If you plan to use an appliance with an existing 220v outlet, it is ideal to ensure the outlet works properly. Attempting to plug in an appliance without testing it first could result in damage. Testing is especially crucial for older outlets that haven't been used for a long time. Here are some tips to test a 220v outlet.

Prepare to Work

For this project, you need a digital or analog multimeter. A multimeter is a device that tests for continuity, voltage, frequency, and capacity. It typically has a red test probe (positive) and a black test probe (negative).

Examine the 220v outlet. A 220v outlet has three or four slots. The vertical slots are 110v each, and the bottom slot is the ground wire.

Find the circuit breaker that controls the outlet in the main circuit panel, which is commonly located in a garage or utility room. A 220v breaker will have two poles.

Turn on the Multimeter

Turn the multimeter on, and set the dial to the AC setting, which is commonly red. Choose the voltage that closely matches the outlet. You may set the voltage slightly higher than 220v, but never set it lower than the voltage you think matches the outlet.

Insert the Test Probes

Connect the test probes to the multimeter; matching the colors. Do not let the metal on the probes rub together, or touch your body, because they are live. Plug each lead in the two positive slots in the outlet.

The positive slots slant on a three-prong outlet. The positive slots are located on the outside of a four-prong outlet.

Watch the needle on an analog multimeter, or the display of a digital multimeter. You should get a reading of around 220v. A digital mutimeter gives a faster reading, and with recent models, you don't have to set the dialThe reading depends on how far the transformer is from your home.

Test the neutral slot. The neutral slot is shaped like an "L"" on three and four-prong outlets. Insert the black probe in the neutral slot, and the red probe in a hot slot. Look for a reading between 110-120v. Test the other slot, if it is a four-prong outlet.

If you get a reading of 220v or more, then the outlet is working fine. If you get a reading below 220v, or no reading at all, the outlet is faulty. You will need to hire an electrician to examine the wiring in the circuit before you use an appliance. To find out more, speak with a business like Genesis Electrical Service Inc.