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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2
votes
2answers
141 views

Do I need a voltage converter to run an imported bandsaw?

I just bought a 220 VAC 50 Hz bandsaw and dust collector from someone who brought them back from Australia. Can I use my home 220 VAC circuit or will I need some type of converter?
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 ...
7
votes
7answers
6k views

How is it that two breaker switches control the same things?

Forewarning: I don't know that much about electrical terms, so please excuse any mistakes I've possibly made. I recently moved the TV in my living room and ran a new line for the electricity to the ...
1
vote
1answer
3k views

Is there a safe way to splice multiple lamp fixtures on the same cord?

I'd like to hang a string of paper lanterns. One web site sells a lamp cord spliced for multiple bulb sockets: http://www.paperlanternstore.com/bldosocokitf.html It looks like SPT-2 lamp cord, ...
7
votes
2answers
464 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
602 views

What are the tabs on this face-plate for?

The Steel City RS-6 4" face plate has metal tabs that break-off easily. What is their purpose? (click for full-size) As you can see, they are cut and bent to leave a gap/slot.
4
votes
2answers
584 views

Triple switch plate size issue

I have a plate of 3 light switches that's just taking up too much real-estate. See picture below: As you can see, I've got a bookcase right next to it, and I could use a little more room there. The ...
2
votes
1answer
369 views

Why do old toggle switch leads read 40VAC?

Tonight I removed an old switch from one of the walls in my living room. We recently bought our house, and there were two holes in the wall where the old thermostat and humidity controller were. I ...
3
votes
3answers
22k views

My wall outlet is making a hissing noise, should I be concerned?

My wife leaves her laptop charger plugged into a wall outlet. As soon as she connects the other end to the laptop (meaning AC is actively flowing through the plug to the laptop), it makes a strange ...
6
votes
2answers
8k views

Are electrical outlets usually positioned on studs?

I lack a studfinder at the moment, and I'm considering getting a wall lamp that I think is just too chic. However, I live in an apartment, meaning any holes that I drilled would need to be filled in. ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does my fan switch sometimes turn the lights off?

I recently undertook a small project replacing a single toggle light switch with a Z-wave enabled dimmer switch, which is also wired to a fan toggle (a knob with 3 speed settings) in a 2-gang case. ...
2
votes
1answer
3k views

What can I use to manage the wires when replacing a looped ceiling rose light fixture with one that just has loose wires?

I'm changing a looped ceiling rose (LCR) light for a light that only has 3 connections, Live, Neutral and Earth. The looped ceiling rose has 3 different metal parts that the wires go into, like this: ...
3
votes
2answers
12k views

What height should bathroom receptacle be off the ground?

I am doing the rough-in electrical in my bathroom gut. I want to put a few receptacles (outlets) above the vanity. Is there a standard height I should be installing the receptacle? I don't have a ...
13
votes
2answers
3k views

How do I join two cables outside so that they're safe and kept dry?

I have a new pond with a pump but the cable on the pump is far too short. I have some similar cable which will do the job to extend the length. My only concern is the junction outside. I need to make ...
17
votes
3answers
54k views

How should I rewire a miswired 3-way switch?

I have a 3 way switch that was wired incorrectly when the switches were replaced with a different color switch. Is there a methodical way for me to identify which wires represent which piece of the ...
32
votes
9answers
9k 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
2
votes
1answer
386 views

How do I recognize which socket cover (fused or 3-pin) connects to which outlet?

I have two power outlets in this room, one is a normal 3-pin (UK) plate cover and the other is a fused (switched) plate cover (much like the one below). I've know removed them and wish to put them ...
2
votes
3answers
3k views

How to prevent static electricity build up?

I have an office desk with a computer on it. After sitting in front of my computer for some period, if I get up and touch metal, I always get a spark. In order to avoid surprises, I habitually touch ...
4
votes
1answer
439 views

How should I wire up a yurt?

This yurt 30 ft. diameter; area is 700 sq. ft. ; circumference is 90 ft. The walls are lath lattice covered with canvas. There's no interior wall space to run Romex like a regular house. You can't ...
12
votes
4answers
21k views

When to use holes instead of side terminals to wire an outlet

This question comes from Shirlock's comment on this GFCI wiring question. When and why should you use the holes on the back of an outlet rather than the side terminals? I always assumed the holes on ...
1
vote
1answer
909 views

Proper wiring for GFCI given switched circuit

So I've added the 3-prong plug to my garbage disposal, and now I'm on to the GFCI outlet installation. The breaker was not GFCI protected, nor is there a GFCI outlet on the loop. I've gotten to the ...
5
votes
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 ...
7
votes
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 ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Why does using a dimmer with this ceiling fan and lights cause energy saving bulbs to flicker?

At a hotel I manage we purchased 34 ceiling fans with two integrated light sockets that operate on a dimmer all controlled by a remote control. Obviously using a dimmer with fluorescent bulbs won't ...
2
votes
1answer
8k views

How do I install a wireless remote for a ceiling light without a fan?

I have a fan with lights in my ceiling. There is no wall switch, only a wireless remote. I'd like to avoid installing a wall switch if possible. I purchased a chandelier assuming that I could just ...
1
vote
3answers
379 views

Wiring needs for electrical devices

Device 1 (electrical fan) is 32W and 0,19AMP. Device 2 (lighting system) is 400W and 1,7AMP. Both run at 240Volts (Europe). When wiring these up, what kind of cables do I need? Can I use any ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

How to determine what 3-way switch system was used?

