How to Use a Multimeter to Test an Electrical Outlet

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Testing an electrical socket with a mulitmeter is the best way to make sure the outlet is functioning properly. A multimeter is a device that measures the voltage and the current of the electricity present in the outlet. Using a multimeter can be challenging, due to the various settings on the device.

But you can safely test an electrical socket with a multimeter by following a few basic steps.

Inspect the leads on your multimeter to make sure they are not broken or frayed. If they are damaged, replace them before continuing.

Insert each lead firmly into its socket on your multimeter.

Turn the rotary switch on the multimeter to the AC Voltage, or ACV, section of the selection dial and find the reading that is closest to120 volts.

Insert the black lead into the larger of the two slots on the electrical socket. If it's an older outlet with slots that are the same size, use either slot.

Insert the red lead into the other slot.

Watch the display on your multimeter. If there is electricity in the outlet, the display will show either a positive or negative reading of around 120 volts.

Remove the black lead from the socket, followed by the red lead.