Bad Neutral Causing High Electric Bill   

By Irene Daraman Written by Irene Daraman Expertise: Technology, Learning, and Money Title: - Author and Freelance Writer Education: - Bachelor of Science in Nursing, University of La Salette Work Experience: - Registered Nurse with 10+ years of experience in BPO and healthcare industries - Management position in a Fortune 500 company, driving operational excellence and exceeding targets - Designing and implementing business plans and strategies to promote the attainment of goals, including financial (money matter), technology, and internal learning and development - Patient care coordinator in a California-based private practice - Experience as a personal injury medical records reviewer and demand letter writer in a Texas law firm - 5+ years of content/article writing experience, delivering engaging and informative pieces across various domains About: I am a Registered Nurse with 10+ years of experience in BPO and the healthcare industry. With a specialization in public and community nursing, I possess a deep understanding of patient care. Currently working in a management position at a Fortune 500 company, where I drive operational excellence and exceed targets. I am responsible for using technology at work, and driving learning and development. I am an expert in technology, learning, and money related topics from my corporate work experience. Public Profiles:
Updated on June 1, 2022

A neutral wire is essential to the electrical system in every home. The neutral wire carries the circuit back to the original power source. Without it, there would be no circuit for electricity to flow along and complete its circle back to the power source. So, if the neutral wire is not in good condition, the power it is supposed to return to the power source will be disrupted, which can cause serious problems.

There are many speculations that the bad neutral is causing the increase in the electricity bill, but no one can prove it. However, we cannot discount the fact that bad neutral has a harmful effect on the electrical system. Aside from damaging appliances, it can also lead to unwanted disasters such as overheating of appliances, electrical fires, or electrocution if not resolved.

What happens if you have a bad neutral wire?

Many things can happen when there is a bad neutral wire in your electrical circuit. Although there are many speculations that bad neutral is causing the electricity bill to go up, this is not true. You are charged for the number of watts used per hour. A bad neutral cannot change the number of watts that you use. In other words, the increase in electricity bill is not connected to bad neutral. This may be due to the number of appliances or lighting used or the climate such as summer where electricity consumption is higher.The following can occur in the event that the condition of the neutral wire is not good:

Electric Shock

The neutral wire also carries current, so when a person touches it, the person can be electrocuted. It can also cause more harmful effects on humans that can be fatal.

Damage appliances

When there is a bad neutral, the power voltage is not balanced because it does not return the current to the source. As a result, appliances heat up and may break or explode.

Electrical Fires

Neutral problems can cause a fire, as when it comes in contact with other wires, it can spark a source of the fire.

Appliances Malfunctioning

Lights and appliances are malfunctioning. Often the light flickers or the appliance operates inconsistently.

Short circuit

Bad or damaged neutral wire can wear out or melts insulation. When this happens, it can stick to the live wire which can cause a short circuit. The circuit breaker usually shuts off at this point.

What causes bad neutral?

There are many causes of bad neutral wiring. The following are just a few of the most common causes of bad neutrals:


Thunderstorms sometimes affect neutral wirings because of the lightning hitting the wires. Lightning is an electrical voltage that reaches 300 million Volts and about 30,000 Amps, whereas the standard voltage of our electricity is only 120 Volts and 15 Amps. Generally, when lightning strikes the neutral lines, it can damage the wires due to excessive electricity.

Human Error

Our electrical system must be repaired or installed by qualified electrician. Because when this is done without the knowledge of the electrical system, he can accidentally break the wires and cause bad neutral.

The faulty or old circuit material 

If we are going to install an electrical circuit, the quality of the materials being installed must be ensured. Make sure the wires are new and replace them when they are old. Because wires carry electricity, they can also weaken over time.

How do I know if my neutral is bad?

Signs of electrical arcing might be observed

When there is bad neutral wiring, power is not returned correctly to the source. Since there is no proper connection, there may be electrical arcing. You will often hear popping, buzzing, or hissing sounds from electrical connections. You will also notice that the light is flickering or dimming. You may also feel hot outlet or switch covers, the smell of burnt rubber, or scorched plugs or outlets. If you notice any of these, consult an electrician immediately to check your connection.

How do you test for a bad neutral wire?

As a reminder, checking the neutral wiring should be done by electricians and not by the ordinary homeowner because electricity is deliberately dangerous. But for the record, here are three ways to check if you have bad neutral wiring.

  1. Inspect the drop and wire crimps to check for any cut or damage on the wires. 
  2. Use a testing voltage or voltmeter to determine faulty neutral wire. 
  3. Use Digital Multimeter, a straightforward way to test a neutral wire, which provides readings on voltage, current, frequency, resistance, and temperature. 

How do you fix a bad neutral wire?

To repair a bad neutral, do not hesitate to call a qualified electrician because electrical wiring should not be handled lightly, especially if you are not qualified to repair it. Do not attempt to move the wiring. There is no such thing as a workaround for a bad neutral cable. Instead, run to any qualified electrician to fix it.