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Kaplan ITA's Monthly Inspection Tips - Free Electronic Newsletter

November, 2007
Electrical Safety
Issue #67

This month I would like to discuss a particular electrical safety item that happened to me. I was testing the receptacles in a room with a plug-in tester (the yellow one) and one outlet tested no power. My usual is to then look for a switch. I left my tester plugged-in and turned switches on and off in the room. Still no power at both receptacles in the outlet.

Instead of just writing this condition in the report and moving on I had to look further. Of course home inspectors are not required to provide exact detail as to the cause of the condition.....

Curious, I removed the cover plate. The wires were installed in the “stab” slots in the back of the receptacle so I removed the yoke screws to have a look. Thinking there was no power I grabbed the device. Much to my surprise I was gently jolted with 120 volts! I know, always check with a contact tester before touching.

I retrieved my probe type tester from the truck. Testing voltage black to white read about 25 volts. Testing black to ground read 120 volts. Apparently the neutral in the circuit was nearly completely lost (probably loose at a stab connection) causing my tester to show no power.

Moral of this story? Always, always test with a contact device before touching any connected electrical component. And, don’t try to figure out why a condition is occurring, just write it up and refer to the experts.

I won’t touch live electrical components again so we can talk next month.

If you have any suggestions for future Kaplan ITA inspection tips feel free to let me know!

We’ll talk next month.

Mike Casey
Kaplan Professional Schools


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