What is Reverse Polarity and Why it is dangerous?

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Have you ever had the experience of walking into an outlet and getting a shock? 

It’s not what most people want to happen when they need to turn on a light or charge their phone. This is what reverse polarity does; it causes electrical problems that can lead to injuries, fires, and other disasters. Reverse polarity is easy to fix but sometimes hard to detect with the naked eye. In this article, we will discuss what reverse polarity is, why it happens, what dangers come from it, and how you can avoid it in your own home or business.

Starting with the most important question.

What is Reverse Polarity?

 Reverse polarity is a condition where the wires of an outlet are connected in reverse. This means that the hot wire and the neutral wire are not connected as they should be.

A healthy wiring outlet normally includes two sides, or wires, the right side known as the hot wire. The second side is known as the neutral wire. However, in the case of reverse outlet wiring installation, it will lead to reverse polarity.

Because of that, it’s important to check if your wires are correctly connected or you might face misfortune consequences.  

Signs of Reverse Polarity

The good thing about outlet polarity is that it’s noticeable and easy to observe. You will find and see serious signs that in most cases indicate that you have reverse polarity.

In most cases, a tripping fuse box or circuit breakers are a strong sign of incorrect wiring installation that causes a reverse polarity.

If your appliance malfunctions, this also may indicate outlet polarities in your home. Check your refrigerator, dishwashers, microwave for and particular signs.

Sparkling, dimming, and freckling lights also might be a great sign of electrical outlet polarity. One last sign is losing electrical power, if you experience frequent power losing it’s best to call for a qualified electrician for your home inspection. 

Is Reverse Polarity dangerous?

Reverse polarity is a serious danger because it poses the risk of death or injury to anyone who interacts with an outlet that has this issue. This could include you if you attempt to fix your outlets without knowing what you are doing. It can also cause fire if the reverse polarity goes undetected and damages wires or components that lead to sparks, which in turn causes a fire.

And the worst is still yet to come, if you keep your outlet reversed you are increasing the potentials of electrical shocks.

Because of the fact, the plight of appliances and devices in a reversed outlet polarity is the number one cause for electrical shocks. Because of that, its recommended to unplug your devices from the outlet receptacle once you are done using them.

Down below here are some of the potential dangers of a reverse outlet polarity

  • Increase potential electrical shocks
  • Causes fire accidents
  • Damages your house or office electrical equipment
  • Frequent tripping fuses and circuit breakers


Preventing this issue is quite easy, just make sure to reverse the hot and the neutral wire to correct the outlet.


What if you are not aware of the problem in the first place? 

Luckily for you, there is a way to keep you and your house appliances from the danger of reverse outlet polarity. The way is to buy appliances with built-in diodes.

Appliances that have built-in diodes work as a safety switch against reverse outlets. In case your wires are reversed this device will not function or automatically turn off.

Another way to keep your house protected from the dangers of wire polarities is to install surge detectors devices. They have the same working mechanism as built-in diodes appliances. 

Detecting the problem

It’s easy to detect outlet problems, and there are many ways to do so, but the most common way is using an outlet tester. 

A reverse polarity tester will help you detect the problem and find out which wires are correct. Before you start testing your outlet, read carefully on the tester box what the colours of the charts mean and how it works. After that just plug in the outlet voltage tester into whatever outlet you aim to check and the test will show you if your outlet is correct or not.

What’s next?

What if you don’t know how to fix reverse polarity outlet, what steps or actions to take then? 

Well, it’s not that hard to fix an incorrect outlet, and therefore before starting anything, turn your house power off. 


This helps you to keep your head in the game and work with more confidence, your next step is to remove the outlet cover. Then remove the outlet from the wall, identify the incorrect outlets then switch back the wires to where they are supposed to be.

Make sure you replace them correctly, close the cover, and turn on the power.

Your final step is to take the outlet voltage tester and test your outlet if they are correct or reverse.


Please note that it’s recommended to avoid fixing your reverse polarity by yourself because sometimes finding the incorrect wiring could be hard for unqualified people. 

Once you have a positive test for reverse outlet polarity call for a registered NICEIC approved contractor electrician and ask for his services


Reverse outlet polarity is a serious danger that increases the potentials of electrical risks, shocks, and house fires.

It’s easy to detect simply by using an outlet tester plug-in, which is good news. 

While it looks easy to fix an outlet reverse polarity, but it is recommended to hire a qualified or a registered electrician and that to avoid future complication.

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Pro Checks Authors

Pro Checks Authors

Pro Checks is a London-based team specializing in landlord safety certificates, including electrical, gas, and fire safety. Committed to delivering high-quality, reliable services at competitive prices, our experienced professionals provide prompt service and attention to detail to meet the needs of landlords and property managers. Choose Pro Checks for all your safety certificate needs and have peace of mind knowing your property is in safe hands.

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