Today, with many people looking to do simple wiring jobs at home on thier own, outlet and GFCI testers are becoming more and more common tools in the home owner’s tool box. That being said, many people purchase the tester to inspect outlets or check the work they have done, but they are not 100% sure as to what the tester is telling them.
Below is a picture of the wiring of a standard wall receptacle that you would most likely find in your home. As you see, there are three different wires that should be connected to your receptacle. There should be a black, a white, and a green wire attached securely to each receptacle.
Each of these wires has a different purpose, and are vital to ensure that your appliances that are plugged in are properly powered and grounded, as well as providing you with safe connections for these appliances so that you do not recieve an electrical shock.
Black(Hot)- This is the wire that is carrying the voltage to your appliance. This is commonly referred to as the “Hot” wire because it is the wire that is carrying the voltage.
White(Neutral)- This wire is the wire that allows the voltage to return to your panel.
Green(Ground)- This wire is a safe return for voltage if the neutral doesn’t properly function. This wire allows the voltage and current to return to ground without shocking the user.