Distribution and use of electricity throughout the home. Electrical standards vary greatly worldwide, so providing your location in your question or your profile helps ensure you get answers that are relevant to you.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

16
votes
7answers
103k views

How do I install a GFCI receptacle with two hot wires and common neutral?

In my kitchen, I want to replace a regular 120V receptacle with a GFCI-protected receptacle. The instructions describe what to do with a regular 2-wire + ground feed, with and without daisy chaining ...
8
votes
4answers
194k views

What wire gauge do I need for a 100 Amp subpanel at the end of a 60' wire run?

I am adding an attached garage to my house. I'm going to be putting in a 100 Amp subpanel which is about 60 feet away and run through the basement joists. What gauge wire do you recommend for ...
33
votes
9answers
27k views

Should old knob and tube wiring be replaced?

I have been doing some electrical work in my house and I noticed it has old knob and tube wiring that is still hot, should this be replaced as found or is it fine to just leave it? It seems really ...
21
votes
4answers
13k views

Is it OK to borrow a ground wire from a different circuit?

I've got a circuit in the basement carrying a handful of outlets. This circuit has no ground wire. I want to add a couple of outlets and want them to be grounded. I may even want gfci outlets on ...
15
votes
5answers
114k views

Is it ok to have mixed grounds and neutrals on bars in a breaker box?

So to continue my line of electrical questioning (and perhaps narrow down my flickering light problem), I took a look through the two panels in this house. There is a 200amp main service in the ...
21
votes
3answers
95k views

How should I rewire a miswired 3-way switch?

I have a 3 way switch that was wired incorrectly when the switches were replaced with a different color switch. Is there a methodical way for me to identify which wires represent which piece of the ...
8
votes
1answer
5k views

How can I replace 2-prong receptacles in a code compliant way?

I have some 2-prong non-grounding type receptacles, and I'd like to replace them with 3-prong grounding type receptacles. According to National Electrical Code, what are my options?
18
votes
4answers
28k views

Is there a way to simply splice in an additional length of 12/2 NM-B cable?

Is there a way without using junction boxes to simply splice in additional length of 12/2 NM-B cable? Can I use twist caps? I'm putting in a dog door and as it so happens, there is some 12/2 right in ...
14
votes
6answers
68k views

Is using 15 amp components on a 20 amp breaker against code?

I have noticed in a few different houses in Oklahoma that 20 amp breakers are used, but all of the outlets and switches only seem to be rated for 15 amps. This goes against everything I know to be ...
6
votes
1answer
33k views

How do I wire a GFCI/Switch Combo?

I'm replacing an old GFCI/Switch combo. In the old one there are two wires coming into the line side, a hot wire and a neutral. On the load side there is one wire leading up to the lighting fixture. ...
3
votes
3answers
96k views

Where does the ground wire go in a 3-prong dryer cord configuration?

We moved to a new place where the dryer connection is 3-prong instead of 4-prong. The dryer was originally 4-prong, so we bought a 3-prong cord and installed it. It works fine, except I am not ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What are the pros and cons of different types of smart switches (that are on the US market) ?

When putting in a new switch for a light it is often less work to put in a smart switch than run the mains cables. However, how do you choose the type of smart switch to use? See also "What are ...
11
votes
7answers
72k views

Why Do 240V Circuits Not Require Neutral?

Someone told me that a 240V circuit does not require a neutral wire in the cable. Can anyone explain this phenomenon from the electricity perspective and generally explain why circuits do and do not ...
37
votes
9answers
95k views

How do I run wires for a wall-mount flatscreen TV?

Like a lot of you, we have several wall-mounted LCD HDTVs in the house. The TVs have two wires -- power and HDMI -- running down the wall to the power outlet and cable box. I've historically been too ...
14
votes
2answers
76k views

How do you plan capacity for electrical circuits?

I'm finishing a section of my basement, which currently only has one bulb for bare light. In planning the electrical arrangement of things, how do I estimate the load of light fixtures or electrical ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

Can you run a junction inside an outlet or recessed light

I have been working on finishing my basement and am starting my rough in electrical. I am learning as I go and have gotten most of the basics down.. calc load, box size, stapling, supports etc. One ...
6
votes
1answer
55k views

What size wire should I use to feed a subpanel in my garage?

