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Hot And Neutral Reversed: Causes, Risks & Solution

Changing the light bulb at your home is not complex work. You may decide to do it. But while doing the job, you get an electrical shock! This can happen due to reversed polarity.

What is hot and neutral reversed?

Hot and neutral reversed means connecting hot wires in place of the neutral wires. Misplacing the white and red wires causes reverse polarity. This is a serious issue. Short-circuit, overflow, and shocks happen due to this mishap of wires. This problem is solved by connecting the wires correctly. 

This is only the beginning. To solve this problem you will need deep knowledge. I have discussed this issue in detail below. Come with me to know it all!

What is Hot And Neutral Reversed

Hot and neutral reversed is the incident of mixing the hot and neutral connections. This phenomenon is also known as reverse polarity. The neutral common wire should be connected with the ground. Whereas the hot wire carries the electricity. 

But sometimes electricians mix this thing. Usually, amateur workers make this mistake. They connect the hot wire with the ground. And as a result, the neutral wire remains ungrounded. This mishap results in a disastrous situation. 

How to Prevent Hot And Neutral Reversed

Wires must be connected in their required places. By ensuring this you can easily prevent hot and neutral reversal. It is not very hard to connect the wires in the correct settings. 

The first thing you need to know before connecting the cable is its function. The function of the cable can be identified through its color. The neutral wire is always colored in white. And the hot wire has any color other than white.

In most cases, the hot wire is red or blue. So while setting up any electrical connection, use the white wire for grounding. Then connect the red wire to its required place.

What Are the Dangers of Hot And Neutral Reversed

The importance of grounding electrical wires is immense. If there is no place to attach ground wires, accidents will happen. But grounding must be done in the correct ways. There are several negative impacts of reverse polarity. Let’s check them out:

Continuous Current Flow 

Switches are used to control current flow through any electrical device. The switch system is highly dependent on the hot and neutral connections. If the connections are wrong, the control system will not work.

For example, if you are using a grinder you might want to use a spoon within it. To do that the switch must be turned off. But if the connection has mixed up cables, the current will still flow. You will get an electrical shock by inserting a knife or spoon in the blender 

Possibility of Short-Circuit 

Another problem with the reversed connection is the possibility of an electrical short circuit. The term short circuit is used to refer to any extra path for current flow. As a result of mixed-up wires, the current will flow in the wrong path.

This will result in a short circuit. The circuit board can catch fire because of a short circuit. Having hot and neutral reversed can cause serious hazards in this way.

Light Bulb Socket Gets Electrified 

Light bulbs are attached with electrical sockets for the power supply. But the socket is not electrified completely. Rather a small portion is capable of transmitting power. The rest of the socket is in neutral mode.

But this scenario changes once you connect the cables to the wrong points. The full socket will be electrified if the neutral wire is connected to the hot point. Despite keeping the switch off the current will continue to flow. 

As a result, any person trying to change the bulb will get a shock. This can cause serious injuries and also be a fatal incident. 

Circuit Gets Melted

The circuit can melt because of reverse polarity. This incident is usually observed in DC circuits. This happens because of the high rate of current flowing through the circuits.

When the polarity reverses, the resistance in the circuit may stop working. This will increase the voltage and current flow. But the circuit is not capable of carrying this high voltage current. So it will melt.

These are all the negative impacts of reverse polarity. For the safety of your family, you must prevent this problem. If you find out that there is reverse polarity in your house, don’t worry. Below I will show you the steps of fixing this problem. 

How to Fix Hot And Neutral Reversed

Sometimes while connecting detached garages or other places, the cables get misplaced. Once you find out about the problem, you must fix it immediately. I will guide you through the process of repairing the connections here.

Step 1: Cut the Power Supply

The first step to solve any electrical malfunction is to cut off the power. Electricity can easily take your life. For that you must take the required steps to stop the flow of the current. 

Only turning off the switch is not enough when neutral and hot wires are reversed. Because the correction will still flow due to this problem. You have to disconnect the main power supply before starting the work.

Step 2: Open the Circuit Board

The next step is to open the circuit board. You will need screwdrivers for this work. Open the screws slowly and preserve them in a safe place. Because after finishing the work you will have to reattach the switchboard.

I have some suggestions for screwdrivers for your work. Try them out!


These products are very good for household work. You will surely love them after using them.

Step 3: Identify the Wires

Then you have to identify the hot and neutral wires. Check the color of the wire to prevent any mistakes. Just remember that the white-colored wire is the neutral one. The other wire will be the hot wire for sure.

Step 4: Change the Wires Accordingly 

Once you have identified the wires, change them. Just disconnect them and reconnect the wires to the right port. But there is a condition. Sometimes you can find that the wires are in their right position. Still, there is reverse polarity.

This happens because the wrong connection is somewhere deep within the connection. Only fixing the cables won’t solve your problem. You will need a professional electrician to check your complete wire system.

Step 5: Attach the Circuit Board

After you are done changing the wires, attach the board with screws. An open board can be dangerous for babies and others. Don’t forget to re-screw it perfectly. 

These are the required steps of fixing your reversed polarity connection. You might not feel confident about solving the problem on your own. Hire a professional in such a case.

Electrical issues can be tricky and shouldn’t be touched without proper knowledge.


Question: Will GFCI work with reverse polarity?

Answer: No, GFCI won’t work with reverse polarity. GFCI outlets are made with utmost carefulness. It does not work in a reversed connection to prevent problems. But the outlet will not get damaged due to this.

Question: Can Reverse polarity cause a fire?

Answer: Yes, reverse polarity can cause a fire. There are several effects of reverse polarity on the circuit. A short circuit is one of them. Fire can break out from this short circuit. 

Question: How much does it cost to fix reverse polarity?

Answer: The cost of fixing reverse polarity is dependent on the depth of the problem. If the problem is at the outer part, the cost will be less. And with more depth, this cost will increase. 


This is all we have on hot and neutral reversed. We hope that you can identify and solve the problem.

Always double-check the current flow before starting any electrical task. You should also turn off the main power supply to avoid any risk.

That’s everything for today. Stay safe!