A receptacle tester or outlet tester is a device used to verify that a 3-prong wall outlet is wired properly. The tester is a small device containing a power plug and several indicator lights. The tester determines if the outlet has power connected and that the outlet is properly wired for safe operation.
In order for an outlet to be functional it must have, at a minimum, a live or “hot” connection to a varying electrical voltage, and a neutral connection to complete the circuit.
The more important role of the outlet tester is to not only verify that electricity is present in the outlet but that the outlet is properly wired, with each plug being connected to the proper wire.
Simple three light testers cannot detect two potentially serious house wiring errors: (1) neutral and ground reversed at the receptacle, and (2) a “bootleg” ground, where the neutral and ground pins have been connected together at the receptacle. (Done by someone to attempt to fool the three light tester, typically if 3-prong outlets have been retrofitted to an old house with only two physical wires in the conduit.)
The receptacle tester is a quick test only – consultation with a licensed electrician is always recommended if you have questions regarding the wiring in your home. If you have purchased an older home and want to test your outlets you can buy a simple receptacle or outlet tester for about $10.
Last month I was one of those affected by the Target security breach in which credit card information was obtained by hackers. My card was automatically replaced by my vigilant credit card company. I also received a letter from the US Post Office today that a suspect had been arrested last month who was in possession of stolen mail, including some of my personal mail. Seriously? Two thefts of my personal information within a few weeks?
The holidays are a busy time for all of us, including thieves.
1. Remove mail from your mailbox as soon after delivery as possible
2. Don’t have packages delivered to an address where no one is at home
3. Watch your credit card statements carefully during the holidays, report unexpected charges to your credit card company immediately
Today I made another purchase at Target, this time I paid cash…
I just heard this on the radio and thought I should check it out. Senate Bill 407, passed in 2009 and effective on January 1, 2014, requires any homeowner doing a permit-mandated remodel (including updates to a bathroom, kitchen, or expansion of a home) to replace all water fixtures in the home (toilets, sink faucets, shower heads, bath faucets). All.
This is actual text from the bill: “This bill would establish requirements for residential and commercial real property built and available for use on or before January 1, 1994, for replacing plumbing fixtures that are not water conserving, as defined as noncompliant plumbing fixtures. On and after January 1, 2014, the bill would require, for all building alterations or improvements to single-family residential real property, as defined, that water-conserving plumbing fixtures replace other noncompliant plumbing fixtures as a condition for issuance of a certificate of final completion and occupancy or final permit approval by the local building department. By creating a new duty to inspect for local officials, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program. The bill would require, on or before January 1, 2017, that all noncompliant plumbing fixtures in any single-family residential real property shall be replaced by the property owner with water-conserving plumbing fixtures.”
What do you think?
Rain is on it’s way, and the worst thing for a roof is to have debris-filled gutters during the rains. When the leaves begin to fall, they don’t all fall on the ground – many drop or blow into your gutters where they trap rainwater and damage gutters (the horizontal steel basins at the edge of your roof that capture and funnel rainwater to the downspouts), downspouts (the vertical steel tubes at the middle and end of the gutters that divert rainwater away from your home) , and ultimately your roof.
There is nothing worse than to find your gutters overflowing during a downpour, the only solution to this problem is to get on a ladder with a hose and snake the hose down the downspout to clear the leaves. One way to avoid this particular scenario is with a gutter “strainer”.
The strainer doesn’t prevent leaves from getting into gutters, but it does keep them from clogging your downspouts. It is much easier to remove leaves from your gutters than it is to have to snake downspouts to remove a clog. The strainer fits into the gutter at the opening for the downspout, and keeps leaves from entering the downspout.
Another preventative measure is to install gutter “guards” over the top of the gutter, this prevents leaves from entering the gutters (and thus, the downspouts). These are a bit more tricky to install, but can save you time and energy during the rainy season.
Both gutter strainers and gutter guards can be purchased at Home Depot, Orchard Supply, and some hardware stores.