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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7
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3answers
4k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
620 views

Does lamp maximum wattage matter for CF bulbs? [duplicate]

Say I have a table lamp that states (via a slightly scary sticker) that it takes a 60W max bulb. Of course, that was based around incandescent wattages. Is there any risk with putting in a CF bulb ...
6
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2answers
8k 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 ...
6
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6answers
16k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
14k views

How can I rewire my bathroom fan, light, and receptacle?

My bathroom has one switch that powers the fan and light. In that electrical box, there is also a hard wired electrical outlet that sits in the bathroom. Since I don't have room for a 2 gang box in ...
5
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5answers
34k views

How much energy will continuously running a furnace fan use?

We have a bi-level (tri-level? There's a small entry way and utility room, then an upstairs living area and master bedroom and a downstairs living area with bedrooms) in mid-Michigan. The downstairs ...
5
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2answers
8k views

How to determine the correct capacity for a sub-panel for a shop?

I plan to install a sub-panel for my woodworking shop, and would like to determine the total capacity that should supply that sub-panel. These are the main items that will likely be running in the ...
5
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1answer
3k views

Can I replace an old exhaust fan and connect it to an existing light switch?

I just purchased a new home and in one of the bathrooms there is an old exhaust fan and two light switches. There is a recessed light located in the ceiling above the shower and another light above ...
5
votes
2answers
5k views

What about a light switch in the closet?

Okay you guys I have next question. And like all good questions this one begins with a story. I was reading the post about a nick in a wire and read a couple of you mention that light switch in a ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

How to deal with abandoned wire?

There is a 240V/30A circuit in a room of my house that used to be a patio. I think it was used for a baseboard/electric heater system. It had a surface mounted outlet that I have removed, but now I ...
5
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3answers
1k views

What's the best way to label a double gang box with two circuits

I'm installing some lights in my basement, and will be replacing the single gang box in the hall (currently only for hall light) with a double gang box. The idea is to accommodate the hall light ...
5
votes
7answers
4k views

How can I create circuit diagrams and what program should I use?

Circuit diagrams are very handy. On this site, they can really help illustrate the problem or solution (see here). They can help you visualize what needs to be changed when doing work on your house, ...
4
votes
1answer
730 views

How can I repair a ceiling fan that hums, but doesn't turn?

The ceiling fan/light has power. The lights work, but the fan doesn't turn even though it hums. Why is this, and how can I fix it?
4
votes
1answer
307 views

What's the recommended procedure for converting a single circuit light switch into two switches for controlling a bathroom fan?

I think my question might be similar to Controlling two fixtures on same circuit independently but I don't need anything as fancy. Summary: I'm remodeling a bathroom. Presently it has one switch ...
4
votes
2answers
3k views

What type of wire should I use to feed a 70 ampere subpanel?

Finishing a basement and I need to add a subpanel. Main panel is outside. Subpanel will be in the basement. 70 Amp breaker in the main to feed the subpanel. I was thinking THHN but would this mean ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

If neutral carries current back to the breaker panel, why doesn't it need to be connected to a switch?

I've got some limited field experience as an electrical helper, but no real classroom experience yet. (saving up for school) I am of the understanding that the neutral wire carries electricity back ...
4
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4answers
6k views

Can I install a Subpanel (in a seperate building) using a 3 wire connection (2 hots and 1 grounded neutral)?

Can I use a 3 wire connection (2 hots and 1 grounded neutral) to install a subpanel in a seperate structure if I install a seperate ground rod to the grounding bus in subpanel? I have 8/3 w/o ground ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Can my apartment's electricity harm my computer? Is there an easy way to test the electricity?

I live in a (rented, 1980 built) row townhouse in the USA with slightly suspect electricity: A few of the outlets and light switches in the house (in various rooms) don't work at all. (Even ...
3
votes
4answers
2k views

Will switching to LED lightbulbs make a significant difference in my electric bill?

I asked Reliance Controls about a THP103 meter that I was having trouble with. Turns out that its not a true RMS meter and thus is unable to give you accurate readings on a CFL or LED installation. ...
3
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1answer
3k views

Why won't my dimmer dim CFL Lights?

My dinning room had an on/off switch for the light which made it impossible to have romantic dinners there - the light was either too bright or off. So I decided to install a dimmer. Being energy ...
3
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3answers
4k views

How can I replace a two way switch with a ZW4001 Z Wave enabled light switch?

I am trying to replace a single switch connected to a single light bulb with a Z Wave enabled switch, model ZW4001Z; a link to the manual for the switch is at the bottom. There is a wiring diagram on ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Is this a valid way to add an electrical outlet?

I've got a feed from my electrical panel in the garage to a single outlet inside the house (for the entertainment center). This was installed by an electrician back in 2009. Through the garage, the ...
3
votes
1answer
6k views

How can I get a standby generator with GFI to work with a 2-pole transfer switch?

