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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2answers
1k 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
984 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
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3answers
3k views

How to independently switch a GFCI outlet?

I would like to add a plug outside where each plug would be independently switched. The use of this is to be able to switch a rope light and a fan separately. This is being added to a new breaker so ...
2
votes
1answer
5k 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
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2answers
26k 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
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2answers
8k views

How do I change the remote frequency options in my ceiling fan?

My Hampton Bay ceiling fan remote control is interfering with my neighbours. Inside the remote there are switches to adjust the remote frequency. Where in the fan do I make the corresponding ...
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0answers
65 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?
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2answers
759 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
302 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 ...
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8answers
14k 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 ...
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1answer
214 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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1answer
7k 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 ...
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2answers
9k 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 ...
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8answers
40k 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 ...
36
votes
9answers
12k views

Is the Electrician trying to scam me?

I own a home in California and was emailed by my property manager about an electrical problem with an outlet. The outlet was fixed according to the tenant but the repair man through the manager thinks ...
9
votes
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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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 ...
13
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4answers
77k 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 ...
8
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2answers
4k 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
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7answers
333 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 ...
4
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1answer
1k 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
950 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
3k 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 ...
14
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3answers
8k 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
4k 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
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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 ...
10
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6answers
86k views

How do I add more circuit breakers once the breaker box is full?

My house was completely rewired by the previous owner. They tore out all the old knob-and-tube and replaced it with modern wiring. I definitely appreciate this, but unfortunately they left ...
8
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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?
8
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2answers
2k views

Are there any “easy” ways to trace a home electrical system?

We bought a home a few months ago, and the electrical panel (and subpanel) are completely unlabelled. We have no way, short of flipping breakers, to know what breaker powers which fixtures. Is there a ...
5
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1answer
1k 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 ...
36
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10answers
16k views

Which way is up? (electric outlet)

My house has electric outlets in both orientations. Which one is correct? Should the ground hole be at the bottom or the top? OR
23
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4answers
2k views

How can it be dangerous to feed a water heater from two separate panels?

In a recent question, a user asked "Can a water heater be installed between two apartments and wired to both apartments' breaker boxes, effectively splitting the bill between the two?". One of the ...
19
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8answers
29k views

What's the best way of replacing a plug or switch in a house with aluminum wiring?

My house has aluminum wiring, which from what I understand isn't recommended any more. How do I replace a plug or switch since the new unit only takes copper wiring?
14
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3answers
7k views

Is there ever a reason for reversing hot and neutral on a receptacle?

I moved into a new home and several receptacles have the hot and neutral reversed. I confirmed this with a basic receptacle tester. I opened one up and found the white wire on the brass terminal, ...
14
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3answers
2k views

Can I safely use a switch rated for “1A at 125V” with 240V, assuming I stay below 125W?

I recently purchased a foot switch for a standing lamp. The switch is rated for 1A at 125V. I would like to use this switch with a low energy lamp (typically 10W or below) but with a 240V supply. Is ...
12
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7answers
1k views

What's the least intrusive way to find out what's in a wall?

I'm getting ready to mount a flatscreen TV on our living room wall and would like to route various cables through it (e.g. surround sound speakers, HDMI, etc). I appreciate the AWESOME tips here, but ...
12
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3answers
1k views

What is “knob and tube wiring”?

I assume this is some USA wiring system, am I right?
11
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3answers
3k views

What size extension cord should I use for multiple computers?

We're hosting a LAN party (several computers, 50+) and I had some questions about power draw; I hope this is the right place to ask. Currently, we're assuming each PC will draw an average of 3.5 ...
11
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4answers
2k views

How do I use three-prong appliances when my outlets are mostly two-prong?

I am living in a house where most electrical outlets are two prong. There are a smattering of three prong, in particular where an addition was put on. Am I hosed when it comes to where I can plug in ...
10
votes
3answers
11k views

Can I use two wire nuts instead of one to connect 6 wires inside a 3-gang box?

Is it considered acceptable practice to use two wirenuts in a situation where it is possible to use only one but may be easier to use two? I have a three-gang box with six cables coming into it. The ...
10
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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 ...
9
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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 ...
9
votes
7answers
28k 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 ...
9
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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 ...
8
votes
3answers
14k views

Are extension cords safe for permanent use?

I recently learned (via a rant from an electrician's son and some internet research) that the standard buy-anywhere cheapo extension cords are a big cause of electrical fires and are not recommended ...
8
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1answer
57k views

Is it normal to have a light switch setup using only the hot wire?

I was changing the light switches around the house when I came upon this setup. The two switches to the right are all wired using the hot wire (black) from the two electrical wires on the back panel. ...
8
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2answers
4k views

How can I stop bulbs from buzzing when dimmed?

I've got some hanging lights with "Fat Albert" bulbs that are plugged into a dimmer switch. When they're dimmed to certain levels, the bulbs make a soft buzzing sound. The buzz is amplified and ...
7
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2answers
968 views

Why were only some of my tools damaged when connected to a 240V receptacle?

I live in the US and recently bought a home. There are several electrical outlets in my garage. I have recently had two tools that have burned up and gone to an early grave. It turns out that the ...
7
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2answers
15k views

Why does my fluorescent light fixture take minutes to turn on in high heat and humidity?

Our kitchen fixture won't come on for 3 to 5 minutes when the temperature goes over 90°F (32.2°C) and 90% humidity. It flickers and only reaches 80% brightness after that. It will occasionally ...
7
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3answers
6k views

How can I improve the wiring under the sink for a garbage disposal?

My vegetable sprayer line broke yesterday, which led me underneath my sink. It wasn't until I was kneeling in a large puddle of water with the line draining on me and the floor that I realized how bad ...