How to Use a Multimeter on House Wiring

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How to Use a Multimeter on House Wiring

Homeowners are aware of this, but they don’t often check it regularly. Yes, you’re correct – I’m talking about house wiring. If you’re doing home maintenance, for example, checking for any live wires in your home is necessary. 

Why? You would determine if there is faulty wiring at home that can lead to accidents. Electricity is dangerous, so it’s best to do wire testing or troubleshooting. But the question is, what device is suitable to check house wiring? 

No doubt – electricians always have this in this tool kit – the multimeter. If you don’t have a multimeter at home, it’s time to buy one right now.  

Multimeter Defined 

A multimeter or digital multimeter (DMM) is a useful device for measuring current, voltage, and resistance. Some multimeters would allow you to test capacitors and transistors. That’s not all. You can use the handy tool to check the continuity of fuses and wires. (We’ll talk about how to use a multimeter on house wiring later in this article.)

Multimeters are also a handy tool for checking or troubleshooting electrical equipment at home. So, don’t forget to include a multimeter as part of your home’s toolkit. 

With that in mind, let’s talk about the safety rules in using a multimeter. 

Safety Rules for Multimeter Users 

Your safety is essential in using any electrical devices. Multimeters are no exception. Keep in mind the following safety tips in using a test meter. 

Regular Inspection  

Like other devices, regular inspection of a multimeter is required for safe usage. If you notice signs of damage, assume that the test meter wouldn’t work properly. Don’t worry because you can prevent this from happening. 

First, always keep the test meter in good condition by storing the multimeter and the probes in a secure or protective case. 

Second, test the multimeter’s probes. Make sure that there isn’t physical damage to the meter, and the connectors are secure. Run your fingers across the meter probes to determine if there are damaged parts. If the probes are damaged, it’s best to replace it immediately. 

Keep in mind: Refrain using damaged probes so that you get precise readings. A multimeter that has damaged probes would give false results or, worse, injure you. 

Be Aware of Electrical Shock 

It’s natural for you to experience electrical shock in using a multimeter or any electrical device. Don’t worry because the electrical shock isn’t severe. But you should be aware of it. 

Here are a few helpful tips to minimize experiencing an electric shock. 

  • Wear protective equipment – The best equipment you can wear is gloves and headwear. An excellent tip is using a quality insulated rubber when you measure currents more than 50 volts. 
  • Never work alone when using a multimeter – For beginners and even those who aren’t experts in electrical work, this is an important rule. Be sure that you have qualified experts to assist you if you’re using a multimeter on house wiring.  A technician or even your friend (who has knowledge of test meters) are good companions. 
  • Observe the multimeter closely – Any signs of damage could lead to worse scenarios. So be aware of the damage signs. For example, cracks on the multimeter’s back or probes are signs you can’t ignore. Replace the probes if it’s broken to ensure the safe use of the test meter. 
  • Keep an eye on hazardous elements in the atmosphere – In using a test meter, hazardous elements should be off-limits from the test meter. Why? Flammable dust, for example, can affect the meter’s measurement or damage the meter’s intricate parts. So, make sure you keep your multimeter safe from hazardous elements when you’re using it. 

Whether you’re an expert in using a multimeter or not, it’s best to keep these safety rules in mind. Yes, pros are there to guide you, but it’s better to be safe than never. Remember: Your life is essential at all times, so keep safe. 

Using a Multimeter on House Wiring 

Now, we proceed to the main part of this article. You might ask – how to use a multimeter on house wiring? Well, the process is simple, and it all takes you minutes to do it. 

Are you ready? Here are easy steps homeowners can do to use a multimeter on house wiring: 

  1. Turn on the multimeter on then plug the probes into the test meter. Take note: United States households have an average current of 120V. Meanwhile, European households have 220V. Set your multimeter to a 200V setting in AC voltage. 
  2. Insert one probe to the ground wire and the other probe to the socket’s positive hole. 
  3. Next, leave the single probe into the ground hole, and you place the other probe to the negative hole.
  4. Last, in the positive hole, you leave a single probe.  Then, the other probe should be into the negative hole. 

After this, you would see the reading on the multimeter display. For the live and ground wire test, the reading should be 110V or 120V.  You would get the measurement of O volts when you test power between the neutral and ground socket. 

A multimeter is a handy tool, but it requires safe handling so you wouldn’t suffer from electric shock. Check the test meter before using it to check your house wiring (Don’t risk your life for simple mistakes.) House wire should also be checked to prevent faulty wiring and other worse scenarios. 

As I’ve said earlier, ask an expert’s help at all times. An experienced technician can give useful tips to use a test meter successfully. You can also ask for additional safety tips in using the test meter. In this way, your idea about multimeters would develop.

To Wrap Up…

Don’t be afraid of using a multimeter because the device keeps you safe in working with house wiring. Always observe precautions and warnings before you start electrical work. These warnings are a big help in keeping safe and secure. Final note: read and understand the instructions on the multimeter’s manual. The instructions make your multimeter usage successful all the time. Watch out for small but essential information on the manual that adds to a hassle-free life in using a multimeter.  Safety first is a must in using a test meter.

About the Author Dan

Just a random guy who likes to build things. Providing tool knowledge, appliance/device testing tips, and DIY project info in an easy-to read & non-intimidating style.

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