Today we’re looking at some of the tools that every homeowner and rental property manager should have and know how to use, which include an outlet tester, a non contact voltage tester and a multi-meter. An outlet tester is excellent because it does a couple of things. One is that it tells you if the outlet is properly wired and especially if you have electronic equipment, you want it go in through the hot side and coming out through the neutral. And if it’s wired backwards, you can actually shorten the life of your electronics. For those of you planning on using your investment property as a short term rental, you definitely want to know that your many corporate housing and extended stay tenants coming through for an aren’t going to be frying their laptops while staying with you!
Another safety feature, if you have floor lamps plugged into an outlet that’s wired improperly, it can actually be live, the socket can be live, even if the switch is off. So just an excellent tool and most of these have a guide on it to tell you exactly what the lights mean.
So just a nice thing to have in your toolbox. A non contact voltage tester, I like much more than some of those small testers with the two probes. I like this style that you have to actually, physically turn it on and hold it on because it lets you know that it’s working. When you depress this and hold it on, it’s going to chirp and it’s going to give you a light.
By continually depressing this bottom, you can tell whether a circuit is live. And you don’t have to touch it. Especially in an area like this where you have metal boxes and if you didn’t know whether was live and here is a very little space, if you took this out and touch the box, it could be a shock hazard. So just an excellent tool.
The third thing is every homeowner should really have a multi-meter and this does a variety of different tests and you can turn it to AC-Alternative Current, and you can test your outlets and switches and it tells you whether is live or not, it also tells you whether there is a grounding problem. It’s been very helpful on a number of occasions when troubleshooting garage door problems to determine if it was the motor or the power going to it.
I like the multi-meter because it’s very flexible, you can do a lot of different tests with this one tester. So you can check AC 120 or 240 Volts, you can check DC. So if you have a car battery that you want to check, you can check that with this also. And it has settings like this: it has a 9 Volt and a 1.5 Volt.
So when you plug in your tester in, you are going to have one side that has the red lead and one side that has the black lead. When you are testing regular AC current, it doesn’t matter which probe you use, when you are testing batteries, you want the positive side to be on your red probe and the negative on your black probe.
So I set this to 9 Volt and we’ll just test this and you can see nothing is going on. So this is a bad battery. So now we’ll test this other battery and you can see how it goes to 9 Volts. So just a nice handy tool to have in the house. We can switch this to 1.5 Volts and whether you have a D battery or double A or triple A, all of these are 1.5 Volts.
It’s just bigger storage or smaller storage and by touching it on the ends you can see 1.5 Volts. So just a great tool to test batteries. Now I can switch this to the continuity test and if you have a switch that you are wondering, a light or something that’s not working and you wanted to test your switch, you would put it in the ON position and you are testing to see if there’s a flow of current through this.
And by touching the two screw terminals, you can see that it’s showing a current passing through this. And the same thing if you have fuses or car fuses, you can touch it on the context and you can see it’s showing that a current is passing through this. So just an excellent tool to do a variety of thing around the house. So if you had these three tools in your home and at your disposal when dealing with your investment properties/rental properties, you would be able to do pretty much any electrical test that you need to do.