I have a home standby generator that is equipped with a GFI, and my original electrician (who has long since flaked out on me leaving me in a lurch with this) installed a standard 2-pole transfer ...
2
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2answers
450 views

Why didn't homeowners get electrocuted when appliances were grounded through the neutral?

I read that appliance at certain times in the U.S. (for example stoves) were grounded through the neutral wire. Since the neutral wire carries current does this means the case of the stove itself is ...
2
votes
2answers
4k views

Can I extend the ground/bus bar in a main service to accomodate subpanel equipment ground?

I am about to replace the main service breaker panel in my house. The old panel (a 200amp Siemens 40-circuit) had bus bars that extended the entire vertical length of the box. The new panel I would ...
2
votes
1answer
168 views

oven not igniting

(Updated.) I have a gas stove and oven with no pilot light (so they ignite using electricity). The stove and broiler (at the top of the oven cavity) are lighting fine, but the oven is not (at the ...
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3answers
3k views

How many lighting circuits are needed in the LED era…? (US - NEC)

This is in a two story, ~1000square foot per floor building. With the advent of affordable, decent (IMHO) LED fixtures (finally!) the entire lighting load for the structure looks to be 500W - 1000W at ...
1
vote
3answers
861 views

What should I look for when diagnosing electrical circuit gremlins where load is much less than capacity?

We have an electrical circuit with these loads (all on different outlets): 15W aquarium pump, 250W LCD television, 35W cable box, 13W GoogleTV box, and a 100W ceiling fan (plus an integrated 50W ...
1
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2answers
4k views

It is dangerous to have a power outlet run from a light circuit?

Re this answer regarding wiring a garage door power point from a light is this legal I thought it wasn't but just checking. Edit: Legality will depend on location as mentioned in answers, I worded ...
0
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1answer
8k views

Why is my Australian light fixture wired this way?

I just want to replace it with a new light fitting philips tcg701 but there's way too many wires and I don't know why it was done this way.
-1
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2answers
184 views

Help wiring 1-pole switch + USB in single outlet

I have the two products below and I need them to go in a single gang box that used to be a simple 1-pole switch. Product pages: http://www.legrand.ca/adorne/select/switches/aspd1531w8.aspx ...
19
votes
4answers
3k views

How can I get a wire that is outside a wall to be inside a wall

I recently removed an abominable drop ceiling from my dining room and found this close to the ceiling on the one side of the room. There is definitely a stud between these two holes. On the other ...
14
votes
5answers
3k views

Is there a lifetime failure count for a breaker?

I have an external cutoff for my air conditioner that has two physical fuses (TR-50's, time delay 50 amps) outside. This is between the condenser unit and the main power panel, where it is protected ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the right way to connect 7 conductors in an electrical box?

What is the "right" way to join 7 different wires in a single electrical box? Here's the situation. I opened up a four-gang light switch. There were four switches controlling five lights. As ...
11
votes
3answers
16k views

What's the minimum depth that an electrical box can recess into a finished wall? Does it have to be flush?

Do electrical boxes have to be flush to the finished surface? Can they recess any depth into the wall by as much as 1/8" or 1/4"? Edit: I appreciate everyone offering alternative solutions to ...
11
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2answers
4k views

Can I change a 1-gang electrical box to a 2-gang electrical box?

I live in a house built in the 50's in Maryland, US. Each bedroom contains 4 electrical outlets - configured in two 1-gang electrical boxes on opposing walls. However, with all the modern ...
11
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3answers
3k views

Is this electrical junction up to code?

I was up in my attic a few days ago, and I noticed a pretty ugly electrical junction that wasn't in a junction box. Here's the pic: Is this up to code? FWIW I live in north Alabama, outside city ...
10
votes
1answer
11k 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?
10
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3answers
14k views

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?
10
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3answers
9k views

What is electrical code for number of wires in a breaker?

US, Georgia I am adding some new ciruits to add some additional outlets. The closest place is to run a wire to the main panel box. My question is, can I connect more than one wire to a breaker and ...
9
votes
1answer
1k 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?
9
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
9
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5answers
24k 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 ...
9
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1answer
2k 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 ...
8
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3answers
12k views

Are generator interlock kits permitted in residential applications?

There have been some questions on the site lately, that reference using interlock kits with portable generators. This has inspired me to read through article 702 Optional Standby Systems of the ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

What kind of electrical outlet is this, and how do I replace it?

I have an electrical outlet which hasn't been reliable (the bottom one doesn't always have power unless you jiggle the plug), so I want to change it. I've changed a few plain outlets, but I found ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

Is this a “shared neutral” situation?

In 2001, some electricians added two circuits to my house in California. I took a close look at their wiring and had some questions. At the Service Panel, there are two 20-amp circuit breakers on the ...
8
votes
7answers
15k 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: ...