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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3
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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
votes
1answer
2k views

When wiring a switch loop, which wire is which?

If you're wiring up a lighting circuit, where the power enters at the lighting outlet. According to the National Electrical Code, which wire should be "hot" and which should be "switched hot"? ...
3
votes
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
votes
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
2k 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
votes
2answers
350 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
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2answers
3k 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
149 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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vote
3answers
666 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 ...
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vote
2answers
3k 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 ...
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votes
1answer
6k 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.
32
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8answers
7k 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
19
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
2k 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
2k 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 ...
12
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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
3answers
13k 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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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
8k 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
votes
3answers
11k 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
votes
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 ...
9
votes
1answer
947 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
votes
3answers
6k 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
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5answers
19k 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
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
1answer
3k views

Can I extend an electrical ground wire with a copper wire crimp?

I am working with an electrical socket and I need extra length on the ground wire. It doesn't seem unreasonable that I can attach an extra three inches to the existing one and attach it with a copper ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Is there an average number of outlets that are wired off of one circuit breaker?

I recently demolished my basement to start a reconstruction/improvement project. My first horror was the electrical layout. I've got hidden junctions, mismatched wire sizes, improper junctions and ...
8
votes
2answers
213 views

What is an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter?

What is an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) and where should they be used?
7
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2answers
2k views

How can two different breakers both turn off the same circuit?

I have a 40 yr old home with circuit breakers. While looking for the breaker to turn off a circuit (I was replacing a light switch), I found that two breakers, on the same side of the bus, but ...
7
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3answers
10k 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 ...
7
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3answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
742 views

Is a negative reading from a non-contact voltage detector sufficient?

I'm a beginner at doing electrical work, and I want to make sure I'm not taking unnecessary risks. Let's say that I'm preparing to work on some wiring. I have a non-contact voltage detector that ...
7
votes
4answers
3k views

Acceptable ground to neutral voltage?

First of all I'm pretty sure I know the theory behind the effect. I know about the inductive and capacitive coupling, about 3-phase balance problems and about ground bounce, so this question isn't ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

When wiring two circuits through the same conduit, what wire coloring is required?

Problem I am wiring a septic control/alarm box to a subpanel. They are on the same post, so the wire run is through a short stretch of 3/4" flex conduit. There are two circuits required: a 240V for ...
7
votes
2answers
389 views

Why only a few volts between the legs of a 240 V 3-wire dryer outlet?

I installed a new dryer in our house. It runs but won't heat. It has a 240V 3 wire connection. There is a 30 amp double pole breaker installed in the breaker box. (the box is very old) I've read ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

How much should it cost to add a circuit breaker?

In this question, I asked about problems between my circuit breaker for a circuit shared by my microwave and sump pump. The conclusion was that another circuit should be added to support the microwave ...
6
votes
5answers
755 views

Nice looking on-wall wiring

I need to run some standard AC wiring for wall lights etc. in the living room and some telephone/broadband wiring too. The problem is I can't do it in-wall for various reasons. The only option I am ...
6
votes
3answers
1k views

Is it okay to run a switched and unswitched hot on the same neutral?

I have a room where I need to toggle the lights by a switch and the outlets in the room to not be affected by the switch. As they are on the same circuit, am I able to run a 3 wire cable from the ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is there an arc when I pull a plug out of an outlet?

I notice that, on some of my (self-installed) power outlets, when I pull an appliance plug out of it, there is a small arc. This most frequently happens with an iron, which has no switch of its own ...
6
votes
1answer
471 views

Is it reasonable to create a 30amp branch circuit for the purpose of feeding the panel from a generator?

I recently purchased an 8kW generator (Briggs and Stratton). It has a 4-wire twist lock outlet that can handle 30 amps. Suppose I were to: Run a 10/3 NM cable from the panel in the basement out to ...
6
votes
2answers
850 views

Is there a name for a duplex outlet that takes eight wires, plus ground?

In my home (built around 1970), I found a bizarre outlet when replacing the dated old ones. The front is your standard duplex, but on the back there are holes for 8 wires (4 hot, 4 neutral) plus the ...
6
votes
4answers
15k views

Will an existing 10-3 w/ground electrical wire handle a 50 amp 220 volt welder?

I am wondering if my current electric service wiring can handle a welder. The welder documentation recommends a 50 amp breaker on a 220 v line. Currently I have a 60 amp breaker on a 220 line going ...
6
votes
1answer
2k views

What is a ring main?

What is a ring main and why are they used in the UK but not elsewhere?
5
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2answers
1k 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?
5
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2answers
3k views

Can I wire a refrigerator and dishwasher on the same circuit?

Can I wire a refrigerator and dishwasher on the same 20 amp circuit?
5
votes
1answer
3k views

What type of wire should I run when updating a ceiling fan?

I started to change out my ceiling fan and noticed the support brace is actually laying on the drywall and not firmly attached to a beam. I also noticed the new fan has a blue wire where the wiring in ...
5
votes
1answer
506 views

How can I plug my 3 prong dryer into a 4 prong receptacle?

My dryer blew up and there is no chance of repair — it was pretty old anyway. I found a used dryer and brought it home. Unfortunately, the cord don't match the receptacle. I Need to know if ...