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Why Do I Have Lower Voltage Readings?

Why is there only 48volts between the neutral and ground on an electric outlet? How to Identify the Cause of a Low Voltage Condition of an Outlet.


Low Voltage on an Outlet
Electrical Question: Why is there 48volts between the neutral and ground on an electric outlet?

Additional Comments: Good job!
Background: Ed, a Homeowner from Prairie Village, Kansas.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your Electrical Repair Question Ed.

Low Voltage Readings at an Electrical Outlet

Application: Troubleshooting a Low Volt Problem with an Outlet Circuit.
Skill Level: Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, Voltage Tester or Volt Ohm Meter.
Estimated Time: Depends on the type and age of the electrical wiring and the access to the circuits and wiring to be evaluated.
Precaution: This is a project that should be performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor and typically requires specific tests of the electrical circuits.
Notice: Repairs to Home Electrical Wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes and installing new or replacement electrical parts or equipment may require a permit and inspections.

How to Identify the Cause of a Low Voltage Condition of an Outlet

Check the Circuit Ground Wire Bond at the Panel

A low voltage condition such as this is typically an indication that the circuit ground wire may not be properly bonded at the panel, or the ground wire may not be attached or properly spliced at a connection point within the circuit.

Check the Ground Wire within the Circuit

If the ground wire is properly bonded at the panel location then additional tests should be performed.

NOTE: A low voltage condition such as this is may be caused by a fault with the neutral wire. The process explained below will help to identify the location of the faulty wire or a connection is causing the low voltage condition. Voltage tests are made at each outlet that is on the same circuit as the affected outlet.

The following is an example of a method used to identify a low voltage problem on an outlet:

Electrical Tests and Observations

More about Troubleshooting Electric Outlet Problems

Repair Electrical Wiring
Troubleshooting

Troubleshooting and Repairing Electrical Wiring

Licensed Electrician Reveals the Secrets of Successful Electrical Troubleshooting Methods used to solve the majority of the home electrical problems and wiring failures encountered.

Electrical Troubleshooting

For more information about Outlet Wiring
Electrical Outlets

This link is helpful as a DIY Homeowner
Do-It-Yourself Electrical


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Includes:
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.

« The Importance of Electrical Cover Plates Safety Guidelines For Light Fixture Projects »


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