1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

October 4, 2008

:278 Electric Circuit Tester

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet environment.

1:5:10:278 EcoTip: In :074 I talked about using an electric circuit tester as a good way to check your electric outlets to be sure they are grounded and that the wires aren’t reversed. This tester can be used on old two prong outlets to see how difficult they will be to upgrade to three prong grounded

The testers cost about five dollars and are worth every penny. I know one woman that had three brand new photocopiers fail in less than a month. The problem turned out to be the hot and neutral wires were reversed.

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 Additional Information:

Suggested Review:

Electric circuit testers are available at any hardware store. They are simple to use – plug them into any three prong outlet, then read-out if the circuit is good or has a listed problem. If there is an issue don’t use that outlet until things get checked by an electrician. You can’t simply switch wires around that can be dangerous and make matters worse by throwing off other outlets further away in the circuit. One electrical mistake in wiring often times results in a cascade effect with other problems developing elsewhere along the electrical path.

For testing two prong outlets to see if they will be easy to upgrade to two prong use a two prong adapter.

  • Plug in the adapter.
  • Make sure the ground wire or connector from the adapter is firmly screwed to the outlet using the screw that holds the electric cover plate in place – this is what will complete the ground – if it is present.
  • Now plug the tester into the adapter. If it shows correct wiring then that outlet can easily be upgraded to a three prong outlet since the electrical box already has a ground coming to it.
  • If the circuit tester says the outlet is ungrounded then it will be more difficult to upgrade. Never use an ungrounded outlet for a three prong appliance. Only use two prong ungrounded outlets for two prong appliances.

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