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How To Test If A Wire Is Live

  • Post published:April 19, 2022
  • Reading time:3 mins read
Home > How To Test If A Wire Is Live

Not sure how to test If wires are live? If so, there are a few ways to do it and some important safety guidelines you should follow first. 

By doing this, you’ll be able to come to a conclusion quickly and easily whilst also staying safe at all times.

So keep reading our expert guide on how to test if a wire is live and discover everything you need to know including:

  • Why it’s important?
  • The best tools to use
  • How to stay safe?

Why Test if a Wire Is Live?

You would want to test if a wire is live if you were going to change the faceplates, extend the circuit, test for a faulty appliance or, any other type of electrical work.

By establishing if a wire is live, you can determine whether there is power at the source and if it’s safe to continue working.

The Best Tools to Use to Test if a Wire is Live?

Testing if a wire is live is very dangerous. Fortunately, some simple methods and tools can help you carry out the task safely and efficiently. 

Use an appliance

If you were going to test a regular house plug socket, you would first need to isolate the circuit at the consumer unit. 

To double-check if you have isolated the power for the socket, you could simply plug in an appliance (that you know works) and turn on the power via the switch. 

If the appliance turns on, it indicates that the wires are live. So, you’ll need to unplug it and turn the power off again at the consumer unit. Then repeat the previous step until you’re positive the power is turned off. 

Digital Multimeter

This is one of the easiest and safest tools to use to test if a wire is live. 

First, you need to isolate the power to the socket by switching off the circuit breaker. Once you’ve done that you can then remove the faceplate of the socket.

Next, you need to switch on the multimeter and turn the dial to the voltage symbol. You should also set the range to above 240 volts. 

Finally, connect the red probe to the live wire (brown) and the black probe to the neutral wire (blue). If the wires are live then the voltage reading will appear on the screen. 

Please note that this is a rough guide and you should always follow the manufacturers instructions for your multimeter. 

Non-Contact Voltage Tester

Perhaps the easiest tool to use.

Once again, you should first turn off the circuit breaker before starting. You then simply turn on the tester and hold it close to the socket or wires. If the light flashes and it beeps, then this indicates the wires are live. 

But remember, the tester may not detect the voltage if the wires are covered with a metal sheath or conduit. 

Call the Experts for Help and Support

We always advise you call in professionals to take care of any electrical work. This guarantees your safety and ensures compliance. 

So, feel free to contact us and speak to one of our qualified electricians in Milton Keynes today.