Open Hot Outlet Explained! Causes and How to Fix the Circuit.

Every cable in an electrical system contains three wires, the hot, neutral and ground wire. These wires are responsible for the transmission of electricity, and protection against ground fault.

When an outlet is labelled as an open hot outlet by an electrician or inspector, it means that the hot wire is disconnected.

This article will explain what an open hot wire means, the causes and how to fix it.

What is an open hot outlet?

An open hot outlet is an electrical outlet whose live wire is disconnected from the source. The hot wire is the black or red wire that carries electricity from the power source to the appliances.

When the hot wire is connected to the power source, the circuit is said to be closed. If it is disconnected from the source, it is said to be open.

An outlet is said to be open when it cannot transfer electricity from the source to an electrical device.

What causes an open hot wire?

There are several factors that can contribute to an open hot circuit, these include:
1. Loose connection

Over time, your home’s wiring system may become loose and disconnected. When this happens, current can not be able to flow along the circuit, leading to an open circuit. 

2. Circuit overload

If you plug too many loads on a circuit than rated, the breaker will trip to prevent short circuits. A tripped breaker can cut off the flow of currents along the circuit.

3. Faulty electrical equipment

A faulty electrical equipment such as a switch or electrical panel, can also lead to an open hot wire.

Is an open hot wire dangerous?

Yes, an open hot wire can be dangerous if it involves loose or damaged electrical wiring. When a loose hot wire comes in contact with the neutral or ground wire, it can cause a surge of electricity, leading to overheating and electrical fire.

It is crucial to address open hot outlets promptly to ensure the safety of our homes and offices.

Common signs of an open hot

The most common sign of an open hot wire is a power outage in the part of the house affected issue. 

Another sign may be an electric shock if the hot wire is in contact with a metal object or conductor.

How to troubleshoot and fix an open hot circuit

To fix an open hot outlet, you must know the basics of electrical wiring. Else, contact an electrician to help you.

But if you have confidence in yourself and think you can fix it, here are the steps to take.

1. Turn off the breaker

Before starting any repairs, turn off the breaker that controls the branch circuit to ensure your safety.

2. Remove the outlet cover

Using your screwdriver, remove the outlet cover to access the wiring inside.

3. Inspect the wires:

Check the wire connections for any loose or damaged wires. If any, tighten and replace damaged ones.

4. Secure the hot wire

Make sure that the hot wire is secured firmly on the hot terminal of the outlet.

5. Reattach the outlet cover

Once all repairs have been made, carefully reattach the outlet cover using the screwdriver.

6. Turn ON the power

Flip the breaker to the ON position once you are through with your fixing and test the outlet.

Need a professional for your electrical services? Contact Mariaelectricals

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About mariaelectricals

Hi, I am Emmanuel Nwankwo, a commercial electrician and the founder of I established this blog to share my decades of work experience in electrical installations and repairs.