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.

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5
votes
2answers
662 views

How do I troubleshoot noisy power lines for power-line networking?

I have some power-line ethernet adaptors that worked great in my previous house. At my new house, they can't get more than a few KB per second because there's too much noise in the line according to ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

What does a surge protector do that a breaker doesn't?

The circuit breakers in my home are 120VAC, 15A or 20A breakers. What would a surge protector (e.g. this or a power strip with surge protection) do that a breaker wouldn't do already?
4
votes
2answers
42k views

How do I extend outlets after installing a backsplash?

I have installed a back splash in my kitchen, if I use the plastic spacers how many should I use or is there a limit? I understand that this can cause to much air space around the receptacle or light ...
4
votes
3answers
8k 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

How can I wire this three-way circuit between two buildings with only 3 conductors?

I am rewiring my entire house after a major malfunction of two antique knob and tube circuits. I'm up against a challenge with some outdoor lights. Here's the situation: I have a detached garage. It ...
4
votes
1answer
13k views

How to tell if a ceiling junction box is braced to hold the weight of a ceiling fan?

My new home is almost done being built, and one of the extras I asked for was for two of the rooms to have junction boxes in the ceiling suitable for hanging a ceiling fan in the future. The light ...
4
votes
2answers
4k views

Do open-back low voltage boxes have advantages over standard outlet boxes?

I will be running LV wiring in new construction. I've seen the open backed Carlon boxes, but have read that they are difficult to insulate, and therefore should not be used on exterior walls. I ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Why would a circuit breaker not trip if I accidentally shorted hot to neutral?

I am installing a set of recessed lights in a closet, replacing the existing fixtures one at a time. I removed power to the lights while installing each one by using the light switch, not the circuit ...
3
votes
1answer
4k views

Why am I measuring 16 volts on a wire that should be at 0 volts?

I am replacing a power receptacle at my apartment. It has the standard four wires, with one of the two reds going to a nearby toggle switch. I am concerned because when the toggle switch is off, I ...
3
votes
4answers
5k views

How can I verify that the protective earth/ground is separate from the neutral wire in an electrical AC installation?

It's easy to verify which wire is the phase without relying on wire colors. But I'm not sure if I'm able to determine which wire is the ground and which is the neutral. I have heard that using a ...
3
votes
2answers
992 views

Term to describe two circuits run through one /3 cable

For example, I have a 12/3 cable in which the red and black wires are controlled via separate breakers. The 12/3 drops into a single-gang outlet, out of which runs a 12/2 to another room. Is there a ...
2
votes
1answer
123 views

Why would two regular outlets stop working after I replaced GFCI outlets?

I replaced to gfci outlets and they are working fine, but two outlets on the same wall that are regular stopped working and are not receiving electricity. I checked and checked to see if I did the ...
2
votes
3answers
269 views

Do receptacles require a 20 ampere breaker?

I thought wall recepticles required a 20 amp breaker. Am I wrong?
2
votes
2answers
583 views

What gauge wire is needed to feed a 70 ampere panel 300 ft. away?

What gauge of wire do I need for direct burial for a 300 ft run for a 70 amp subpanel? I am going to install a 50 amp plug for a 5th wheel and eventually add some lights to a green house about 70 ...
2
votes
2answers
828 views

Adding USB Dual Port Charger Receptacle Blows Mains

I purchased a Hubbell "USB Dual Port Charger with 15A Duplex Receptacle" from Lowes to replace the duplex receptacle on my kitchen island. I first opened the circuit labelled for the island. The ...
2
votes
2answers
458 views

What's the amperage on a circuit breaker that's “linked” together?

On our circuit breaker, we have several circuits that are linked together by a metal handle. For instance, there are several cases of three 20A circuits all linked together, meaning you can only flip ...
2
votes
2answers
665 views

What type of wiring should bedroom overhead lighting have?

On the phone with a friend in Cali this morning. He said that some municipalities are requiring /4 (12-3 or 14-3 romex) wiring for all new construction or rewiring for overhead lighting components. ...
2
votes
1answer
4k views

What are the codes for electrical wiring in attics?

