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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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 ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

What should I do with a double gang box if I no longer need two separate switches?

We're relocating our TV to a side of our living room that has a power outlet controlled by a wall switch. The switch is part of a double gang box (1 switch controls the porch light, the other ...
8
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
507 views

What is a UFCL brand circuit?

I'm shopping for a combination vent fan/light for a bathroom, and some of the ones I've found state this: UL Listed for use over bathtubs and showers when connected to a GFCI protected branch ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

I am removing some Knob and Tube wiring. Can I leave the NEUTRAL wires hanging in the walls?

I am renovating my bathroom. I am bringing in new circuits for all the electrical, and replacing the boxes. I will have no problem capping off/removing the live (black) knob and tube wires in boxes. ...
7
votes
4answers
4k views

Can I replace an outlet that uses knob and tube wiring with a grounded outlet?

Can I replace an outlet that uses knob and tube wiring with a grounded outlet? Obviously the best choice would be to replace the old wiring. Is there a standard way to ground these outlets? Do I need ...
0
votes
2answers
245 views

Furnace control board - interchangeable?

A few months ago, I had someone working on my outdoor a/c unit, and he accidentally shorted out the control board in the furnace (it's a Goodman gas furnace GKS91155DX). He replaced the board, and the ...
7
votes
2answers
221 views

Is it a good idea to chisel out the edge of rafters for wires?

I am wondering if it is a good idea to chisel out the edge of rafters for wires? We want to floor our garage attic, and there are wires criss-crossing on top of the rafters. Update: These are regular ...
7
votes
8answers
22k 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

Can I install a 220V chandelier from Turkey on a Canadian 110V circuit?

I got a 70 years old chandelier from Turkey that is wired in 220V. The seller told me that the electric cable has been recently changed and that it will work in 110 or 220V. I'm in Canada where the ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Why is my two way dimmer switch not working?

So I am putting in a dimmer switch, replacing a simple single pole switch. It is a simple two way, single pole dimmer, should be pretty easy. The existing switch works fine. AFter installation, the ...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

Is this an acceptable way to add a light to a 3-way circuit?

I have three way switches at the top and bottom of my stairs. There is a light at the top of the stairs controlled by the switches and I wish to add a light at the bottom. A 14/2 runs first to the ...
3
votes
4answers
9k views

How do I install a receptacle box in lath/plaster wall?

I have a room with ungrounded electrical receptacles and I need to install a grounded outlet. The walls are lath and plaster. What I want to do is install a new receptacle box for the outlet. Is there ...
11
votes
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 ...
1
vote
1answer
85 views

Testing a transformer

I have a Comfort home control system. This takes 15V AC via a transformer (from 240V). It's been working for years, but last week the fuse blew. It's a 250mA fuse on the mains side of the transformer. ...
5
votes
1answer
812 views

What's the best/official way to draw a building's electrical system?

We are installing home automation systems, and we have serious problems with electricians. Short: they are stupid and lazy. So, we have to do something. There're some stories: We have a spreadsheet ...
6
votes
3answers
6k views

Can I safely power a three-prong electrical device from a light socket?

I have a covered lampholder (light socket) outside my house that I want to use to temporarily power a plug-in string of indoor/outdoor lights. Using CFLs, the total wattage of the string of lights ...
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, ...
5
votes
4answers
1k views

Is it necessary to connect a boiler and gas meter to the main fuse box?

We are getting a new kitchen fitted. An electrical survey has been carried out by the compnay installing kitchen. they have said that, our brand new and recently fitted, boiler needs a earth wire ...
5
votes
1answer
756 views

Is some asymmetry in a breaker box normal? What about neutral to ground having voltage?

So, next in my quest to evaluate the health of my new home's electrical system, and call in professionals if needed, was some voltage checking of the panels/outlets around the house. What I have is a ...
10
votes
7answers
7k views

Is there any legitimate reason you would NOT connect the ground wire on a circuit?

I've been doing some remodeling on my house and had the need to move some electrical outlets. While doing so, I noticed that the ground wire wasn't hooked up on any of the outlets in the circuit ...
2
votes
1answer
7k views

How can I stop my lights from dimming when major appliances start up?

So it appears that I narrowed down the cause of my Random Flickering- the faulty 20-amp circuit on the detached garage service panel (leaking 60 volts at some point between the breaker and the last ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

Is it unsafe if some three prong outlets don't properly test as grounded?

It's me again -- the pest ;-) On the general inspection report for the house we're looking at buying, there's a note about the house's electrical: Some three prong outlets did not test properly ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What is the difference between Square D and QP single pole circuit breakers, and can they be mixed?

I just noticed that all of the branches from my upstairs service box are run off of 15 or 20-amp type QP circuit breakers, except for one 15-amp line that is for the hard-wired smoke alarms- it uses a ...
21
votes
6answers
3k views

How best can I discover what is up with my electrical bill?

This might be subjective, I don't know. However, it's a serious problem for me. My electrical bill is outrageous. It's three times as large as my next-door neighbor, and four or five times the size of ...
13
votes
5answers
54k views

Is it ok to have mixed grounds and neutrals on bars in a breaker box?

