Skip to main content

Why Does My Neutral Wire Have Voltage

By March 24, 2022Electrical
Electric Tester

Often times when we have new electrical or old electrical wiring done in our home, we trust that the electrician runs every wire correctly. In some cases, your neutral or ground wire might actually come out with voltage to it. In many cases, homeowners find out these scenarios as they plug in various appliances to their outlets. If the GFCI outlet goes out and trips, this is a clear indication that wires could have been improperly wired. Why does my neutral wire have voltage? If neutral wires are not connected to the ground then an electrical charge can pass through it.

Let’s take a look below at some of the possibilities.

What Should I Look For

You are likely concerned about improper wiring at this point. On some occasions, an electrician might run your wires incorrectly. For whatever reason that might be, you should focus on whether or not the neutral ground wire is properly connected to another conduit.

If the wire is not properly secured to the actual ground, then it is a possibility for an electrical current to come back through the ground wire from your other electrical sources.

A neutral grounding wire is connected to the ground rod.
A neutral grounding wire is connected to the ground rod.

How Do I Know

Believe it or not, improper wiring can happen often. In some cases, your electrician can mix neutral and hot wires. Possibly, neutral or ground are also switched. If you are working on the electrical and experience a sudden shock, then you might want to know the following:

  1. Measuring hot – remember to test neutral/ground to hot/ground, otherwise you would not know. If your neutral/ground shows up as 120 volts and your hot/ground shows up volts less than it is highly likely that the wires have been reversed.
  2. Under load conditions – typically a 2 volt or less is typical. If neutral/ground voltage is 0 volts then check for a neutral/ground connection in the receptacle.
  3. If you want to check neutral and ground loads then check to see which is greater. The greater the load, the likely a possibly switch has occurred. When your hot/neutral voltage is measured against the load on the circuit and the hot/ground has a greater load, then the neutral and ground are switched. This can cause a safety hazard and the wires should be corrected immediately.

How Much Does It Cost

Just like any other project, the cost of electrical voltage research can vary. The cost for an electrician to wire a whole house typically costs $8,000. Lucky for you, this is a simple evaluation and inspection of your current wire situation.

On average, a local house call to test your electrical wiring can run you $65 to $90 per hour, depending on the number of outlets needing testing. After the test is completed, the remaining fee varies based on your new wiring needs.

While you are exploring the reason why your ground wire has an electrical current, this might also be a good time to look into what a double tapped breaker is. Understanding what double tapped breakers are can safe your home from an unexpected fire. So, knowing what double tapped breakers are is definitely a piece of information you should know.

Another area to think about is making sure the metal box is grounded. This can be done by using a tester. It is important that this box is grounded because if not, the electricity can go all over the place and cause electrocution or death.

Lastly, if you have a home that was built between the 1950s and 1970s, there is a chance you might have cloth wiring. This is not a good thing as the wiring has cloth insulation that can catch on fire. Instead, it should have plastic insulation.

Neutral ground wire voltage tester.
Neutral ground wire voltage tester.

When Do I Call A Professional

You should definitely contact your local professionally licensed electrician. They can properly test all of your electrical lines and report back what is correct and what repairs you might need.

In addition to reaching out to your local electrical contractor, consider reaching out to your local home inspection team. Your home inspection team can conduct a full home inspection with regard to your electrical system needs.


Completing a full home inspection to determine all of your electrical system needs should be a priority. Your local home inspection team can determine if wires and electric receptacles, as well as light fixtures, need a change. Ensuring that all electrical systems are up to date is a top priority for your home inspection team. Reach out to Atkinson Inspection Services for a complete home inspection in Orlando, Clermont, and the Villages