We at Dwell Inspect Arizona would like to give you professional insight into the home inspection process. With a greater understanding of how the home inspection is conducted and reported, you can better interpret the report presented to you and your client. As a professional and knowledgeable agent, you can be better prepared for the negotiating period following the inspection.

One of the most valuable tools that a home inspector uses is also one of the simplest. As a professional Home Inspection business in Phoenix, homeowners rely on our extensive knowledge and the GFCI tester to determine the electrical functionality of the inspected property.

As a Home Inspection Business that operates in Phoenix, we have the opportunity to inspect some truly unique houses with some unique issues. One of the most useful tools we use to inspect a house or condo is a GFCI Outlet tester.

I am sure you have seen an inspector use them. We walk from room to room inserting the testing tool into all of the outlets, making them light up, nodding our heads and making notations. They come in various shapes, sizes, and colors and cost around $10. Superficially, they determine if each individual outlet is functioning properly, but when you add all of the information together, we can better determine the entire functionality of a property’s electrical system.

Some of the more common indications that we receive when testing electrical outlets are: correct, open ground, or hot/neutral reverse.


A CORRECT reading indicates that the wiring has been installed correctly and the outlet is functioning as it should. It also indicates that the outlet completes a proper circuit containing hot (right side/smaller opening) and neutral (left side/larger opening) and it is grounded (circular opening). 




An OPEN GROUND reading indicates that the outlet is not grounded. So then, what does ‘grounded’ mean? In electrical terms it is the process of electrically connecting electrically conductive items to the earth by which means excess electrical current is absorbed into the ground. The wiring system is often grounded using a conductive metal pipe that extends from the house such as a copper water piping or a metal rod buried into the ground. Electrical systems are grounded to minimize the chance of electrical shock.


A HOT/NEUTRAL REVERSE reading indicates that the wiring on the outlet has been installed improperly. The hot wire is an electrically charged wire that carries a charge of 120 volts into home circuits. The neutral wire is a wire with no electrical charge that provides a return path for electricity in a circuit. When this indications occurs it generally indicates that the outlet has been installed by someone that is not a professional. It greatly increases the potential for electrical shock to occur. However, the repair could be relatively simple, it could be as simple as removing the electrical outlet and switching the installation of the two wires. For safety purposes this should be performed by a licensed electrician.