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  • Writer's pictureCommercial Property


Reverse polarity is the “hot” wire is connected to the spot on the receptacle where the “neutral” wire should be and the “neutral” wire is connected to the spot where the “hot” wire should be. Essentially, the two wires are reversed. If you look at a receptacle, you’ll see there are two vertical slots that an appliance plugs into. The neutral, white wire is connected to the terminal of the longer slot and the “hot” wire is connected to the shorter slot. The “hot” wire is usually either black or red.

An outlet with reverse polarity can cause some items to be electrically charged at all times. In a correctly wired outlet, electricity will flow to the switch; with reversed polarity, it will be present in the item itself even when it is not turned on.

In either case, the item will not function until the switch is flipped to close the circuit. But with reversed polarity, the item can be energized even if you think it is off since electricity will flow through the circuit until it reaches the closed switch, rather than being cut off at the switch itself.

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