Re: Why do receptacles have a different hot and neutral side?
The way an electrician essplain'd to me once, (he was actually explaining the reasoning behind "polarized" plugs ) is say you have a light socket. Normally, the hot comes to the dot in the bottom of the socket, the threaded well is the neutral. With it in this configuration, should you touch the threaded well you won't get shocked. If you switch the configuration, the well becomes energized and the real possibility of shock or electrocution exists when changing the bulb or handling the fixture.
It stands to reason that outlets and other appliances behave similarly, so the need for a properly wired outlet is necessary. And outlets have been color coded with brass screws on the hot side and silver screws on the neutral side for as long as I can remember. The easiest way to remember which side is which is that the neutral and ground screws will always be on the same side of the outlet.
I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!