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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1answer
2k views

What's wrong with my wiring?

I purchased a Hampton Bay remote for our bedroom fan this weekend. I have it installed and mostly working correctly, but there is one nuisance that still remains. We have two switches on the wall, ...
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2answers
476 views

What does the inspector mean by “Hot and Neutral are not separated”?

In an inspection report on my house, the inspector said "hot and neutral" are not separated. I think he meant "neutral and ground" are not separated. I've attached the picture, is that the case?
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4answers
3k views

Why would a CFL bulb dim by itself after 60 seconds?

I have some GE Energy Smart CFL bulbs which are advertised as "Bright from the Start". This is true, except within 60 seconds after I turn the bulbs on, they will dramatically and immeidately become ...
7
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2answers
454 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 ...
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2answers
1k views

Is it ever safe to have 14 gauge wire anywhere on a circuit proected by a 30 amp breaker?

I was doing some work in an old house I recently moved into, and found that my dishwasher and garbage disposal (and some outlets near them) are on a 30 amp breaker. However, some of the electrical ...
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2answers
542 views

How can I ground old 2-prong receptacles? (120V)

I have several old receptacles that are 2-prong. There is armored cable running from the breaker panel to each receptacle. What do I need to do in order to install and properly ground new 3-prong ...
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3answers
3k 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 ...
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2answers
705 views

Can I plug a workbench mounted double gang outlet into a single gang wall outlet?

I'm thinking about building a workbench on one side of my garage, but I need more outlets for all of my tools. I'm not planning on running everything at once, I just don't want to keep unplugging ...
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8answers
16k views

How do I uninstall a receptacle when the wires are stuck?

I just installed a receptacle in my basement and I realized I need to reinstall it someplace else. The leads are inserted into the holes behind the receptacle and I can't get them out! The ...
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2answers
204 views

What is an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter?

What is an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) and where should they be used?
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2answers
380 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 ...
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2answers
3k views

AC/DC adapters making strange buzzing crackling noise in all house, what causes it?

Yesterday all of my AC/DC power supplies began making strange buzzing, crackling noise (quickly and intermittently repeated pops). First I thought that my computer's power supply is dying. So I ...
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2answers
423 views

Will security system wiring cause interference in data cables?

Is it acceptable to run 22/4 security wire along side Cat6 and Coax cables, or is there any possibility for interference?
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2answers
785 views

Why would turning on one breaker trip another?

Before rearranging the main living room, I replaced two 15A outlets that were previously hidden. (The new outlets are the kind that are hard for kids to jam things into.) After doing this I ...
7
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1answer
1k views

What's the difference between a childproof outlet and a normal one?

I was reading the latest entry on this blog and I saw that she'd mentioned that they'd installed some child-proof outlets. But they don't look any different from normal outlets to me! What's the ...
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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 ...
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2answers
1k views

How do you protect romex at the end of an EMT run?

Sometimes you need to run a circuit through both protected & unprotected space. For example, you might put a recep in workshop (unfinished walls = unprotected) over a crawlspace (protected). To ...
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2answers
2k views

How do I run a wire underground to an outdoor post lamp?

I live in Geauga county Ohio. My question is three part. First what type of wire do I need to run from the house underground to a post lamp 100 feet away? Second,does it need to be in conduit and ...
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2answers
7k views

Can I install an additional breaker bus bar on my main breaker panel?

I'm adding several new circuits to my main electrical panel as part of a kitchen remodel. The panel with accommodate the new circuit breakers, but it does not appear to have enough neutral and ground ...
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2answers
653 views

What is a 'grounded neutral' and how bad is it?

I bought an electrical device a few months ago. A few weeks ago, it failed, complete with the release of magic smoke. I contacted the company, and they've had me mail it to them and have been ...
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4answers
7k views

Should I put a dimmer switch on a ceiling fan?

I have a ceiling fan on our bedroom's vaulted ceiling. Since we don't want 7' pull-cords, the speed is stuck at full-tilt, which is no good. The fan has separate switches on the wall for lights and ...
7
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2answers
952 views

Should switches in a kitchen area have GFCI protection?

Do the switches on the wall and over the counter areas have to be on a GFCI protected circuit? As there is live power at the switch all the time, I would think this to be true, but I'm not sure.
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1answer
1k views

How can I remove a switch and terminate a circuit in its place?

I have a switch that used to control outdoor lighting. It no longer does any more and I'd like to just leave it off permanently. Is there an easy way I can terminate it from within the gang box? ...
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4answers
1k views

Is it safe to touch the ground contact?

