"Understanding Your Home" by Building Inspector Mark Visser
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Plug-in circuit testers
The yellow circuit tester is for regular receptacles while the red one also can be used for testing GFCI receptacles.

Stop!!
If you are not 100% sure of what you are doing, then DON'T DO IT, call an electrician.
Before making any repairs to the electrical system make sure that the power is turned off. Working on the electrical system can be dangerous.



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Receptacle Deficiencies ...
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Receptacles. Reversed polarity. Octopus receptacles. Repair or replace receptacles.

Receptacles are also known as plug outlets, wall plugs or convenience outlets. It is strongly recommended that every homeowner should purchase an inexpensive GFCI 3-wire circuit tester and then check all receptacles in the house.
Loose outlet box. All boxes should be properly secured. This may not always be easy to do since outlet boxes are installed before the wall finish is applied. Do not try to install a screw on an angle through the hole in the side of the outlet box which could cause a short circuit. call an electrician.
Recessed outlet box. The outlet box should be less than 1/4" (6 mm) from the finished wall surface (for plaster or drywall) or flush (for solid wood or panelling). Make sure to move the the outlet box when a new wall finish is applied over the old one. Using a longer screw for the face plate won't do it. Overheated wires in a recessed box are a fire hazard.
Loose receptacles should be properly secured to the outlet box. Using a loose receptacle could lead to loose wire connections. It is a potential fire hazard.
Loose wire connections. When the circuit tester lights up like a Christmas tree with lights going on and off when the tester is wiggled a bit chances are that there is a loose wire connection or a defective receptacle. The unit should be checked and/or replaced immediately.
Not working. Replace receptacle or call electrician.
Reversed polarity. The black wire has to be connected to the brass coloured screw and the white wire to the silver coloured screw. If the two wires are reversed, the receptacle has reversed polarity which could be dangerous.
'Octopus' receptacles. Plugging several appliances and lamp cords into one receptacle by using 3-way plugs leads to overheating and is a fire hazard. Multiple uses for one outlet is fairly common in older homes. The only safe solution is to add more receptacles and/or circuits.
Receptacles with 'temporary' plugged in extension cords. Automatic garage door openers and freezers are often permanently wired by using an
extension cord. Most extension cords are only 16 gauge and are not heavy enough for permanent wiring. Install new receptacles where needed.
Dangerous location. Receptacles in bathrooms must be located at least 39" (975 mm) away from the bathtub or shower. The receptacle should be ground fault protected (GFCI) and adjacent to the washbasin but not directly above it.
Broken or missing cover plates should be replaced at once. Exposed wires a
re dangerous.


WARNING. before making any repairs to the electrical system make sure that the power is turned off. Working on the electrical system can be dangerous. if you are not 100% sure of what you are doing, then DON'T DO IT, call an electrician.

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