My main panel has been upgraded to 100 amps. I would like to add a subpanel in the garage which would supply: 20 amp Mig welder running on 120 volts, but later upgrade to a larger Mig welder as i ...
25
votes
6answers
5k views

How best can I discover what is up with my electrical bill?

This might be subjective, I don't know. However, it's a serious problem for me. My electrical bill is outrageous. It's three times as large as my next-door neighbor, and four or five times the size of ...
17
votes
6answers
46k views

Extension cord and power strip safety

I've heard that there are some safety and building code issues involved with using extension cords or power strips (surge protectors) for anything other than temporary use. What are the issues, and ...
12
votes
4answers
33k views

Do I really have to fasten interior-wall electrical wire to a stud to keep it from moving?

I am fresh out of cable staples and would rather not go all the way to Lowe's just to get a box. What are the implications of not fastening loose electrical wires to a stud? It's not like there's ...
10
votes
1answer
22k views

Can I add a standard receptacle on a GFCI circuit

So, I want to add a receptacle in the bathroom (I tend to run out of batteries on my phone while crapping at the end of the day). There's a GFCI outlet on the other side of the crapper wall that ...
21
votes
7answers
28k views

Are push in connectors up to code?

Just came across a neat product at the local hardware store, but I wonder if they are up to code and safe to use. They are a wire nut that allows you to simply push the wires in, instead of twisting ...
14
votes
4answers
57k views

Which Kitchen outlets do NOT need GFCI?

I have the 2 circuits in the kitchen with GFCI outlets, but I'm not quite sure which other ones do NOT need GFCI. Other circuits in the kitchen include Microwave, Fridge, and Dishwasher. It makes ...
8
votes
6answers
63k views

Do the breaker amp readings sum up to dictate my current panels total / possible amperage?

So I know practically nothing about houses having rented for many years, just bought a house and was told by my inspector the panel is only a 70 amp panel and will need to be upgraded before I go to ...
6
votes
5answers
30k views

Why would my TV image turn black when electrical appliances turn on?

I have my computer connected to my TV via HDMI. Every time something electrical happens (fridge turns on, stove sparks, etc), the image on the TV goes black for a second and then comes back on. And ...
17
votes
4answers
41k views

Can Romex (NM-B) be run through conduit?

A few days ago I asked an electrician if I could run Romex through conduit - he gave me a funny look and said "No, Romex is not allowed in conduit." When I searched online, there seems to be a wide ...
13
votes
4answers
53k views

I have a 3-pronged receptacle but no ground wire connected to it. Is this ok?

I removed the plates from outlets to paint walls and noticed that some of my electric boxes have ground wires connected to outlets while others do not have a green wire at all. Is this ok? I know ...
3
votes
2answers
12k views

What is the maximum 12/2 wire length from a 20A breaker to a baseboard heater?

What is the maximum distance from a 220V/20amp circuit breaker to an 2000 watt electric baseboard heater using 12/2? At what distance would it require 10/2?
14
votes
6answers
3k views

Electric shock - was I stupid, unlucky, or a combination of both?

One of the double sockets in our garage needed replacing (damaged after a washing pole hit it) - a pretty trivial job that I'd done before. So I flipped the MCB for the ring main, used a non-contact ...
11
votes
1answer
13k views

How exactly does a 3-way switch work?

I just finished replacing all of the switches and outlets in my apartment, after fighting a long war with a weird 3-way switch. Needless to say, I won, but I'm still trying to grasp the concept of how ...
6
votes
2answers
10k views

Insufficient voltage to dryer receptacle; what next?

I just moved into a home and I am hooking up a used dryer (which I'm told works). The dryer spins, but I get no heat. I bought a multimeter, and it tells me that the receptacle provides insufficient ...
9
votes
6answers
67k views

Can I connect ground to neutral in a 3 wire outlet?

I have a 3 wire outlet with the entrances for hot, neutral and ground. But I know that the ground entrance is not really grounded, so in effect useless. Now, since the neutral is grounded, could I ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Why does using a dimmer with this ceiling fan and lights cause energy saving bulbs to flicker?

