Why Is My Neutral Wire Hot?

Why Is My Neutral Wire Hot?

Do you want to know why the neutral wire is getting hot? In the pursuit of understanding, many homeowners all over the world grapple with this puzzle. Whether you are a novice or experienced DIYer, knowing why your neutral wire is hot can help make sure that your home’s electrical wiring system is safe for everyone involved. No matter what the reason behind it may be, identifying and resolving this issue should be a top priority as it could put lives at risk if ignored. It’s important to understand how electricity works and research common areas which could possibly cause problems in order to make an effective diagnosis and develop an appropriate solution. So let’s explore the potential reasons why our neutral wire might be becoming electrically charged – from improper wiring techniques to device malfunctions – so that we can protect ourselves and our families from danger!

Why Would a Neutral Wire Be Hot

False Wire

Many electrical components, such as light switches and outlets, require a neutral wire to complete the circuit. If a false (or “hot”) wire is used in place of the neutral wire, electricity will travel through it, causing it to become very warm. This is dangerous as it could cause an electrical fire if left unchecked. To ensure safety, it is recommended to utilize a multimeter or another electric current measuring device specifically designed for voltage testing when checking for this problem.

Why Would a Neutral Wire Be Hot

Incorrect Readings

Incorrect readings from a multimeter or voltage tester can also cause a hot neutral wire. If the device is not calibrated correctly, it will show an incorrect reading that falsely indicates that there is electricity running through the neutral wire when there isn’t. This could lead to confusion and potentially dangerous situations if someone were to act on this false information without further testing. To avoid this issue, always double check your readings with another device before taking any action.

Open Neutral

An open neutral can also cause a hot neutral wire. An open neutral occurs when electricity is not able to properly flow through the neutral wire, resulting in a buildup of electrical current that causes the wire to become warm. This issue can be caused by poor connections, loose wires, or other problems with the wiring such as corrosion or breakage.

If you suspect an open neutral, it’s important to have an electrician inspect and repair your system.

Connectivity Issues

Connectivity issues can cause a hot neutral wire. If the neutral wire is not properly connected to other components in the system, such as outlets or switches, it can create an electrical imbalance that causes the wire to become warm. This issue should be addressed by an electrician who can repair any connections and make sure everything is properly wired up. [1]

Extremely High Voltage

In some cases, a hot neutral wire may be caused by extremely high voltage. If the voltage being supplied to your home is higher than normal, it can cause excessive heat in the wires and lead to a potential fire hazard. This issue should be addressed as soon as possible by an electrician who can determine if the voltage is too high or check for other potential issues.

A Bolt of Lightning Strikes

Although unlikely, it is possible for a bolt of lightning to cause a hot neutral wire. If the strike is powerful enough, it can cause electricity to surge through the wiring and overload the system, resulting in an excessive buildup of heat that could potentially cause a fire. To protect against this issue, surge protection devices should be installed at your home’s electrical panel to reduce the risk of electrical surges from entering your system.

Copper Wires Have a Higher Resistance

Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that copper wires have a higher resistance than aluminum wires. This means that they tend to heat up more quickly and easily. If you have copper wiring in your home or business, you may want to consider upgrading to aluminum cables as this can reduce the risk of overloading the system and causing a hot neutral wire.

Why Would a Neutral Wire Be Hot

Distribution of a Neutral Connection in a 3-phase System

In a 3-phase system, the neutral wire is connected to all phases. This connection provides an alternate path for unbalanced current to flow back to the source. The current that flows through each phase is proportional to its voltage, so when there is an imbalance between any two of the phases, the neutral carries a portion of the excess or deficiency in current. The neutral connection also allows a return path for reactive power generated by capacitors and other loads, balancing out line currents across all three legs.

It’s important to note that although the neutral wire itself does not carry significant amounts of power under normal operating conditions, it can become “hot” if there is an imbalance in current or if too much load has been placed on one of the phases. This can create a hazardous situation and should be considered before any electrical work is done in the system. The neutral wire can become hot if it is carrying more current than its rating or if there is an imbalance between the phase currents. To prevent this from happening, proper wiring practices must be followed and adequate over-current protection must be provided to all phases of the system.

Additionally, it’s important to note that not all 3-phase systems have a neutral connection. In some cases such as open delta or corner grounded delta configurations, the neutral will not be present and power will still flow through three insulated conductors. This type of application has different safety considerations than a system with a neutral because no path exists for unbalanced current to flow back to the source. Properly sizing and rating all conductors in open delta or corner grounded delta systems is essential in order to prevent overloading any of the phases and creating a hazardous situation. [2]

Why Would A Neutral Wire Spark?

A sparking neutral wire can be a sign of two potential issues. The first is that there may be a short circuit somewhere in your wiring, which can happen if wires touch each other or if a wire touches the metal frame of an outlet. In this situation, electrical current will pass through the shortest distance across the air gap between the two points, and cause arcing and sparking as it jumps from one point to another. This could potentially lead to fires or shock hazards.

Why Would A Neutral Wire Spark?

The second issue is that you may have too much voltage running through your system. This can occur when electrical devices are drawing more power than what the circuit breaker or fuse can handle, causing overheating in your wiring and appliances. If this is the case, you should immediately turn off the power and contact an electrician for further assistance.

Therefore, if your neutral wire is hot to the touch, it’s important that you take action to prevent potential disasters from occurring. It’s best to call a professional electrician who can diagnose and repair any issues with your wiring before they become more serious. By doing this, you’ll ensure that your home is safe and secure from electrical hazards. [3]

How Do You Fix A Hot Neutral Outlet?

