I am having trouble with my outlets power going to ground from what my outlet tester is telling me. I have changed out all of the receipts on the circuit. And I double checked all of them again to make sure that they were wired right and they are wired right but I have a receipt tester plugged into one outlet and it shows good, but when you plug something into another outlet it shows power is crossed with ground and none of the grounds are touching any power wires

  • So, you're saying you plug something into outlet A, and outlet B on the same circuit shows "hot/ground reversed"? Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 19:23
  • When you plugged the something into the other outlet, what was the something? Did it work? Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 19:40

1 Answer 1


First, those outlet testers are a mess in a dress. Not the tester, that's simple enough, it's just 3 lights across the 3 pins. But the legend, and all the silly things it says, is about as helpful as a magic 8-ball.

The light labeled "open ground" measures across the power blades. The other yellow light measures between hot and ground. The red is between neutral and ground.

You said you plugged in something, but didn't say what the load was. A little bit of voltage between neutral and ground is actually OK. Neutral is not ground. If such a low voltage sets off your tester, it's too sensitive. Otherwise I'd look for a wiring problem in the neutral.

Are you using screw terminals, backstabs, or poke-and-tighten-screw? Are you doing it monkey tight, not gorilla tight?

Just so you know, people, especially inexperienced people, find backstabs are not reliable. In many circuits they are not even legal. I avoid them entirely.

Sometimes, the screw terminals on the side of a receptacle will strike against the side of the outlet box, or hit the bare ground wire. Often this will only happen when the weight or strain of a cord is bending the outlet. A cure for that is to wrap several loops of electrical tape around the perimeter of the outlet, i.e. Over the screws.

  • I agree with magic 8 ball and those testers. Monkey tight is usually. ~14 inch lbs code now requires the screws to be torqued.+
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Feb 12, 2019 at 21:00

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