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. Posting photographs of wiring junctions or drawing a wiring diagram and posting ...

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Do all wires on basement walls have to be in conduit?

I need to know if, when a basement is unfinished and an outlet is on the wall, is it required to put all wires in conduit?
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3answers
5k views

What do I do with receptacles behind built-ins?

When installing built-in furniture, what should I do about the receptacles on the existing bare wall that will be covered up by the built-in? How would I handle a receptacle covered by a bookcase ...
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1answer
24k 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 ...
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5answers
13k views

Why would there be a 50 amp plug on a 30 amp appliance?

I have an old conveyor dryer, which my office purchased used some time ago, just sitting in storage. The dryer is for silk screen t-shirts and has a large heating element and a variable speed conveyor ...
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4answers
113k views

What do I do if there are only two wires coming from my ceiling electrical box?

I'm about to install several Hunter ceiling fans. This will be the first time I've done anything electrical past changing a bulb. The instructions that came with the fan show three wires coming from ...
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1answer
22k views

What is the correct way to wire a 4 prong oven receptacle?

I think I wired this the right way but I can't find an online reference that I trust enough to flip the breaker back on. This is how I wired it. Is this correct?
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1answer
1k views

Humming Ceiling Fans

I have two Harbor Breeze 52in. Builders Series Ceiling Fans. Under normal operation these fans are smooth and quiet. However, during power outages like we've had recently, I use a Devilbiss 6000 ...
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1answer
2k views

Should I install my own electrical service panel or hire an electrician?

I'm getting electrical service to bare land. This is not temporary service but permanent remote service to a pressure treated 6" x 6" post instead of a building. I already have covered the work to ...
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3answers
9k views

How can I determine the maximum wattage that I can hook up to a breaker?

All of my heating is on one breaker, 240V on a double pole breaker, each marked 20A (it's a small condo). I wonder how I can determine the maximum wattage I can hook up to that breaker.
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2answers
4k views

Can disconnected knob-and-tube wiring be left in place?

The house I recently bought (over 100 years old) has had almost all of its wiring replaced with a new elctrical board. However, in two cases the new wiring has been connected to existing knob-and-tube ...
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2answers
677 views

Where can I get a switch for a 30A circuit?

I would like to add a switch to a 30A plug, but I am having trouble finding one (they are all rated at 15a/20a). Is there a reason you can't buy 30A switches or is it called something different? To ...
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1answer
906 views

Can cable splice devices be concealed?

Devices exist that claim to be able to splice nonmetallic sheathed cables together outside of a box, and in concealed locations. Are these types of devices allowed by National Electrical Code? Here's ...
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2answers
602 views

Why is it OK to put multiple ground wires in the same bus hole in an electrical panel?

It's not clear to me why ground wires aren't subject to the same rules as neutral wires (one per bus bar hole). What's the reasoning here?
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3answers
597 views

How should I rewire this situation?

In my dinning room, I have this: There is a wire run going up through the floor from the basement. It then goes outside the wall, around a stud (or studs, I'm can't tell there is more than one), back ...
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1answer
3k views

What is this drill guide/template used when fixing electrical sockets called and where do I buy one?

My dad used to have one, you use it as a drill guide/template when fixing electrical sockets, but I cannot find anywhere that sells them, and as I don't know the name Google is not much help! (...
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1answer
81k views

Why is my air conditioner tripping the circuit breaker?

Our air conditioner recently stopped blowing out cold air. When I went to check on it, I noticed that the outside unit wasn't coming on. We had had problems with ants in the contacter in the past, ...
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3answers
40k views

Does it matter which 3-way switch I put a dimmer at on a 4-way circuit?

I was working a side job today and re-wired quite a few 3 and 4-way circuits. I have a good understanding on how each work, but when I hooked up a 3-way dimmer on a 4-way circuit, the light would ...
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1answer
1k views

What are “termination points” and why do I need them on my electrical supply?

An inspection of my electric supply service on the outside of my home in Maryland said I need 3 termination points and two grounding rods. The grounding rods I can get but I have no clue about these ...
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1answer
16k views

How many wires is too many for an outlet?

I keep finding outlets in my house that are wired in ways I've never seen. Today's find is an outlet in a bedroom with 4 hots and 4 neutrals. All connected to one outlet using the push-in connectors. ...
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3answers
17k views

Why is ENT rarely used for electrical wiring?

As best I can tell, the National Electrical Code 2011 allows electrical non-metallic tubing ("smurf tube" or ENT) to be used for running 120 V electrical wire. But everywhere I look, I see remarks to ...
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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.. ...
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3answers
4k views

How can I install a ceiling fan that needs a 4“ box where I only have a 3” box?

As part of a home renovation project I discarded my old ceiling fan and have bought a new one. When installing the new one the electrician tells me that I have a 3" junction box and that I'll need a 4"...
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6answers
4k views

Can I put an outlet inside of a wall?

I want to mount a tablet to a wall with a charger but I don't want the charger to be visible. Can I put a normal wall outlet in the INSIDE of the wall and just plug in the charger inside the wall? ...
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10answers
34k views

How can I get a shock from a circuit when the breaker is off?

While I was replacing an old outlet, I received a shock from something in the box. I think it was the metal box itself. Before I started, I performed the following to ensure the power was out: ...
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3answers
2k views

Why did my electric bill climb suddenly?

So we had a little mishap a couple of months ago involving some flooding. We had some folks come in and "dehydrate" our house. It involved lots of fans running for a couple of weeks. We expected ...
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6answers
41k views

Why does my shower switch keep burning out?

