In any electrical circuit, there are three main wires. Each of these wires can be presented more than once but they are generally three types.
These are the hot wire which carries the electron to the load, the neutral wire that carries the electron back from the load back to its source and the ground wire which is connected to the ground.
What Is a Hot Ground Reverse?
Hot grounds reverse simply means the hot wire and the ground wire have not been installed properly. The ground wire is installed in the place of hot wire and the hot has been installed on the place of the ground wire.
But this phenomenon is very rare and if happens can be very dangerous. There is a tester for the hot ground reverse which is called the three-light tester. The three-light tester checks if there is any voltage difference between each of the two outlets. So it can be used to detect hot ground reverse.
How to Fix Hot Ground Reverse?
The hot ground reverse is a potential shock hazard. So you have to make sure that it does not happen. But if a hot ground reverse happens, it is most of the time because of a broken neutral.
A broken neutral means the neutral is not connected to the source. So the current goes to the load by the hot wire then cannot return by the neutral. So instead of going through the neutral, it goes through the ground.
The ground is usually used on the metal and current-conducting parts of a machine. So, if a hot ground happens and the current starts flowing through the ground, the machine’s metal parts will become swarmed with the current and can cause a shock hazard.
So, finding and fixing the broken neutral will fix the hot ground reverse.
What if Hot and Ground Reversed but Wired Correctly?
If it is like that all the wires are correctly connected but still, a hot ground reverse is happening then chances are there is a fault in connecting the wire.
In all cases, the hot and neutral are connected directly to the load and the ground is connected to the metal part. That is because the current is not meant to travel through the ground wire.
But if the hot wire is not properly connected to a load, it is connected to the load through a metal outlet or if the hot wire is exposed to the metals of the load then the circuit gets completed through the ground wire.
Here the neutral also carries the current back but since the hot and ground both are connected to the metal, the ground carries the most of the current causing a hot ground reverse.
What Does It Mean When Hot and Neutral Are Reversed?
Just like hot ground reverse, hot and neutral reverse means, the cross of hot and neutral. In simple terms, it means, the hot is connected to the neutral’s screw and the neutral is connected to the hot’s screw.
If the hot and neutral are reversed, then the polarity of the electricity will also get reversed which is not harmful itself but it still can cause some problems and potential shock hazards.
For example, if one of your outlets has a hot neutral reverse, then the switch will also be reversed. Then the turning on of the switch will act as turning off and vice versa.
So, if you think you have turned off the switch in a reversed outlet, it means it is still on. Then if you touch the machine it can cause shock which can be dangerous.
What Happens if Ground Wire Is Not Connected?
Having no ground wire or no connected ground wire can often be dangerous. The ground wire carries the extra static current so that we don’t get shocked. It is also used as an emergency current passing line.
The ground wire is connected to the metal parts of any machine to disperse any electricity that passes through the metal parts of the machine. It has a lot less resistance than a normal wire.
So, the ground wire can easily carry any extra electricity which is not going through the neutral and ending up on the metals of the machine. Since a human body has a lot more resistance than ground wire, that is why we can touch the metal part of any machine without getting shocked.
So, not having a connected ground wire can increase the risk of getting shocked by any machine that uses a metal body like a washing machine or a toaster.
The ground wire also carries the current from the lightning strike if it hits any of the current sources of the house and passes it on the ground without causing a house fire.
Q: How do I know which is the ground?
Ans: The ground is usually the copper wire that usually does not have an insulator around it. But sometimes it can have a green insulator.
Q: Can I use the ground as a neutral?
Ans: No, you should not. The ground can be used as a neutral but you should not use it as a neutral. Using the ground as a neutral will cause hot ground reverse.
Having a ground connection is very necessary for any current outlet. It increases the safety of the house. But having a hot ground reverse can have a negative effect. It can cause a potential shock hazard and if your house has kids you have to be extra careful about it.