What is the typical code for wiring in attics? I understand these vary but what's best practice? Can you just have electrical wires exposed with all the junctions, in junction boxes, provided all the ...
2
votes
2answers
13k views

How do I know what size grounding conductor is required?

Is there an international standard that specifies the size of the grounding conductor to bond a metallic part of the installation to a grounding bar?. And to connect the grounding bar to the ...
2
votes
1answer
962 views

How do I test circuit breakers?

Suppose I need new circuit breakers and buy some at a local shop. How do I test them to be sure they haven't been damaged on their way from factory and will do their job when time comes?
1
vote
0answers
55 views

How would I connect power from an emergency security flood light fixture?

How would I connect power to the inside of my apt. Building from the emergency security flood light fixture outside the building?
1
vote
2answers
328 views

Can I build an electrical pole structure to hold a power wire into my property?

The power pole to my house is at the back right corner of the property. However, it's a little outside my property line. I wanted to run a power line straight down along the pole and into the ground ...
1
vote
1answer
122 views

Two Three Way Switches w 14/2

I have an existing three way switch hooked up already, it works fine. I would like to add another three way switch by connecting another switch to the existing three way switch. Can this be done with ...
1
vote
3answers
2k 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 ...
1
vote
7answers
4k views

How can I locate and repair a break in a circuit?

After some effort, I have determined that there is a discontinuity between the wire from the breaker (hot wire) and the receptacle (socket). The breaker is okay because couple of other sockets in the ...
1
vote
1answer
168 views

Is it safe to replace a GFCI breaker with an arc fault breaker?

We recently had our electrical panel replaced/upgraded and I noticed that our GFCI breaker was replaced with an Arc Fault breaker. Is that safe? Are GFCI breakers obsolete now?
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vote
1answer
5k views

Can dimmable (triac) LED bulbs be used on a motion sensor switch without neutral wire?

I bought a bunch of these motion sensor switches. I also want to use these dimmable LED bulbs. The motion sensors do not have a neutral wire connector. My outlets only have a live wire and it would ...
1
vote
2answers
8k views

What is causing a replacement ceiling fan light to flicker?

I had a Hunter ceiling fan with a light kit attached. It started making a humming sound and then a loud pop. This caused the circuit breaker to trip. After resetting the circuit breaker, the fan ...
1
vote
4answers
2k views

Is a duplex outlet's max amperage rating for each socket or the whole unit?

If you have a duplex outlet thats rated for lets say 20 amps, is the whole unit rated for 20 amps, or is each socket rated for 20 amps? Edit: So if I had a circuit that had a 40A breaker on it, could ...
36
votes
8answers
29k views

When I turn down the dimmer switch on my lights, do I actually use less electricity?

My wife and I have several lights on dimmer switches throughout our home. We generally prefer the ambient lighting provided by dimmed lights. I am curious, though, if we are saving any electricity by ...
19
votes
8answers
18k views

Why are “Wire Nuts” not used in the UK?

I have never seen a wire nut used in the UK, but they seem to be very common in the USA, why?
8
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the best option for hiding wires to wall mounted TV?

This is similar to this question, but in my case I'm not looking for the easiest solution but the most professional solution. I am torn between modular wall plates, and the type that just have a hole ...
6
votes
2answers
3k views

Should all Federal Pacific panels be replaced?

I understand that Federal Panel Stab Lok breakers have the potential for becoming stuck, overheating, and starting fires. My home has a Federal Pacific panel but no outward markings of being a Stab ...
6
votes
7answers
307 views

Projects to Pursue while Studs are Bare?

I'm stripping my small 950 sq. ft. 1950's-era home to the studs -- walls and ceiling -- so that I can install a vapor barrier and insulation in the walls and ceiling. While I have the studs available ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

How Do I Plan for an Intrusion Detection System?

