Circuit Checks - Polarity - Description

A standard outlet has three holes for each plug. As you face the outlet, the single hole is the ground connection. The ground is for safety purposes. The larger vertical slot accommodates the neutral wire. The neutral carries the current used in your appliances out of the home. The right smaller slot is the energized phase conductor or the "hot leg" as it's commonly called. A properly wired outlet will have this configuration or polarity. Many appliances in your home have polarized plugs, or plugs that have two prongs with one larger than the other. This ensures the proper polarity when they're plugged into a standard outlet. If any of the wires in the outlet is connected to the wrong slot, the equipment can malfunction, and worse, people can get hurt.