How to Test Electrical Outlets
Why Check an Electrical Outlet?
There are many reasons why you’d want to test your home’s electrical outlets. Some possible reasons to check your outlet are:
- Perhaps you’re doing some renovations and you want to make sure the power is off
- Maybe you’re doing some deep cleaning and don’t want water to enter the outlet
- Maybe you’re trying to replace a dead outlet or light switch yourself
- You may just want to do a routine safety check
Whatever the reason, having the right tools and proper knowledge will ensure you get accurate information and are safe. We’ve broken down the basics of outlet testing so you can have more knowledge on how to keep your home safe.
Know What You’re Looking For
The first step in the process is to make sure you know what you’re looking to accomplish with your outlet testing. This will determine how to proceed and what tool will get the job done. For example:
- Testing for a live electrical current will require a voltage tester.
- Testing for issues with wiring will require a receptacle tester.
What to Do Next
Once you’ve set your goals, you’ll want to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure you perform the operation correctly. Some are easier than others. You will want to gather information on what to to test your outlets. For Example:
- A receptacle tester only requires that you plug it in.
- When using a voltage tester, make sure the hot prong goes to the hot side of the outlet, and the neutral prong goes to the neutral side.
- If you’re unsure that the outlet is set up correctly, start with the receptacle outlet tester.
Once you’ve diagnosed an issue with your outlet, make sure to turn off the circuit breaker it’s attached to, and call an electrician to ensure it’s safe to use and make any necessary repairs.
Remember, working with electricity carries great risk, so you should always contact a professional if you are unsure of what to do.