GFCI Hot And Neutral Reversed But Wired Correctly (Is It Ok?)

When you face this situation, and it may not be as common as you would like, you do have a lot of troubleshooting work to find the source. You can do all the testing and switching of wires that you want but the real source may not be a wire or how the circuit is wired.

No, this is not a good situation to be in. For one thing, you won’t get any power unless you bypass the GFCI outlet that is tripping. When you see this situation take place, you will have to do a lot of checking to find the source of the problem

To learn more about this situation just continue to read our article. It has the information you need to know about for you to be able to fix the problem and enjoy your RV again. The search may take some time and usually, you can do it yourself.

Hot And Neutral Reversed But Wired Correctly


By wired correctly, we mean that the black and white wires are in the correct spots and wired to the proper terminals. There is no cross-wiring taking place. The problem can be very simple once you track it down.

For example, one owner who had this issue spent many hours looking at the wiring, the outlets, the GFCI outlet, and so on. His search finally found the problem. It was a tiny screw in his bathroom medicine cabinet that caused all the problems.

The screw pierced a wire when the cabinet was installed and with all the vibrations and bumps going on during travel etc., it went too deep and created the short. All he had to do was replace the wire and made sure it did not pass the path of the screw.

Once that was done, his RV was working fine again. When you are facing a similar issue, it would be good to have a multimeter and a Gardner Bender GFI-3501 Ground Fault Receptacle Tester & Circuit Analyzer in your toolbox.

Those two devices can help shorten your search and isolate the location of the problem.

Is It Ok To Have Hot And Neutral Reversed?

No, it is not okay to be in this situation. It is a very dangerous problem to have and you do need to find where it is taking place as quickly as possible. The GFCI outlet is designed to protect you but once it is wired wrong, you lose that protection.

When this is the case, you put yourself and your whole family at risk. When the GFCI is wired incorrectly, the outlet will not work and you cannot reset the circuit. You will have to do some rewiring to correct the problem.

You will notice that the GFCI circuit will not trip when the wires are crossed. This does not stop the flow of electricity, just makes it unsafe to use that outlet or any outlet the GFCI is connected to.

After discovering this problem, you will simply shut the power off and put the hot wire to the gold screw and the neutral wire to the silver one. That is why there are two different colors on the outlet. The two colors stop you from putting the wrong wire to the wrong terminal. Gold should always be connected to the hot wire.

What Happens If You Reverse Hot And Neutral?


To be blunt, you could electrocute yourself or your family members could electrocute themselves. Why this risk is present is that if the outlet is miswired you do not turn off the hot wire. You actually turn off the neutral wire.

That means that the power to the outlet is still going to the outlet and is active. When you turned the GFCI outlet off, you did not shut off the electricity. The good news is that in some cases, you will not get a big shock.

This is why you need the Gender Bender meter. It will tell you when your outlets and GFCI outlet have reverse polarity. Once you read those words, you know what you need to do, at least in most cases.

As the story went above, this situation may not be caused by crossed wires. Another metal part could have sliced into a wire and created the situation. When checking for the source, you have to go beyond the wires sometimes to find the source.

What To do When Hot And Neutral Are Reversed?

If it is just a crossed wire or two, the solution is very simple. You shut the power off at the breaker and remove the GFCI or other outlet from the wall. Then you disconnect both wires. After that, you move the hot wire to the correct terminal and the neutral wire to its proper terminal and the problem should be fixed.

If after testing you cannot find any of the wires to be crossed, then you have to start looking in other locations. Or check for corroded or loose wires along the circuit. If you find one, you should replace it so that all the outlets work correctly.

To do that you again have to shut the power down and disconnect the bad wire, replacing it with a new one. The repair work depends on what is wrong. As in the case of the screw piercing the wire, you would have to remove the screw, replace the wire, and redirect it so that the screw could not do a repeat performance.

Will a Light Work if Neutral And Hot Are Reversed?


No, while you will have power to the outlet, if you touch the outlet, you could be shocked and may not live afterward. There is no real power to the RV so your lights should not be lit when you have a reverse polarity problem.

When you turn the light or an appliance off, and you think there is no power coming to the appliance, etc., think again. You did not shut the power off but only the neutral wire. Power is still being fed to the outlet and touching it can be dangerous.

If you are not sure about the outlet, plug in the Gender Bender tester and get the correct reading. While testers are not 100% accurate, they are accurate enough to give you the idea that you should check your outlets and wiring.

This can be done by professionals but just like testers, professionals can make mistakes a swell.

How do You Fix Hot Neutral Reverse?

We have explained this solution a couple of times in this article. The first step would be to use a multimeter or a Gender Bender GFCI tester to help locate the source. The latter tester gives you the 6 options that take place with outlets and wiring.

When it says hot neutral reversed, then you know that you need to start hunting for the problem. This may mean shutting the power off and checking each outlet in the system. This search includes those hidden outlets your range or water heater plug into.

Once you find the source, you simply take the right steps to fix it. This could be as simple as reversing the wires or as difficult as pulling a wire off and replacing it with a new one.

There can be any number of issues with the wire that causes this problem. You just have to be patient and track them down.

Hot And Ground Reversed But Wired Correctly


This is about where we came into this discussion. You will find that there will be times the wires are all wired correctly. Yet, your tester tells you there is a reverse polarity somewhere in the circuit.

This is where having a good wiring diagram can help you shorten your search. You will know where the wires go making finding them very easy to do. If the wires are not corroded, broken, or loose, then you know you have a wider search on your hands.

You have to check the route of the wires to see if anything metal has cut into the wires and caused the short. The source does not have to be a screw. It could be a nail, staple, or some other sharp metal object.

This search will take a lot more time to conduct as this problem could be just about anywhere on the circuit.

Some Final Words

The last thing you want to go wrong in your RV would be reverse polarity. It is a very dangerous position to be in and if you make the wrong step, the results can be very illuminating and painful.

Get the testers you need to find out the problem and if you do not like working with wires, you should get a professional to do the search and fix it. Wiring is safe to work on when the power is turned off but not everyone likes working with wires.

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