know if you have any other questions, thank you

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
I don't have a tester. Can a put a screw driver on the hot wire?
Electrician: ProGrade, Certified Electrical Contractor replied 1 year ago

I do not recommend that unless you know the circuit is off. What are you trying to do?

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
I'm trying to replace a bad GFI outlet. The red light is on and does not work. The tester switch is broken and stuck. The external outlet is is on the same 2 X 4 beam that the adjoining bedroom receptacle is on. I have the breaker off that controls the bedroom circuit breaker and it does not work now
Electrician: ProGrade, Certified Electrical Contractor replied 1 year ago

OK, if the red light on the GFI went off when you turned the breaker off, the circuit is dead and safe to work on.

Be certain not to get wires mixed up.

Let me know if you have any other questions

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
I thought the red light came on because there was a problem with the receptacle. When the outlet is working properly, is the light on or off? Are you saying that if the outlet is unpowered, the light will go out?
Electrician: ProGrade, Certified Electrical Contractor replied 1 year ago

That is correct, if the red light is on when power is applied it should go off if you turn the breaker off.

It's difficult to tell how the light works...with some manufacturers the light remains on, with others the light only comes on if there is an issue or if the outlet is tripped

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Electrician: ProGrade, Certified Electrical Contractor replied 1 year ago

If there is any doubt about having the correct breaker off turn the main breaker off to ensure safety

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Customer reply replied 1 year ago
ok
Electrician: ProGrade, Certified Electrical Contractor replied 1 year ago

It is very important that you get the wiring right the first time. Since you do not have a meter, there isn't a way to troubleshoot it if it is not correct. Remove one wire at a time and place it in the proper terminal on the new device will help

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Electrician: ProGrade, Certified Electrical Contractor replied 1 year ago

Just checking in Steve, how did it go?

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Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 565
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