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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Posts
    1

    Default Neutral or HOT!?

    I just started replacing outlets on an old home i've been renovating. Most of the plastic covering on the wires is brittle and falling off. Can anyone tell me how to test which wire is hot and which is neutral? And, is it ok to simply wrap the exposed wire with electrical tape?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: Neutral or HOT!?

    No, it is not OK to just wrap with electrical tape.

    To test for Hot or Neutral use a test light between the wire in question and the ground wire. When the hot wire is on the test light with the ground wire it will light up. When the Neutral is on the test light with the ground wire it will not light up.

    This is assuming that there is power to the circuit obviously.

    Usually the hot wire is installed on the brass screw/narrow prong side of a receptacle, but I wouldn't count on the person before you having done that.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Test_light

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,622

    Default Re: Neutral or HOT!?

    You can use colored heat shrink tubing. If you don't have a grounds wires you can run a wire to a grounded item like a water pipe and attach that to one of wires the test light leads.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,617

    Default Re: Neutral or HOT!?

    Quote Originally Posted by JLMCDANIEL View Post
    You can use colored heat shrink tubing. If you don't have a grounds wires you can run a wire to a grounded item like a water pipe and attach that to one of wires the test light leads.
    Jack
    To elaborate just a tad, black for hot, white for neutral, bare or green for ground.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The deep South
    Posts
    459

    Default Re: Neutral or HOT!?

    If the insulation is brittle and falling off , you have a fire waiting to happen . Have the wiring inspected by a TRUSTED profesional .

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