I have a Mira Shower 10.8 kW. My switch is a 45A switch. I have a 50A fuse for the shower. The shower uses 10mm2 cable. 9 months ago the switch sparked and refused to turn off and the fuse tripped....
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8answers
4k views

Can I safely run 595 watts of lights with a 600 watt dimmer switch?

I have 7 85-watt lights (a total of 595 watts) that I want to control using a 600-watt dimmer switch. Is that too close to be safe? What if I remove one of the lights?
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7answers
29k views

Is there an NEC-compliant method of repairing minor damage to electrical wire insulation without a junction box?

While trying to pry loose a stubborn cable staple that fastens a 14-gauge electrical cable to a stud, I accidentally tore a very small hole through both the outer jacket and the insulation around the ...
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2answers
6k views

Is this fluorescent light fixture a major electrical problem / fire hazard?

(I am a new homeowner.) I went to replace a some fluorescent tubes that looked like they burned out, but after disassembling it a little to get the tubes out, I saw something a little alarming: ...
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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 ...
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1answer
901 views

What are the dimensions of US outlet holes?

I am specifically referring to the standard NEMA 5-15 three hole outlet that is used in North America. What are the dimensions of the holes in the outlets? Surprisingly, I am having difficulty in ...
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2answers
5k views

Is a high electric bill for a pump house caused by a well pump running constantly?

I recently had to turn on the electric for a shared well in my name. I got a bill and it's as high as what my house bill is. The well is the only thing connected to the electric in the well house. We ...
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2answers
4k views

How do I tell if a light switch is live?

I have a light switch that I want to get rid of. I don't know if it is active or not. I want to wallpaper the wall. How do I tell if the circuit is "live" and if so how to turn it off so it is safe ...
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2answers
8k views

How can I add a circuit breaker when there are no openings available in the neutral bus bar?

I'm trying to add a 20 amp circuit breaker into my existing main panel. The main panel has one vacant slot to put the breaker, but the neutral and ground bars have no more vacant slots. My question is ...
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4answers
42k views

How do I troubleshoot power receptacles?

I just bought a recently renovated house and the house inspector said that all the plugs in the basement worked. Well... I plugged in several devices into the plugs and they don't power on. If I use ...
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8answers
9k views

Home light switch circuit with 5 switches

I am new to the amazing world of electronics and am starting out small. I think... Early 2010, the wife and I bought a house that was built in 1979. Now I started replacing light switches and ...
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3answers
3k views

There's a difference between hot/neutral AC lines in a plug, but does it matter?

Saw the good answer to this question: Is there a difference between the two conductors in 120VAC wiring? But I'm wondering as a followup, since the two primary prongs in an AC mains plug are ...
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1answer
536 views

What does this device on my new furnace do?

Can someone please tell me what this is? I had a 35-year old oil furnace replaced recently and the new furnace is obviously more complex and has many safety features the old one didn't. I've looked it ...
9
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6answers
71k 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 ...
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4answers
7k views

Why do my bulbs glow brighter when the microwave is running?

When I run the microwave oven in my rented apartment, the incandescent lights nearby glow much brighter. What sort of mis-wiring could cause this? EDIT: Suspecting a bad neutral connection, I ...
9
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1answer
30k views

How can I determine circuit breaker requirements for an electric range?

I recently had a new range installed and when an electrician was visiting, he pointed out that the circuit was over capacity because the range was rated at 12.2KW at 240V. He said 12,200 W / 240 V = ...
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5answers
10k views

Why is there so much metal-clad wiring in my house?

My house was built in 1893. I was recently doing some electrical work in the attic, adding some light fixtures. While doing that, I noticed that several of the upstairs outlets were wired with old, ...
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4answers
16k views

Why does my microwave keep throwing the circuit breaker?

I have a circuit that powers several things in my house: Kitchen microwave Basement lights Basement sockets Sump pump Recently, this circuit has been thrown with alarming frequency when I use the ...
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3answers
8k views

What to do with an apartment with only 2-pronged outlets

I just rented an apartment (Colorado, for what it's worth RE code) that has 2-pronged outlets throughout the place except for two GFCI's, one in the bathroom and one in the kitchen. I bought the $....
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3answers
10k views

Can I use a UPS as a Voltage Stabilizer?

I need a voltage stabilizer for my refrigerator. Can I use a UPS for this? I own an APC Back-UPS marked "Output: 230V~, 2.6A, 50/60Hz...". The label on the fridge says "220V/50Hz". Can I use this UPS ...
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3answers
3k views

Is an ungrounded GFCI outlet safer than a plumbing-grounded non-GFCI outlet?

I'm in the United States. I have a handful of three-prong outlets that have been grounded to the underground water main just as it enters the crawlspace. All of the ground wires are home runs to the ...
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1answer
7k views

Running cat 6 networking cable in the attic: what is up to code?

I plan on adding a Cat 6 network in my single-story detached home. It would consist of home runs from each of the 3 bedrooms + TV room to a central patch panel in the garage, which is close to the ...
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2answers
4k views

Is there a minimum, NEC-compliant distance that an electrical outlet can be off the floor in my home?

If I am able to lower an electrical box by a few inches, I will have enough wire to avoid having to use a junction box to splice a nick I made in the insulation of the neutral wire. It's only a three-...
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1answer
3k views

Is there a difference between the two conductors in 120VAC wiring?

With DC wiring, there is an obvious, positive 'hot' wire and negative/ground wire. In AC wiring is there still such a concept as a single 'hot' wire? If yes, why is this since either wire will be at +...
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2answers
3k views

What type of connector is this and how do I remove it?

I was trying to install a ceiling fan in my apartment and came across these connectors when removing the light. What is this and how do I take it off?