When plugging in a device in the dark, or behind furniture, it's hard to get the contacts aligned. It's tempting to put a finger on the end of a contact, use that finger to find the slot in the recep, ...
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3answers
1k views

How should I go about fixing a faulty 220 V Electrical Outlet

This afternoon, my wife and I noticed a peculiar smell coming from the garage. We localized it to a faulty 3-wire 220 V outlet. Something got really hot resulting in part of the rubber melting on ...
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1answer
854 views

What is the difference between an electronic and a magnetic ballast?

The ballast in my bathroom burned out (brand new bulb won't light up). Looking online, it seems that there are two different types of ballasts: electronic and magnetic. I recently replaced my ...
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2answers
342 views

What should I consider with new electrical lines in an old house?

When I had our breaker box rewired, I had the electrician run a few extra lines (disconnected in the panel into the attic). I now need to run one of them downstairs through a wall. Two questions: 1) ...
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3answers
1k views

What happens if I shave a little sliver off electrical wire with a utility knife?

I needed to replace an electrical wire with a longer one so I could move an electrical outlet. When I went to cut away the outer rubber cover of one of the wires with a utility knife (yes, dumb, I ...
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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 ...
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2answers
1k views

How can I determine if my outlets can easily be grounded?

I'm not sure what to do here. I just moved into a building and my outlets are all 2 prong outlets. Here is what I know of for sure: All the outlets are 2 prong outlets The bathroom outlet has the ...
7
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2answers
315 views

What is the correct way to attach a receptacle to a metal face plate?

4" metal face plates and box are very common for exposed wiring. Receptacles connect to the face plate instead of to the box, which is different than in a house. The face plate comes with a few screws ...
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4answers
966 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 ...
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1answer
277 views

What are these clips on the wires in my junction box?

Are these clips just for protection? or are they connectors for something?
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2answers
987 views

Are tamper resistant outlets required in a cabinet with child proof latches?

Like many people, I have a dishwasher and a disposer, which are plugged into an outlet in the cabinet under the kitchen sink. Also like many, this is where I keep a whole host of cleaning products and ...
7
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1answer
35k views

What wire gauge should I use with a 30 amp breaker for a 220V welder?

I am installing an outlet in my garage for a 220v mig welder. The welder specs call for 30A breaker. The outlet for the welder is only 2 feet from the garage sub panel. The wiring refernece charts ...
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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 ...
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1answer
365 views

What wire and conduit is required for an attached-garage subpanel?

To make my garage more usable as a workshop, I'm planning to add a subpanel which can feed a number of additional outlets. 60 amps would be plenty for my current needs, but I'd like to go with 100 so ...
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2answers
819 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 ...
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3answers
6k 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 ...
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1answer
800 views

Any reason not to ground the sheathing of MX wire?

Having recently bought an older house (c1943) I am doing a little work on the place. While rewiring a light switch I noted that there is newer Romex wiring from the distribution panel to the switch, ...
7
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1answer
530 views

Ceiling fan switch replacements

I have 2 ceiling fans that were in my house when I moved in. Both fans have recently had the pull strings torn out of the switch. I took the fans apart, and wrote down the information on the switch, ...
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2answers
359 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
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1answer
281 views

How should this circuit be properly grounded?

I am hiring an electrician to do the work so my question is more for my education and helping me ask the proper questions to the perspective contractors. Purchased a condo recently and want to put in ...
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2answers
332 views

Do I need junction boxes where conduit containing data cables terminates?

I'm going to be running 1" blue PVC conduit from all my low voltage boxes to a structured wiring panel. My wiring panel will chase to the attic where necessary and I was wondering what the best ...
7
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2answers
406 views

What is the best short-term solution for fused neutrals?

I have inherited a house that has been in my wife's family since 1860. I do not know when it was electrified, but it seems to have skipped knob and tube. There is a lot of fabric-covered wire, and ...
6
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8answers
5k views

Does one need to be certified in order to do residential electrical work?

I have a Bachelor in electrical engineering, a lot of hands-on experience with electrical work, and I'm very familiar with NEC 2011 and electrical codes. Can I do residential electrical work without ...
6
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3answers
3k views

I modified a nail-in electrical box to use screws instead of nails. Is there some code that prevents that?

Ever since I dove into the electrical side of things with my project, I've encountered a bunch of code restrictions. One thing that wouldn't surprise me if it was a violation of code is what I've ...
6
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8answers
5k views

Why does my smoke detector chirp when my bathroom lights are turned on?

We have an wired smoke detector that is right outside a bathroom. Often, when we turn on the lights in the bathroom, the smoke alarm will chirp. The bathroom used to have a fixture with 4 40-watt ...
6
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4answers
4k views

How can I tell if a circuit breaker is worn out?

I was installing a light and tripped the breaker (in retrospect, should have turned the breaker off before starting). When I finished installing it I reset the breaker and tried the light switch. ...
6
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7answers
273 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 ...