Appliance Repair – Using A Multimeter To Test Electrical Currents

Posted on: 12 August 2015

When your home appliances aren't working the way that they should, you may consider trying to find out what is causing the problems. In order to do this, you will often need to use a multimeter device.

What is a multimeter device?

This handheld device is used to test the electrical resistance and voltage flowing through electrical connections and components. When testing for resistance, the power must be turned off completely. When testing for voltage, the power must be turned on. Voltage testing must be left to professional electricians to avoid electrical shock.

This device has an indicator needle that hovers over a measurement scale. There are also digital versions of multimeter devices that have a digital display to provide you with the reading. Both types of devices have a black and red wire connecting to them that have metal-tipped probes on the end. The red is for positive electrical current, and the black is for negative current.

How do you use the multimeter device?

Continuity Testing

When testing for continuity, you are testing to see if the circuit is closed or open.

Set the ohm setting to X1. The multimeter should read infinity when the probes are not in contact with anything. This shows that the circuit is open and will not be able to conduct an electrical current. When the two probes touch each other, the device will read zero. This means that the circuit can conduct a current because the circuit is closed.

When testing an electrical element in an appliance, each probe will be used to touch two connections. If you get a reading of infinity, the element isn't working properly and likely needs to be replaced. If you get a reading of zero, the current is flowing as it should, and your problem lies elsewhere.

Ground Testing

If you are testing for a ground fault, you are trying to determine if the electrical current is flowing through a circuit as it should. If the electrical current is flowing through the ground, rather than the circuit, electrical shock or fire could occur.

Set the ohm setting to X1. Touch one probe to the terminal, and touch the second probe to the housing of the element that you are testing. Move the probe from the terminal to the second terminal. If you get a reading of infinity during this test, there is a faulty ground, and the element should be replaced or repaired immediately.

If you are uncomfortable performing these tests or making the repairs, talk with your local appliance repair professional for assistance.