How can I tell if an old Knob & Tube 3-way switch is still legal by the modern NEC? Specifically I am trying to tell if my switch is a "California 3-way" (or "Coast 3-way", "Hollywood 3-way", ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Is it within code to branch an exterior outlet off an interior outlet in the middle of a circuit?

My city adheres to the 2008 NEC. I've got a run of outlets around a basement room on one circuit. On an exterior wall I've got a weatherproof outlet that's on a different circuit and somewhere in ...
16
votes
5answers
21k views

Extension cord and power strip safety

I've heard that there are some safety and building code issues involved with using extension cords or power strips (surge protectors) for anything other than temporary use. What are the issues, and ...
3
votes
1answer
6k views

How should I connect electrical wires to a cooktop (platetop)?

I'm having some problems understanding how to connect some electric wires for a platetop. The wire colors normally mean, blue=N, brown=L, and yellow/green=PE. My problem is, the platetop has L1 ...
9
votes
1answer
773 views

How do I get to the wall cavity above a double floor joist from below?

I am running some new romex for a couple of electrical outlets. One of the outlets is on one side of a wall in one bedroom and the other outlet is on the other side of the wall in another bedroom. ...
3
votes
2answers
487 views

Is there enough here to get a ceiling fan?

I want need a ceiling fan in my living room. I looked at a few wiki-how type articles on installing them, and it looks like they need more than 2 wires, but when I opened up the light fixture on my ...
5
votes
1answer
190 views

How to disconnect a weird looking wire

I'm renovating my Kitchen, and my stove is connected in such a way that I'm not sure how to unplug, I added pictures that might explain it better. I would like to either disconnect it, or make it ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

How to make lights turn on one at a time?

So we've all seen this scene dozens of times in movies: a character flips a switch and lights turn on, one at time, down a long tunnel, or throughout a giant garage, or something like that. I'd like ...
3
votes
1answer
247 views

How should I safely replace Central Vacuum faceplates?

The covers for the faceplates of my central vacuum system have started to break off from age. How do I safely replace these? These are technically wired for electricity right? Is this a job for an ...
2
votes
1answer
791 views

How can I make a fake ground output?

I'm having problems with my electrical oven: I get shocked when I touch it. I think the way to solve this is to connect the ground wire it has (the green wire) to ground? The problem with that is ...
2
votes
2answers
13k views

How do I run CAT-6 cable in existing drywall? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: How to run ethernet cable through wall cavity I've been interested in running a really fast hard-line network for a while, but the main deterrent has been installing the ...
24
votes
3answers
1k views

If DC adapters are so prevalent, why is AC used in construction by default?

I'm not sure if there's a better place to ask this or not. Why, at least here in America, is the standard electrical system set up for alternating current (AC) rather than direct current (DC)? I'm ...
4
votes
1answer
5k views

How to chain two recessed lights together?

Disclaimer: I am one of the most non-handy people on the planet, so forgive my total "newbie" question. We are in the middle of a kitchen remodel. I need to install two housings for recessed lights ...
7
votes
2answers
495 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

How can I locate the doorbell transformer?

my doorbell stopped working and I tested it with a multimeter and found no current to the box. How do I locate the transformer to replace it?
10
votes
3answers
2k views

What do I do with receptacles behind built-ins?

When installing built-in furniture, what should I do about the receptacles on the existing bare wall that will be covered up by the built-in? How would I handle a receptacle covered by a bookcase ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

Can I (and should I) remove old unused electrical wiring?

I have some old electrical wiring original to my 1946 house. In some cases it goes between my button board rock lath walls and was stapled there. Are there techniques for removing disconnected, unused ...
1
vote
1answer
307 views

U-Socket USB Wallplug

I am curious to know if this new wall USB/Receptical is even legal to install? As I got talking with friends on Facebook, the question came up about low-voltage and high voltage in one box and what ...
1
vote
2answers
2k views

My ceiling fan isn't getting the right voltage

My ceiling fan + light has stopped working. It turns out that the voltage reading at the ceiling is only 30V. I think that means that the motor on my fan isn't the problem, but that there's some ...
5
votes
2answers
14k views

Should water heater thermostats be set to the same temperature?

Should the top and bottom water heater thermostats be set to the same temperature? I did a quick google search and saw all kinds of differing opinions. for instance, this guy seems like he knows ...
7
votes
1answer
3k 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, ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

Do they make a pull-chain type outlet adapter for garage door openers to plug in to?

I have constant power going to both my garage door openers. What I'm trying to do is come up with a way to easily cut power to them without having to get out and climb a small ladder to pull the power ...
3
votes
1answer
285 views

Single outlet resettable breaker?

Basically I have an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) which has a 20amp plug and I know that the load on the UPS will NEVER exceed 15 amp (Bought it mainly because it can attach more battery units to ...
6
votes
7answers
5k views

How important is circuit breaker breaking capacity?

All else being equal circuit breakers can have different "breaking capacity" - it's the maximum current which the breaker can disconnect and it's typically several thousand amperes. The idea is that ...