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Why Every Homeowner Needs a Multimeter

From installing fixtures to marking hot wires to diagnosing old batteries, multimeters are useful in a variety of situations. In fact, they’re necess

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From installing fixtures to marking hot wires to diagnosing old batteries, multimeters are useful in a variety of situations. In fact, they’re necessary for just about any type of electrical task. Professionals and DIY enthusiasts alike rely on multimeters to serve three basic functions, namely measuring:

  • Voltage
  • Continuity
  • Resistance

This guide details where these features may come in handy when tackling common tasks around the home.

Sorting Through Lightbulbs

While most reliable on basic incandescent bulbs, multimeters can be used to check different lightbulbs in unknown conditions to see which ones are functional and which you can throw away.

It’s as simple as setting your meter to continuity test mode and touching the black probe to the metal point of the bulb. Use a screw thread to improve the steadiness of your probes. From here, connect the other probe with the circle at the bottom of the globe. If there’s a sound, you know your bulb is still working.

Testing Batteries

If you have a drawer filled with old disposable batteries, your multimeter can help you identify the cells that are still kicking. Turn the dial to DC voltage position and contact the negative end of the battery with the black probe. Touch the positive end with the red probe and you should now see a value displayed on the multimeter’s screen.

This is the battery’s voltage. Standard AA and AAA cells are rated at 1.5 volts, while watch batteries put out 3 volts. Lower readings indicate that the battery is empty or on its last legs.

Checking Extension Cables

Skeptical about the integrity of an old extension cord? Take your multimeter and set the dial to continuity test mode. Insert the black probe into one end of the cable and touch either plug end with the red probe.

Solid connections will emit a beeping sound, which means the connection can facilitate a circuit. Make sure to test all two or three plug ends in the same manner. You know you’re in business when each of them reads positive. If not, the cable is likely unusable.

Additional Uses

Before we explore the other uses for multimeters, it’s worth looking into the different models that you can buy. Prices range from $10 on the budget end to over $1,000 for professional units. The best option for you depends on your needs. Head over to the following link for a comparison: http://homefixhobby.com/best-multimeters/.

That said, here are some additional scenarios where a multimeter is helpful:

  • Finding bad light switches
  • Marking hot wires
  • Testing appliances
  • Assessing wall cables

Multimeters are also useful in cars. For instance, batteries may be checked to see if they’re working correctly. If certain instruments show erratic readings, you can analyze the voltage stabilizer to determine if it needs replacing.

The list of uses for multimeters is virtually limitless. What matters is that they are certainly worth the small asking price. Consider making the investment in the near future – chances are that you’ll need it in due course.