Why Does My Neutral Wire Have Voltage?
We want the right voltage in the home, and it is important. Often times when we have new electrical wiring done in our home or just old electrical wiring in our house, we trust that the electrician runs every wire correctly. In some cases, your neutral or ground wire might actually come out with voltage to it. In many cases, homeowners find out these scenarios as they plug in various appliances to their outlets, especially in the Kitchen and Bathroom! If the GFCI outlet goes out and trips, this is a clear indication that wires could have been improperly wired. Why does my neutral wire have voltage? If neutral wires are not connected to the ground then an electrical charge can pass through it.
What Should I Look For
You are likely concerned about improper wiring at this point. On some occasions, an electrician might run your wires incorrectly. For whatever reason that might be, you should focus on whether or not the neutral ground wire is properly connected to earth ground.
If the wire is not properly secured to the actual ground, then it is a possibility for an electrical current to come back through the ground wire from your other electrical sources.
How Do I Know?
Believe it or not, improper wiring can happen often. In some cases, your electrician can mix neutral and hot wires. Possibly, neutral or ground are also switched. If you are working on the electrical and experience a sudden shock, then you might want to know the following:
- Measuring hot – remember to test neutral/ground to hot/ground, otherwise you would not know. If your neutral/ground shows up as 120 volts and your hot/ground shows up volts less then, it is highly likely that the wires have been reversed.
- Under load conditions – typically a 2 volt or less is typical. If neutral/ground voltage is 0 volts, check for a neutral/ground connection in the receptacle.
- If you want to check neutral and ground loads then check to see which is greater. The greater the load, the more likely a possibly switch has occurred. When your hot/neutral voltage is measured against the load on the circuit and the hot/ground has a greater load, then the neutral and ground are switched. This can cause a safety hazard and the wires should be corrected immediately.
Other Recommended Electrical Checks/Maintenance
While you are exploring the reason why your ground wire has an electrical current, this might also be a good time to look into what a double tapped breaker is. Understanding what double-tapped breakers are can make your home safer from an unexpected fire. So, knowing what double-tapped breakers are is definitely a piece of information you should know.
Another area to think about is making sure the metal box is grounded. This can be done by using a tester. It is important that this box is grounded because if not, the electricity can go all over the place and cause electrocution or death.
Lastly, if you have a home that was built between the late 1930s and 1950s, there is a chance you might have cloth wiring. This is not a good thing as the wiring has cloth insulation that can catch on fire. Instead, it should have plastic insulation.
Completing a full home inspection to determine all of your electrical system needs should be a priority. Your local home inspection team can determine if wires and electric receptacles, as well as light fixtures, need a change. Ensuring that all electrical systems are up to date is a top priority for your home inspector. Reach out to Mountains 2 Sea Home Inspections for a complete home inspection anywhere in San Diego County.
SDG&E also provides electrical safety tips for your home. You can read our reviews on Google and Yelp.
To book your inspection call 1 (619) 890-8124 OR use our GET HOME INSPECTION FORM.