So to continue my line of electrical questioning (and perhaps narrow down my flickering light problem), I took a look through the two panels in this house. There is a 200amp main service in the ...
10
votes
2answers
6k views

How should I address my bathroom's flickering lights and GFCI tripping mysteriously? (Schematic included.)

So I inherited a bit of a nightmare for wiring in my bathroom. I'll be calling in an electrician, but wanted to have an understanding of the problem first, as not to be ripped off, lead astray, etc.. ...
10
votes
8answers
9k views

Does a homeowner need a permit for electrical work in Massachusetts?

Does a homeowner need to obtain a permit from the town in order to do electrical work on his own house in Massachusetts? The unofficial answers I can find online (e.g., this forum and the websites of ...
11
votes
3answers
25k views

What is the proper way to run wires along/across basement ceiling joists?

I want to add an electrical outlet in my unfinished basement. It makes sense to run the wire along the ceiling because that's where all the other wires are. What is the proper way to install NM ...
4
votes
1answer
575 views

How do I troubleshoot noisy power lines for power-line networking?

I have some power-line ethernet adaptors that worked great in my previous house. At my new house, they can't get more than a few KB per second because there's too much noise in the line according to ...
4
votes
3answers
5k views

What electrical requirements does a garbage disposal have?

I just moved into a new house (well, actually it's old - 1920). We don't have a garbage disposal and was interested in in having one installed so I called a plumber. He estimated $650-750 saying ...
4
votes
3answers
216 views

Where do I begin finding estimates for problems with my potential first home?

I'm looking at purchasing an older home as a primary dwelling. On going through the house with an experienced Realtor and several experienced DIY people for reference (but not a home inspector or ...
2
votes
2answers
468 views

How can I drill through a Linoleum floor?

I would like a drill a hole through my dining room floor to run a wire. The floor is carpeted, so I pulled back the carpet in the corner to find an old linoleum floor. I attempted to drill a hole ...
1
vote
1answer
1k views

Can I wire a light with 3 switches in a 4-way switch configuration with one switch being a dimmer?

I have an overhead light wired with a single-pole dimmer switch on one side of the room and a 3-way non-dimmer switch on the other. I would like to add a third switch to this circuit if it's possible ...
6
votes
9answers
19k views

How do I put a fluorescent light on a motion sensor?

I have a couple closets in my basement that I have outfitted with a fluorescent light attached to a motion sensor (this one). The idea was that when you open the closet door, the light comes on ...
2
votes
3answers
2k views

How do I replace a 3-way lamp socket so that it doesn't die after 6 months?

I've replaced the 3-way socket in a table lamp about 4 times in the past 6 years. Each time it works for 6 months or so, but eventually the secondary contact that touches the "ring" on the base of ...
0
votes
1answer
152 views

How to create an fast and easy dimmable lamp?

I want to connect this plug to this socket using this dimmer. I have AWG 16 wire... how would I do this? I have very little experience with electrical work
3
votes
4answers
590 views

Why is the amperage lower for higher wattage devices?

Can anyone explain how electrical amperage associates to device wattage? From what I understand amperage is the amount of electrical current running through the circuit (if I imaging the AC current as ...
3
votes
4answers
410 views

Buzz in my electronics

I bought a house that had a lot of fluorescent lighting installed. The kitchen has four fixtures with 2 42" bulbs each. The front bathroom has a fixture. The garage has 12 fixtures. The shed has 8 ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Can you do electrical work yourself in the UK?

I have been told that you are not allowed to do any electrical work yourself in the UK and need a qualifies sparkie to do it all. Is this true? What can you do yourself?
3
votes
4answers
3k views

How do I fix a ceiling fan that won't turn off?

I have a ceiling light/fan fixture in one of my rooms connected to a single electrical switch. There are two pullchains on the fixture, one that controls the light, the other controlling the fan. I'd ...
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
799 views

Do I need an electrician to install a whole house surge protector?

We have some pretty terrible storms and a pretty terrible power company where I live. We experience power surges quite often. So I'm interested in installing a whole-house surge protector. Is this ...
9
votes
4answers
7k views

Why does my microwave keep throwing the circuit breaker?

I have a circuit that powers several things in my house: Kitchen microwave Basement lights Basement sockets Sump pump Recently, this circuit has been thrown with alarming frequency when I use the ...
10
votes
4answers
685 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
5k 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 ...
2
votes
2answers
407 views

Power keeps cutting out to hot tub

I have an outdoor Hydropool hot tub and have recently been having an issue with power. It seems that periodically a build up of 'gunk' (my technical term for it) builds up around one of the ...
5
votes
4answers
19k views

Can I use a 50 Hz device in a 60 Hz power frequency?

My mother in law just returned from Europe and brought me an espresso machine. It's rated 220v - 50 Hz (as written in the label), but the power system here is 220v - 60 Hz. Funny thing is that in the ...
6
votes
1answer
943 views

What causes a partial blackout?

Last night, my neighborhood had a blackout, but for some reason, only half of the electrical circuits in my house went out. I was under the impression that there was only one main electrical feed ...
8
votes
5answers
12k views

What are the different gauges of electrical wire available?

What are the different gauges of electrical wire available for homes and how do you determine which gauge you should be using? If it helps, I'm wondering specifically about recommendations as I finish ...