The first step to fixing a hot neutral outlet is to identify the cause of the problem. If it is caused by an overloaded circuit, then you will need to redistribute the load over multiple circuits. This can be done by unplugging some appliances from the circuit and plugging them into other outlets or extending existing circuits if possible.

In cases where there is an issue with wiring, such as loose connections or incorrectly wired outlets, the best solution would be to contact a qualified electrician. An electrician can inspect the outlet and make sure that it is properly wired and that all connections are secure before restoring power to that outlet.

It’s important not to attempt any electrical repairs yourself unless you have experience working with electricity and are comfortable doing so. Improper repairs can put your safety at risk and may even cause a fire. If you’re unsure of how to proceed, it’s best to contact an electrician who can address the issue safely and properly.

In summary, if you have a hot neutral outlet, the key is to identify the cause before attempting any repairs or fixes. If it is an overloaded circuit, then redistributing the load over multiple circuits should be sufficient in resolving the issue. However, if wiring is to blame, then it’s important to contact a qualified electrician for help as improper repairs can lead to serious consequences such as fire hazards. [4]

How Do You Fix A Hot Neutral Outlet?

Should The Neutral Wire Have Voltage?

No, the neutral wire should not have voltage. The neutral wire is the return path for electrical current from an appliance or light fixture back to the power source, and it should be at 0V. If you find that your neutral wire has voltage, this could indicate a wiring issue or fault in your home’s circuitry which needs to be addressed immediately by a qualified electrician.

It is important to note that since electricity can cause serious injury or even death, it is best to seek professional help if you suspect a wiring problem.

A common reason for why the neutral wire might be hot is due to damaged insulation on one of the hot wires coming from the breaker box. This can allow current flowing through these wires to leak out and cause the neutral wire to become energized. Other possible causes of an energized neutral wire include reversed polarity, a back-fed voltage source, such as from a generator or solar panel, or even a bad connection somewhere in the circuit.

Regardless of the cause, it is important never to touch any wires in your home’s wiring without first shutting off power at the breaker box. Never touch any live wires or try to troubleshoot electrical problems yourself; leave this work to qualified professionals. If you suspect that your neutral wire has voltage, call an electrician right away for help with safely addressing the issue. [5]

Should The Neutral Wire Have Voltage?


Why is my neutral wire burning?

In some cases, a burning smell or potentially even smoke coming from the neutral wire can be caused by an overloaded circuit. This happens when excessive current is flowing through the neutral wire due to too many appliances drawing power from one outlet. In this case, it’s important to shut off the electricity and inspect the wiring for any damage. It may also be necessary to upgrade your breaker panel or electrical system in order to better handle the load on that circuit. Another possible cause of hot neutral wires is loose connections at either end of the cable – between the wall outlet and where it connects to other wiring in your home. Loose connection points can create resistance that causes heat buildup in the line and could eventually lead to sparks or an electric fire. As such, it’s important to ensure that the wiring is securely fastened at all points and to replace any worn or frayed components. Finally, your neutral wire may be hot if you have a failing appliance or light fixture plugged into the circuit.

Is it OK for a neutral wire to be hot?

No, it is not okay for a neutral wire to be hot. If your neutral wire is hot, you should shut off the electricity and inspect the wiring for any damage or loose connections before continuing use of the circuit. Failing to do so could result in sparks or an electric fire that puts your home at risk of severe damage.

Why would a neutral wire be live?

A neutral wire is typically considered “hot” when it has a greater voltage potential than the ground. This can occur for several reasons, including faulty wiring, reverse polarity due to miswiring, or poor connection in an electrical device or circuit. In any of these cases, the presence of a live neutral wire poses an electrocution risk, and should be addressed immediately by a licensed electrician. Faulty wiring could cause two potential dangers: The first issue is that electricity may flow through the neutral wire instead of being returned back to the service panel as intended. The second problem occurs when too much electricity travels through active wires resulting in an overload of current on the neutral wire. If you suspect that your neutral wire is live, it’s important to turn off power at the circuit breaker in order to avoid injury. A qualified electrician should then be summoned to inspect and repair the faulty wiring or connection.

How do you fix a burnt neutral wire?

A burnt neutral wire should be addressed immediately in order to prevent further damage and potential risk of shock or electrocution. First, turn off the power at the main circuit breaker in order to reduce the hazard of electric shock. An experienced electrician should then inspect and repair any faulty wiring or connections that caused the burn. In some cases, a full rewiring of the system may be necessary in order to ensure proper operation and safety. Additionally, all components such as outlets, switches, lights, etc., should be inspected for any signs of damage or excessive wear. Once all repairs are completed, an electrical contractor can verify that electricity is flowing properly through your entire system before restoring power.

Useful Video: Why Neutrals & Grounds are Connected in a Main Panel


In conclusion, if you notice that the neutral wire in your electrical circuit is hot, then there could be a few possible explanations. It may be due to a bad or broken circuit breaker, ground fault in the wiring system, or a wiring mistake. The best course of action would be to call an electrician and have them look at it as soon as possible so that they can identify and resolve any potential issues. Taking this step will help ensure that your home’s wiring is up-to-date and safe for use. Additionally, make sure to regularly test GFCI outlets to help prevent future electrical shocks and fires. With these tips and proper professional assistance, you can rest easy knowing that your home is safe from any potential risks associated with a hot neutral wire.


  1. https://www.circuitsgallery.com/why-would-a-neutral-wire-be-hot/
  2. https://conquerallelectrical.ca/why-would-a-neutral-wire-be-hot/
  3. https://portablepowerguides.com/why-would-a-neutral-wire-be-hot/
  4. https://www.safetyfrenzy.com/neutral-wire-melting/
  5. https://nicerabode.com/why-would-a-neutral-wire-be-hot-heres-3-reasons/