At a hotel I manage we purchased 34 ceiling fans with two integrated light sockets that operate on a dimmer all controlled by a remote control. Obviously using a dimmer with fluorescent bulbs won't ...
13
votes
4answers
37k views

When to use holes instead of side terminals to wire an outlet

This question comes from Shirlock's comment on this GFCI wiring question. When and why should you use the holes on the back of an outlet rather than the side terminals? I always assumed the holes on ...
6
votes
2answers
10k views

How do I convert a light circuit with a single pole switch to use two 3-way switches?

I have a box in the hall which includes a 3-way switch (with another switch at the other end of the hall), a single pole switch to the garage lights and a single pole switch to the exterior lights on ...
5
votes
0answers
357 views

What are the pros and cons of different types of smart switches on the UK market? [closed]

When putting in a new switch for a light, it is often less work to put in a smart switch than run the mains cables. However how do you choose the type of smart switch to use? See Also "What are ...
8
votes
3answers
197k views

How to connect multiple light fixtures to one switch?

I am remodeling my basement, currently I have 5 light fixtures and each one has its own switch. I would like to make it so when I turn on the switch at the bottom of the stairs all the lights turn ...
6
votes
4answers
28k views

Is it safe to install a three pronged wire into a four pronged dryer?

I just moved into an old home that has a three pronged wall jack as shown below: I have a newer dryer that has a four pronged wire. Please see the back of the dryer, I've removed the four pronged ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

Can I run a ground wire of a single circuit to the panel outside the house?

This is a follow-up to this question. I am adding (outlets) on to a 2-wire 12AWG (no ground) circuit and I want the new outlets grounded. Can I run a ground wire to the panel along the outside of ...
6
votes
3answers
4k views

Is this an acceptable way to add a light to a 3-way circuit?

I have three way switches at the top and bottom of my stairs. There is a light at the top of the stairs controlled by the switches and I wish to add a light at the bottom. A 14/2 runs first to the ...
6
votes
2answers
5k views

How does a 2 way light switch work?

A two way light switch allows the light to be controlled from two locations, how does this work?
5
votes
4answers
12k views

Why does my circuit breaker trip with any small load, even after replacing the breaker?

I have a 20A 240V GFCI breaker in my main breaker box going to a conduit to another breaker box outside. All worked well last summer. Now, when I put any load (weed-eater, light, etc.) on an outlet ...
5
votes
2answers
11k views

Does the NEC allow electrical wiring to run next to a ventilation duct?

I am about to install a vent to the outside for the range hood exhaust in the kitchen. In the same bulkhead that will have this vent, there is some electrical wire (some 12/2 NM and some low voltage ...
2
votes
1answer
160 views

Half of my lights and oulets are not working after heavy winds?

We have solar panels and mains power. Last night was very windy; we heard quite a few bangs from outside and thought it might be the wires getting knocked together. Woke up this morning and we have ...
1
vote
3answers
3k views

How do I determine the fill rating of a conduit?

I Will be installing a subpanel in a detached garage. The subpanel will be 60 amp. The garage is about 30' from the main-panel in-house, and I will of course get an exact length before selecting the ...
0
votes
5answers
6k views

How can I wire an exhaust fan to turn on from multiple locations?

I just bought a Panasonic FV-20NLF1 inline bath exhaust fan that I planned to used to exhaust 2 different bathrooms. I want each bathroom light switch to control the fan, so when the lighting turns ...
17
votes
1answer
63k views

What do I need to install LED strip lighting?

I've been looking to install LED strips, either RGB or white for lighting and ambiance. It wouldn't be the main lighting of the room, so no necessity for high power LEDs. The perimeter of the room is ...
15
votes
4answers
12k views

What should I use to secure/organize data cable runs?

I am running Cat-6 and Coax in new construction. I am looking for advice/best practices on how to organize and secure the cables during the runs. I will be running 2 Cat-6 and 1 Coax to a ...
10
votes
8answers
23k views

Does a homeowner need a permit for electrical work in Massachusetts?

Does a homeowner need to obtain a permit from the town in order to do electrical work on his own house in Massachusetts? The unofficial answers I can find online (e.g., this forum and the websites of ...
10
votes
2answers
8k views

How should I address my bathroom's flickering lights and GFCI tripping mysteriously? (Schematic included.)

So I inherited a bit of a nightmare for wiring in my bathroom. I'll be calling in an electrician, but wanted to have an understanding of the problem first, as not to be ripped off, lead astray, etc.. ...