Testing a Receptacle for Power

There are lots of times when you'll want to test a receptacle for power --sometimes to make sure that there's really power present, but more often to make sure that there's not! Sure, you may have cut off power at the main service panel. But are you sure you've flipped the right breaker or removed the correct fuse for the circuit you're working on? Even after you think the power's off, it's a good idea to pull out your circuit tester one more time and double-check.



Turn off power at the main service panel. Place one probe of the tester in each slot of the receptacle. The tester shouldn't glow. If it does glow, you've turned off the wrong circuit at the service panel; go back and turn off the correct circuit. Test both ends of a duplex receptacle. Remember that this is only a preliminary test; you also need to perform Step 2.


Remove the receptacle's cover plate and mounting screws. Gently pull out the receptacle without touching any of the wires or terminal screws. Touch one tester probe to a brass terminal and one to a silver terminal. The tester shouldn't glow. If it does, once again, you haven't shut off power to the right circuit. Cut power to the correct circuit at the service panel, and retest both sets of terminals.





Testing a Light Socket

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