Troubleshooting For Home Electrical Problems – Part One
Albuquerque homeowners can benefit from learning how to troubleshoot electricity problems. This is part one of a two-part article on the subject
How to Test for Electricity at An Outlet or Switch
Checking to see whether an electrical outlet or switch is connected to “live” electricity is easy to do.
Using a Non-Contact Voltage Tester
The quickest, safest, and easiest tool to use for checking to see whether an outlet or switch is receiving voltage is a non-contact electrical tester. With this tool, you just press the non-conducting tip into a receptacle or hold it next to a switch to check for power.
Using a Neon Tester
To see if a receptacle is dead, insert the probes of a circuit tester or a neon tester (shown) into the slots. Do not touch the metal ends of the probes with your fingers when the probes are plugged in. The circuit is hot (charged) if the neon tester lights up.
To see if a light switch is receiving power, first remove the switch’s cover plate. Touch a non-contact electrical connector against both screw terminals. If one of them causes the tester to signal, the wire is charged. Do not touch the screw terminals or bare parts of the wires!
If you’re using a neon tester, unscrew the switch from its box, being careful not to touch the bare wire ends or metal terminal screws. Holding the insulated parts of the neon tester probes, touch one probe to a hot wire or the terminal it is connected to. Then touch the other probe to a bare neutral wire or terminal, to a grounding conductor, or to a grounded metal box. If the circuit is live, the tester will light up.