I would like to plan for an intrusion detection system in a home that is currently under construction. The home has a walkout basement that is sloping, shown in the rear elevation picture shown ...
4
votes
1answer
840 views

Replacing Halogen with LED bulbs

I've just purchased some 12V LED MR-16 bulbs, intending to use them to replace the existing 12V Halogen MR-16 bulbs in my bathroom. I have found, much to my chagrin, that the LED bulbs seem to have ...
3
votes
3answers
837 views

What are some computer interfacing electric energy meters on the market?

Does computer interfacing electric energy meters exist? With possibilities to get/log current power usage and monthly used kilowatt hours. With ethernet/rs232 etc interface. I am looking for this for ...
20
votes
4answers
2k views

Why would two circuit breakers be connected inside the service panel?

I was trying to locate the circuit breaker for an outlet in my garage and found a truly baffling setup. Two breakers control the same outlet (both plugs). After some head scratching, I opened the ...
13
votes
3answers
5k views

Is there a device that will allow a bathroom fan to run for 5 minutes after it is switched off?

There is one switch that controls the lights and fan in the bathroom. Users turn the light/fan on when they enter, and off when they leave. I'd like for the bathroom fan to run for a time after they ...
13
votes
4answers
57k views

How do I properly wire GFCI outlets in parallel?

I have two countertop outlets in my kitchen that I am in the process of replacing with new, GFCI-protected outlets. These two outlets are on a circuit together, and they are the only loads on that ...
10
votes
1answer
3k views

How to replace a standard 2-gang light switch with an electric dimmer switch

I'm looking for a some assistance in fitting a new electric dimmer light switch. I'm in the UK if that makes a difference. I am trying to replace my existing two-gang light switch with a LightWaveRF ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

Would running a new subpanel in parallel meet NEC requirements? If not, what should I do?

Background U.S.A. Voltages/power present. My house has a 125A Power Mains breaker at the street. A buried line runs from the street breaker to my main panel on exterior wall outside of house. The ...
8
votes
5answers
3k views

Why do electricians prefer not to use the push-in connections on receptacles?

Why do electricians prefer not to use the back-stab or quick connect holes on switches and receptacles? If these were unreliable do you think they would be allowed by the NFPA and NEC?
7
votes
2answers
3k views

How can I determine if my outlets can easily be grounded?

I'm not sure what to do here. I just moved into a building and my outlets are all 2 prong outlets. Here is what I know of for sure: All the outlets are 2 prong outlets The bathroom outlet has the ...
7
votes
4answers
7k views

Can I replace an outlet that uses knob and tube wiring with a grounded outlet?

Can I replace an outlet that uses knob and tube wiring with a grounded outlet? Obviously the best choice would be to replace the old wiring. Is there a standard way to ground these outlets? Do I need ...
6
votes
1answer
5k views

What is a split bus panel, and how do I recognize it in the field?

I'm having trouble identifying a split bus panel. I design and install Solar systems, and lately (after Mr Wiley gave a few seminars to local inspectors) the local authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) ...
6
votes
1answer
15k views

How should I wire a GFCI outlet and a switch to isolate the switch but provide GFCI protection further in the series?

I am replacing the outlets for my garbage disposal/dishwasher circuit in my kitchen. Currently on that breaker there is one non-GFCI outlet with a pigtailed switch controlling the garbage disposal and ...
5
votes
1answer
835 views

What should I do about old cables that have been damaged?

I was replacing some drywall and noticed the wiring underneath has a couple of surface tears. House is from the sixties, but has been rewired with new Romex, except this circuit. Wire seems to be old ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

How do I install electrical through stucco

Is there such a thing as an "old work" stucco junction box? Rather than cutting and flashing a 4" hole for a new junction box, can I cut a 1/2 hole for the non-metallic cable, and attach some sort of ...
1
vote
4answers
9k views

How do I wire a GFCI combination light switch when power enters at the light?

I have a Leviton 7299-NW GFCI/switch combo The diagrams in a response to the question "How do I wire a GFCI/switch combo?" is helpful. But I want to see a diagram for a situation where the power ...