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
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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 ...
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
221 views

What is an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter?

What is an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) and where should they be used?
7
votes
6answers
1k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Can an electrical subpanel go underneath plumbing?

I was about to wire up my new basement subpanel when I realized I had put it directly under a toilet. I don't think this is a code violation. I can relocate it with some difficulty. I'm also ...
7
votes
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
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
864 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
3answers
2k views

Is it ever safe to have 14 gauge wire anywhere on a circuit protected 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
410 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
6k 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
2answers
444 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 ...
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
1answer
541 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
1k 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
21k 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
7k 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 ...
6
votes
5answers
9k views

Can a mix of receptacles and light fixtures be installed on a single circuit?

A while ago we had some renovations done in our house. After the electrician was done, we realized we now had one light switch in our kitchen that was no longer connected to anything. It is in a ...
6
votes
1answer
3k views

What is a ring main?

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

Are there any restrictions on using crimped connections to electrical devices (receptacles, switches)?

As the title states, are there any code restrictions in general on using crimped spade and ring terminal connectors when wiring household electrical circuits? I've actually been doing this for a ...
5
votes
3answers
241 views

Can I use metal masonry device (switch) boxes in a stud wall?

I am installing new wiring and need to place 5 lighting switches in one location (yes, I understand the problems/issues of confusion, etc.). These will all be 3-way switches, non-dimmable. I plan on ...
5
votes
4answers
597 views

What is the proper 'per code' method for running nonmetallic sheathed cable above a ceiling in the attic?

Can the wiring be run over the top of the ceiling joist, or must it be run through bored holes when running perpendicular to the joists? This is a non-habitable space, will have an attic entrance ...
5
votes
2answers
6k 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
5k 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
923 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
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2answers
4k 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
3answers
6k views

Are non-GFCI outlets that are downstream of a GFCI outlet ground fault protected if they are fed from the GFCI outlet's load side?

Are non-GFCI outlets that are downstream of a GFCI outlet ground fault protected if they are fed from the GFCI outlet's load side? If those non-GFCI downstream outlets were not fed from the GFCI ...
5
votes
5answers
33k 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
3answers
3k views

Is GFCI protection required for a dedicated exhaust fan circuit?

I'm considering installing an exhaust fan in my bathroom which includes light and heat, and requires a dedicated 20 amp circuit. Would this circuit need GFCI protection? The instructions for the unit ...
5
votes
1answer
652 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
9k views

What could cause ceiling fan lights to flicker on with power and then go out immediately?

I have ceiling light fan. The fan works fine. The light used to work fine. All of a sudden one day the light started acting up. When I turn on the switch, the light flickers on for about a second ...
5
votes
3answers
45k 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 ...
5
votes
3answers
12k 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 ...
5
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
7k 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 ...
5
votes
2answers
1k 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
1k 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
1k 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
3k 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
15k 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?
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Are receptacle surge protectors a practical solution?

After mounting my television on the wall, I would like to put a receptacle behind it so the power cord will be hidden. While planning this I was trying to figure how to get a surge protector to be ...
4
votes
3answers
926 views

What should I do if my vacuum trips my AFCI device?

I have a vacuum that trips the AFCI device of the circuit that services my bedroom. The vacuum has some age on it, and there is some wear on the motor's commutator. This wear causes electrical ...
4
votes
3answers
12k views

Why does my laptop charger make a spark when plugged in?

From time to time (not always but often enough) when I plug my laptop's charger in the wall outlet it makes a spark (even if I use different outlets it's the same). Why does it do this? Is this a ...
4
votes
3answers
1k 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
2k 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
13k 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
11k views

Is it okay to have an ungrounded light fixture?

I recently moved into an older home (built in 1968) and have been replacing some of the older light fixtures. We pulled down one of the lights and found that there is a ground running into the box but ...
4
votes
2answers
33k views

How do I extend outlets after installing a backsplash?

I have installed a back splash in my kitchen, if I use the plastic spacers how many should I use or is there a limit? I understand that this can cause to much air space around the receptacle or light ...
4
votes
5answers
12k 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 ...