The Importance of Using a Line Voltage Indicator (Wiggy) in Home Inspections

August 31, 2023
by Charlie Priest

When it comes to home inspections, ensuring safety is paramount. Among the many tools and devices utilized during the inspection process, the line voltage indicator, commonly known as a “Wiggy,” plays a crucial role. Tennessee Inspection Services recognizes the significance of this tool in detecting electrical hazards and protecting homeowners from potential dangers. In this blog post, we will explore why the line voltage indicator is essential during home inspections and shed light on the intriguing origin of its peculiar nickname.

The Line Voltage Indicator: A Safety Essential:

A line voltage indicator, often referred to as a Wiggy, is a handheld electrical testing device used by professional home inspectors to detect the presence of electrical voltage in various systems within a home. It is a reliable tool for ensuring electrical safety and preventing potential accidents.

  1. Voltage Detection: One of the primary purposes of using a line voltage indicator is to detect the presence of voltage in electrical outlets, switches, and other components. It helps inspectors identify live circuits, which are crucial to assess the functionality and safety of the electrical system.
  2. Preventing Electrical Hazards: By confirming the presence or absence of voltage, inspectors can minimize the risk of electrical shocks or fires during the inspection process. Identifying faulty wiring, improper grounding, or other electrical issues can help homeowners take timely corrective measures, ensuring the overall safety of the property.
  3. Verification of Disconnects: When inspecting appliances or electrical equipment, it is essential to verify that power sources have been disconnected before handling or working on them. The line voltage indicator allows inspectors to confirm if circuits are truly de-energized, preventing potential accidents.

The Origin of the “Wiggy” Name:

The term “Wiggy” might sound peculiar and unrelated to electrical devices, but it has an interesting origin. The nickname is derived from a specific brand of line voltage indicators called “Wig-Wag” or “Wiggy” voltage testers, which were popularized in the mid-20th century.

The Wig-Wag line voltage indicators were created by the Wiggins Teape Group, a British company known for its diverse range of products. These testers had a distinctive feature—an oscillating neon lamp that glowed or flickered when voltage was detected. The lamp’s movement resembled the wagging motion of a dog’s tail, which led to the nickname “Wig-Wag.”

Over time, the name “Wiggy” became a generic term for line voltage indicators, regardless of the brand. Although various manufacturers produce these devices today, the nickname has endured, firmly establishing itself in the vocabulary of professionals in the field.

The line voltage indicator, commonly known as a Wiggy, serves as an indispensable tool for home inspectors, including Tennessee Inspection Services. By detecting voltage and ensuring electrical safety during inspections, the Wiggy plays a crucial role in preventing accidents and identifying potential hazards. Its nickname, originating from the unique oscillating neon lamp of the Wig-Wag voltage tester, has become synonymous with line voltage indicators, representing a long-standing tradition in the industry.

Next time you see a home inspector using a handheld electrical testing device, know that they are relying on the Wiggy to keep you safe and secure in your home.

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