Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bless Me, For I Have Sinned.....

I will start right off with my first confession, that of wishing very, very, very bad things upon the person or persons responsible for doing some of the electrical wiring in the house. Years ago while changing a light bulb in the basement, I unscrewed the bulb part way, then reached up to grasp it at the metal base to keep turning it out.....BBUUTTTZZZZ my right arm got jolted and went completely numb, the bulb dropping to the floor and shattering. Christ I thought to myself, something is wrong there, as I knew that even having the switch turned off did not mean there was no energy to the light outlet, but there was no way the hot should jump to the screw base of the bulb and electrocute me!

When you look inside a light base, you will notice a metal button right at the back, and a metal ring that the bulb screws into. Wired properly, the metal button at the back is hot (energized), and the ring is ALWAYS neutral (unenergized) regardless of whether the light switch is in the on or off position... Wired backwards, however, and the metal button becomes neutral, and the screw in ring becomes hot, an extremely dangerous sitiuation! Seems someone doing the wiring got mixed up tying in a line to an existing circuit, and wired up a bunch of stuff with the hots and neutrals reversed.

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