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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9
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3answers
4k 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
5answers
16k 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
votes
1answer
1k 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
2k 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
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6answers
20k 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 ...
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
207 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
1k 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
votes
3answers
7k 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
votes
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
582 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
2k 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
370 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
4k 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
3answers
910 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
866 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
2answers
691 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
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
votes
2answers
2k 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
2k 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
292 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
190 views

Why do my appliances show two sets of power consumption ratings and which one applies to my house?

Aptos, CA, USA I'm trying to determine how much power my electric oven is using (as part of a larger project to possibly upgrade our electrical service (with help from a licensed electrician of ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I connect a 120V washer to a 240V circuit?

So we got a new washing machine to go in a house built in the late 50s. When the appliance installer came to deliver the appliance, we ran into a snag with connecting the washer...the washer appears ...
5
votes
4answers
13k views

Can different gauge wiring be used in the same circuit?

I am extending a lighting and outlet circuit in a basement. The current setup has the following characteristics 15 amp. circuit breaker (200 amp service) 4 existing lighting fixtures using CFL bulbs ...
5
votes
1answer
549 views

Do I need to attach a wire fished through a ceiling?

I have a finished basement and am mounting a flat-screen TV on the wall and I want to put an electrical box behind the TV. The two existing outlets are both two joists over and each separated with a ...
5
votes
4answers
10k 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 ...
5
votes
5answers
5k views

Is this an adequate junction box wire job using a standard electric box? (pic included)

I needed to splice a wire to repair nicked wire insulation, but I didn't feel like running to Lowe's just for a junction box. Instead, I used a regular electrical box. The wire comes up from the ...
5
votes
1answer
4k views

Would there be a problem installing 20A switches on a 15A circuit?

I've installed 20A switches on 15A circuits before, namely on the circuit supplying my kitchen lights. It was primarily to take advantage of the side-clamp wiring available on these beefier switches ...
5
votes
2answers
779 views

Is it safe to install a sconce light box inside a return air space?

In my finished basement, the space between one section of studs is being used as a return air duct for my furnace and central air. Here is a picture, looking up from the vent at the floor level: ...
5
votes
4answers
858 views

Can re-closing a circuit-breaker be dangerous?

I have a circuit breaker that keeps tripping. When i try to reset (close) it, it immediately jumps back to the open position with a noise that sounds a little scary. I have now stopped trying to do ...
5
votes
1answer
850 views

Parallel Fluorescent Wiring

I've got a few ceiling lighting 'boxes' that have one capacitor, two ballast, two starters, and two fluorescent lamps in each. Everything seems to be nicely wired up internally and I just need to ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Can I convert ceiling mounted octagon box to electrical receptacle?

I've installed a number of strip lights in my garage to replace the single incandescent fixture on the ceiling. They all use a 3-prong plug, not hardwired. I want to replace the incandescent fixture ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Should I bond a water softener's in/out pipes?

Our house was built in 1997. The pipes are copper (including the city water supply pipe). Some time after the house was built, the previous owners installed a water softener. The softener parts are ...
5
votes
1answer
9k views

Is it ok to wire light switches and lights with 12/2 cable?

It sounds like light switches and lights are usually wired with 14/2 cable. Is it okay to use 12/2 cable instead? Would I need special switches?
4
votes
3answers
400 views

Concerns about replacing a worn out light switch

Our home is about 3 years old. New construction. New parts. The main lights in the kitchen are a 4-way circuit (3 switches, + lights). Since we primarily come into the room from one side, one ...
4
votes
2answers
428 views

How should I connect to a short ground wire in a metal box?

I live in a 50's era house that has breakers and a ground wire in every metal box of the house. The problem is they only used 2 prong outlets. They cut the ground wire short and wrapped it around the ...
4
votes
4answers
5k views

Can I use indoor Romex in buried outdoor conduit?

Or should I use outdoor Romex? I heard that outdoor Romex doesn't need conduit as you are just supposed to bury it. Edit: Ack, I should have mentioned I have existing conduit that I want to pull the ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Can I control a bathroom extractor fan independently from the light?

My bathroom extractor timer fan works fine except that I have to have the lights on when it is in use. I have 2 windows in the bathroom and feel it is a waste of energy to have the lights on in order ...
4
votes
4answers
6k views

Can I cover junction boxes in the attic with insulation?

This may be a duplicate of What are the codes for electrical wiring in attics? I have an attic which is accessible via a ladder through an access panel in the garage and in a bedroom. The trusses ...
4
votes
1answer
6k 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
5answers
2k views

How do I raise light switches so my kids can't keep toggling the light?

My flat at the moment has all the switches at about 1 meter off the floor. Naturally my growing kids are starting to toggle the lighting now that they are tall enough. Is it possible to raise the ...
4
votes
2answers
70k views

How to connect multiple light fixtures to one switch?

I am remodeling my basement, currently I have 5 light fixtures and each one has its own switch. I would like to make it so when I turn on the switch at the bottom of the stairs all the lights turn ...
4
votes
3answers
28k views

How do I connect a dryer with a four prong plug to a three prong socket?

I've just moved house and my clothes dryer has a four prong plug but on the wall there's a three prong socket. Do adapters exist for this? Or do I need to get a new cord for my dryer? Or is there ...
4
votes
3answers
6k views

What is involved in installing a free-standing electric oven range?

My current oven just plugs into a big outlet in the wall. It's a giant three-pronged outlet. But all I need to do to get the oven to work (when it works) is to plug it into the outlet. I am now ...
4
votes
4answers
875 views

Risk from installing a “Nest” thermometer without shutting off home power?

I'm trying to install a new Nest-brand thermometer in my parents' house (unscrewing a thermometer from the wall and screwing on the new one. The first instruction in the manual is to shut off power ...
4
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3answers
1k views

Convert Light Switch to Light Switch + Outlet Combination

I have a serious lack of outlets in my garage and that is a problem for a beginner carpenter. I have a light switch by my workbench and was curious if I could change it to a combination outlet + ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

Can I split the direct wire to dishwasher to handle a garbage disposal as well?

I've just plumbed in a new garbage disposal unit under my sink. The plumbing appears to be fine - nothing is leaking so far. Now I need to wire it in. It's next to a dishwasher, but the dish-washer ...
4
votes
1answer
832 views

What is permissible for a breaker box cover?

We're doing some remodeling in our kitchen and unfortunately the breaker box is right in the middle of a wall we are going to cover with tile. My current thought is to replace the existing metal ...